UC Davis develops guide for ranchers

Daily Planet Wire Service
Wednesday September 25, 2002

DAVIS – Just in time for the fall harvest, the University of California has published a guide that could help farmers and ranchers solve each others' problems. 

For years, rice growers have struggled to find a way to get rid of rice straw, an environmentally challenging waste product. 

At the same time, beef cattle producers have been looking for a low-cost supplemental feed. 

“Feeding Rice Straw to Cattle,” written by Northern California advisors to the University of California Cooperative Extension, examines how rice straw can be used as cattle feed. 

Topics covered include the nutritional value or rice straw, how to take lab samples, how much to feed to cattle and how to keep the overall costs down. 

“Feed is the largest single cost of producing beef,” explained Nader, a Sutter/Yuba and Butte counties advisor to the University of California program who helped author the report. 

“Producers with access to alternative feeds have an economic advantage, but these types of feeds present unique challenges. Rice straw should be used only as part of the forage, not as a complete ration.” 

In the past, rice straw has been fed to cattle with mixed success, the team of advisors said. Their publication explains the road to successful use of rice straw as feed built on three principles, Nader added. 

First, know the nutritional quality of the rice straw, as it varies greatly. Second, determine the nutritional requirements of the cattle to be fed. And third, balance a ration to determine whether rice straw will meet your situation economically.  


The guide is currently available online at