THE GOVERNMENT should provide incentives to farmers who would plant low-amylose rice as a means to improve rice supply in the country.
This is the belief of Alfonso G. Puyat who has done his personal research on the advantages of producing low-amylose varieties for milling into brown rice. He is the president of Philor, a company that manufactures plant growth enhancers and other farm inputs.
CONSUMER PREFERENCE – The low-amylose varieties are the ones that have less than 18% amylose content. These are the ones suitable for milling into brown rice. When cooked the low-amylose brown rice is soft and fluffy and that’s the eating quality highly preferred by consumers. Of course, the low-amylose rice can also be milled into well polished white rice but there is a big advantage of the brown rice over the well milled white rice.
Puyat compared the grain recovery when one kilo of palay is milled into brown rice and a kilo of the same variety that is milled into white rice. The result? One kilo of palay when milled into white rice produced 630 grams. It had a milling recovery of 60-65%.
HIGH MILLING RECOVERY – On the other hand, when one kilo of palay was milled into brown rice, the recovery was about 78- 80% or 780-800 grams. The additional milling recovery over white rice was about 25%.
Puyat also reported a very big advantage of the brown rice over the well-milled white rice when cooked. The well polished rice from one kilo of palay, when cooked, produced 1,596 grams. About 1,280 grams of water was used in cooking the white rice which is the typical amount of water used in cooking white rice.
COOKED BROWN RICE HEAVIER – More water was used in cooking brown rice from one kilo of palay. A total of 2,990 grams of water was used for cooking. And the final weight of the cooked brown rice was 2,723 grams. There’s a 1,127 grams advantage in the weight of cooked brown rice over the well-milled rice from one kilo of palay.
FOUR LOW-AMYLOSE VARIETIES – Here are four varieties of low-amylose rice that Puyat cited in his report. The data were provided by IRRI and PhilRice.
RC 160 (a.k.a.Tubigan) has a milling recovery of 39-47.9% when milled into white rice. When milled into brown rice, recovery is 75-79.9%
RC 218 (Mabango 3) when milled into white rice, recovery is 48-56.9%. Brown rice, 75-79.9%.
RC 480 (GSR 8) when milled into white rice, 48-56.9%. Brown rice, 75-79.9%.
RC 534 (GSR 12) white rice, 57+%. Brown rice, 75-79.9%.
BIG ADVANTAGE – Now you see, there is a big advantage of brown rice over well milled rice. And that is not even counting the health benefits from brown rice.
ON HIGH HIGH-AMYLOSE VARIETIES – Puyat emphasizes that varieties with more than 18% amylose content are not suitable for brown rice milling. The resulting brown rice when cooked will be too hard and not nice to eat. On the other hand, low-amylose brown rice is tasty and fluffy when cooked.
US-88 HYBRID IS HIGHLY SUITABLE – One hybrid variety that is highly suitable for brown rice production is US-88, a hybrid from Seedworks PH. It has long grains with low amylose content. When cooked, it is soft and smooth, traits that most consumers prefer. Best of all, US-88 is very high-yielding. A farmer from Bicol, Genaro Tamon, harvested 15.3 tons of palay per hectare recently.