Rice Hulls

What Are They?

Rice hulls are the outer covering or husk of the rice kernel.

What Are They Used For?

Rice hulls are mixed with seed to solve the following problems:

  • To ensure a more uniform coverage when seeding a mixture of different sized seeds.
  • When seeding equipment can not be adjusted to slow the rate of seed application.
  • To prevent bridging of fluffy seeds in the drill.
Variable Sized Seed

Seed comes in many shapes, sizes, and weight. The most effective strategy to ensure that seed is applied accurately is to use a multi-boxed seeder and place seed of similar size and shape in each box and calibrate each box to achieve the desired seeding rate for the seeds in that box. However, sometimes there are not enough boxes on a drill to accommodate the number of species being seeded. Rice hulls can be used to facilitate uniform application of seeds when combining different sized seeds into the same drill box.

Slow the Rate of Application

Many seed drills are designed to handle relatively large seeds such as barley, wheat, and oats. Most seeds used in land revegetation are much smaller than these common field seeds. The drills that are designed to handle the larger sized seeds frequently have seeding openings that cannot be closed down far enough to slow the rate of smaller seeds. However, rice hulls can be added to the seed mixture to increase its bulk and thereby slow the rate that the seeds emerge from the drill. Rice hulls feed through a grain drill at the same rate as barley.

Prevent Bridging of Fluffy Seeds

The physical structure of certain seeds is fluffy. The fluffy seed has a tendency to bridge in the box of seed applicators. Adding rice hulls to the seed reduces the overall fluffiness of the seed thereby reducing its tendency to bridge.

How Are They Used?

Rice hulls are blended with seed to attain the desired application rate. Rice hulls weigh nine pounds per bushel. Use standard calibration techniques for determining the settings of your seeding equipment. For more information on calibration techniques refer to the following Calibrating a Seed Drill for Conservation Plantings Technical Notes from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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