Rice, it is the staple food for a vast majority of the world’s population. According to the Asian Development Bank, global consumption of rice hit 441 million metric tons (mmt) in 2010 and should reach 450 mmt by 2020. ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries consume and produce 90% of this rice, but North America also plays a vital role in the industry. No matter where you grow rice, it is critical that you maintain proper moisture levels during the all-important drying process. It would be great if drying rice were a one-size fits all proposition, but this is not the case. Due to differences in climate and access to technology, drying rice is quite different in North America compared to most of Asia.
In North America, the process of drying rice is a gradual one. If you attempt to take excess moisture out of rice too quickly, you will fracture the rice kernel inside the hull. Therefore, you need to remove 2-3% of moisture at a time and pass it through your dryer multiple times. These passes need to be limited as well, because running rice through a dryer too many times leads to damage. This process is helped along by North America’s dryer climate that produces rice that comes in at lower moisture levels than those in Asia.
Because the most Asian rice growers work in warmer, wetter climates, their rice usually comes in at 20-25% moisture (the ideal is 14%). This means that they need to take more moisture out each pass in order to arrive at the idea level. This makes the process more difficult, thus the risk of damage is more likely. If you have the proper equipment, you can get a paddy-to-rice conversion rate of 72%. However, smaller less high-tech equipment often struggles to achieve 60%.
It is for this very reason Dryer Master has been making great efforts to get our state-of-the-art rice drying systems into more ASEAN countries. With rice accounting for 29.3% of Asia’s caloric intake, it is critical that the paddy-to-rice rate stay as high as possible. This is not only an issue of feeding people and selling rice, it is a serious geopolitical issue. It is the perfect example of how modern technology’s ability to improve efficiency not only holds off famine but also keeps entire countries more politically and socially stable.
To learn more about how Dryer Master is improving rice conversion rates across the world, visit our website or contact us today.