What is rice straw?
When rice is grown, part of what’s left over in the fields is the long grass that dries out and turns to straw. This straw needs to be cleared out before the next crop of rice can begin to grow.
Until recent times, a common practice has been to burn the fields to get rid of the unwanted rice straw but due to the expansion of cities and their now close proximity to rice fields this is no longer the favoured means to clear the fields. It is highly regulated these days.
Soil incorporation is an alternative but it is slow and can often cause disease in the next crop so this too is not a preferred method of clearing.
An ideal solution would be if the straw could be harvested and sold as a profitable commodity.
One such commodity is cattle feed. There is a paper from UC Davis (click here to download) which discusses this in more detail.
You can also check out this video from UC Davis on the subject of using rice straw to fuel biomass power plants: