Baled rice straw can provide farmers additional income

Dairy buffalo farmers can now look forward to additional income with the projected distribution of 11 rice straw baler machines recently acquired by the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) from Thailand.

The machines can compress hay, rice straw, silage and other raked crops into tightly-packed, easily transportable rectangular or cylindrical bales that can be sold to farmers, resulting in extra income for PCC-assisted dairy farmers.

The machines require five persons each to operate, each performing interrelated tasks that include feeding of rice straw, arranging the bale and compacting.

The user-friendly machine can produce 350 bales per day.

Dr. Daniel Aquino, an animal nutrition expert of PCC, said that these machines are convenient to use, small in size and easy to handle for transport and distribution to recipients.

For years, farmers are used to burning the rice straw at post harvest as an easy means of disposal. However, this practice contributes to air pollution, studies show.

Dr. Aquino said that PCC initiated the acquisition of baler machines to somehow help in coming up with mitigating measures to control air pollution while turning farm waste into productive resource.

He said that rice straws can be put into good use as a food supplement for the carabaos.

Selling baled rice straws, he added, can also be a means of income generation for farmers.

The PCC will soon train farmers on how to operate the machines.