Harvest and Milling

At harvest, rice grain is called paddy or rough rice. In preparation for consumption, the hulls are removed by dehulling machines. Hulls, which are 18 percent by weight of paddy, have high silica content and are of little value except for onsite fuel or mixing into compost materials. Hull removal produces brown rice, which then is milled to remove the grain's outer layers, called bran, 10 percent by weight of paddy, and white rice, 72 percent by weight of paddy. Edible oil, about 2 percent by weight of paddy, is extracted from the bran and the remainder of the bran goes into pet food. Virtually all human consumption is as milled white rice, except for a small amount as brown rice in health food markets. In much of the world the milled rice goes into food use. In the United States, 81 percent of the domestic use of rice is for food, 15 percent for brewing, and the remaining 4 percent for seeding the next crop.

Worldwide, per-capita consumption of milled rice is 84 kilograms per year. Per-capita consumption is declining in developing nations as they become more affluent. In the United States, per-capita consumption is now 12 kilograms, which represents a doubling since the early 1980s. The increase in the United States is due to growth in ethnic groups who prefer rice, to recognition that rice is a healthful food, and to rice industry promotion efforts.

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