Wednesday, 11 December 2013 14:14

How does Rice Grow?

Did you know rice is the #1 food crop in the world?

  • Latin Name:

    Oryza sativa (Asian) Oryza glaberrima (African)

  • Growth:

    How does rice grow?

    Rice is an annual, with long slender leaves 3' to 6' tall. The rice seeds grow at the tops of these monocot plants. Seed to harvest takes approximately 4 to 5 months.

    Rice is the most widely consumed staple for a large part of the world population, especially in Asia. It is the second biggest food crop to corn, but corn has many non-food uses, which makes rice the largest food crop and most important grain. It provides more than a 1/5 of calories consumed worldwide and is the dominant energy source for 17 countries worldwide.


  • Propagation:

    How is rice propagated?

    Rice is formed through the pollinated ovary of the flower.

    Most rice is started in seed houses and transplanted into the field when it's about 4" to 5" tall, although the seed may be planted directly into a wet or dry bed.

    Rice needs plenty of water and a sufficient irrigation system.

    Rice is grown on terraces, so the water pumped to the top drains through all of the lower terraces and then pumped up again, providing all of the fields with adequate, moving water.

    Process of Rice Milling


  • Harvest:

    How is rice harvested?

    It take 4 to 5 months for rice to mature, reaching a height of approximately 3ft.

    Once the grain heads begin to grow long and the grain turns from a green to gold, harvest is near. Fields are drained before the rice is picked, so farmers can better access the fields.

    Most rice is hand picked, but commercial growers use machines for all phases of harvest. It is then threshed, sifted and bagged to be taken to be milled.

    All rice is milled to remove the husk making brown rice - continued milling removes the bran to make white rice. Nutrients are lost in each step of the process. They are sometimes added back to white rice but may wash off with rinsing. Some white rice is coated with water insoluble nutrients to prevent wash off.

    Only 8% of rice grown is exported - most is used domestically by the growers and the community in which it is grown.


  • Storage:

    How is rice stored?

    Best stores at 70 degrees F.

    An unopened bag of rice with oxygen absorbers will store up to 10 years!

    Shelf life for an opened bag is 1 to 2 years in a cool dry place.

  • History:

    What is the history of rice?

    The cultivation of rice is first documented as far back as 2500 B.C in China, and then begins to quickly spread to neighboring countries, the Middle East, Europe, and then the Americas.

  • Top Producers:

    Who are the top producers of rice?

    China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Vietnam are the top rice producing countries.

    The U.S is 13th on the list.

  • Varieties:

    What are the common varieties of rice?

    Although most rice is grown in hot humid climates, varieties have been developed for drier and cooler areas.

    There are many varieties - sticky, brown, black; long, medium, short grain; red, purple, and white.

  • Products:

    What are common products of rice?

    Rice can be boiled, parboiled, puffed, or steamed. It can be ground into flour that is naturally gluten free and used to make bread, pastries, and pasta. Rice can also be used to make noodles used in stir fries or soup.

    Rice milk has also become a popular item for lactose free consumers.

  • Top Health Benefits:

    What are the health benefits of rice?

    Rice is a good source of protein, but not a complete protein, which is why it is usually accompanied by meat, fish, vegetables, and eggs.

    Depending on the variety, the more processed the rice, the less nutrients it contains.

    Rice contains natural amounts of arsenic, regulated by the government agencies for safety.