By Danny O. Calleja
CASTILLA, Sorsogon, Jan. 6 (PNA) — Time was when rice hull locally called “ipa” was nothing but nuisance waste burned to ashes or just dumped on vacant lots and left to rot by rice millers who then considered it a big problem.
Now, this rice by-product is becoming increasingly popular in some rice producing areas of the Bicol region because of its various uses when processed into carbonized rice hull (CRH).
Sorsogon Vice Governor Renato Laurinaria who maintains a two-hectare integrated mini-farm here uses it as litter for the chick brooder that later becomes manure collector that is converted into organic fertilizer.
Being sterile, CRH minimizes disease contamination as it readily absorbs the moisture in the manure so the litter does not get moist and not attractive to flies, Laurinaria said.
When the litter is treated with an enzyme (Biosec) formulated by Dr. Rene Sumaoang, a microbiologist of the Novatech Group of Companies, the usual odor from the manure is eliminated, at the same time breaking down the nutrients found in the manure so that when brooding is over, the litter would become an organic fertilizer that is ready to use on crops.
In some recently published articles, Laurinaria said, Dr. Sumaoang explained that Biosec is a combination of live but immobilized beneficial microorganisms and digestive enzymes that once applied, the beneficial microorganisms multiply very rapidly, inhibiting the growth of disease-causing organisms like E. coli, salmonella and others.
“In the two years of my backyard poultry farm, I have observed that chicks grown on CRH litter grow faster and are more uniform in size. They are healthier because CRH does not allow the proliferation of harmful organisms that often cause respiratory diseases and diarrhea,” Laurinaria said.
Sumaoang in a statement said Magnolia has already given Novatech the go-signal to talk with its contract growers to use this new method, especially those who are using the tunnel vent production system, which is totally enclosed. Espino Farm in Sugallon, Pangasinan, owned by Rep. Amado Espino, is now all out in using Biosec-treated CRH after using it in just two grows in tunnel vent systems.
For brooding, 0.5 kilogram (kg) of Biosec is applied on seven to 1O bags of CRH, which is used as litter for 1,000 birds for 14 days. The waste of the birds is mixed with the litter.
Thereafter, the litter is collected and can be used later as bio-organic fertilizer, according to Dr. Sumaoang. However, the use of Biosec must still be continued.
After brooding until the broilers are harvested, Biosec (15 kg per 5,000 birds) is applied on the manure which falls on the ground. In a tunnel vent system, like those used by Magnolia and Tyson, 2 kg of Biosec is spread on the litter of every 1,000 birds after brooding. In egg production, 20 kg of Biosec is applied on the manure of every 5,000 birds every three months.
Normally, raw rice hull is used in chicken litter. However, this material is a poor absorbent material, as its silica content is still bound inside the hull. Without Biosec, the chicken manure emits dangerous sulfide and ammonia gases, which produce foul odor and trigger respiratory diseases in the birds.
Moreover, the litter becomes the host of deadly microbes and poses a continuing problem on its disposal as it cannot be used as organic fertilizer.
With Biosec on the litter, Sumaoang said, the emission of ammonia and sulfide gases as well as foul odor is minimized, thereby reducing mortality rate.
Biosec treatment of CRH results in better ability of the birds to produce meat or eggs, ensures total biosecurity, and makes CRH an effective bio-organic fertilizer. The feathers of the birds also do not become discolored. Death of birds is greatly reduced by 30 to 40 percent. Consequently, medication cost is also greatly reduced.
In layer production, reduced death rate is translated into higher income as more birds are laying in any given period.
In Bantayan Island, Cebu, the egg basket of the Visayas, Biosec treatment of CRH has resulted in one to five percent increase in egg-laying performance. With an increase of two percent, for instance, 5,000 birds would produce an additional 25,550 eggs a year. If each egg costs P3, the increase in production would be worth P76,650, Sumaoang noted.
On the other hand, if the increase in production is five percent, an additional 63,875 eggs worth P191,625 would be produced from 5,000 birds in one year.
Given 100,000 layers, the poultry owner would have an additional net income of P1.133 million or P3.4325 million with two percent or five percent increase in egg production, respectively. The annual cost of Biosec treatment is only P20,000 for 5,000 layers or P400,000 for 100,000 birds.
In broilers, a two percent increase in production from 26,000 birds would result in an additional 780 kg of meat worth P42,000. The cost of 200 kg of Biosec is only P6,000, resulting in an additional net gain of P36,000, Sumaoang added.
Laurinaria said he is also replicating the practice of Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in Nueva Ecija where a pigpen where carbonized rice hull, about one foot deep, serves as flooring instead of the usual cement floor is being showcased, he said.
In result, the pigpen does not have to be cleaned with water everyday as in fact, it does not get washed for the entire growing period of four months while the manure and urine of the pigs get buried in the carbonized rice hull.
The usual foul smell is practically eliminated and when the pigs attain market size and are sold, the litter is collected and used as organic fertilizer for vegetables, rice and other crops, Laurinaria said.
“We also found CRH very useful in rice farming,” the vice-governor said explaining that 20 bags of it combined with organic fertilizer or compost may be applied in one hectare. It could be plowed in during land preparation to make it more porous for better plant growth as it enables the soil to retain the moisture much longer.
“Thus, during prolonged dry spell, the rice plants will be able to survive the rainless period longer,” he said.
In this case, according to Sumaoang, rice grown in fields enriched with CRH also produces more profuse tillers. This will mean higher yield because there are more stems that will bear fruit.
CRH is also useful in seedbeds for producing rice seedlings. Seedlings grown in beds of CRH are much easier to pull out come transplanting time. The roots don’t get damaged, hence the seedlings get established in the field more readily, Sumaoang said.
Likewise, CRH can be very useful in growing high-value vegetables, including those grown in containers. Combined with compost or topsoil, the resulting growing medium is ideal for producing healthy crops. Radish grown in containers by his company produced sizeable roots, he said.
Moreover, the ornamental horticulture industry could benefit a lot from the use of CRH. Being sterile, the use of CRH will minimize fungal infection in various ornamental plants. CRH could be combined with compost for germinating expensive seeds. It will also make an ideal material for producing potted ornamentals.
Sumaoang, who is aggressively promoting CRH, explained that farmers themselves can easily produce it for their own use or for sale.
“The equipment can be fabricated by them, consisting of a halved steel drum with holes on the side, and a four-foot steel pipe that will serve as chimney. The half drum is turned upside down and the chimney is attached in the middle of the upper end. A few layers of hollow blocks could be installed several feet around the half drum that will contain the raw rice hull to be made into CRH,” he explained.
With a few pieces of dry wood, fire is started inside the drum and when stabilized so that the pieces of wood are burning, raw rice hull is placed inside the drum and then a big pile is placed all around and way above the drum.
The fire inside the drum will gradually burn the raw rice hull and when burning reaches the top of the pile, water is sprinkled to stop the burning so that the burnt rice hull will not turn into ash. Ash is not good for incorporating in the planting medium because it will behave like cement. It will not make the soil porous, Sumaoang said. (PNA)