Ecology and food economy

Cycle of common agricultural products (rice, corn)

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Rice and corn: Harvest and storage


Rice grows in ears, in envelopes called glumes.

Once rice has been harvested, it needs to be threshed to separate the glumes from the ear of rice. This step releases what is referred to as paddy rice. The husk covering paddy rice is hard and inedible. Once it has been removed, we get what is called wholegrain rice, brown rice or cargo rice, which has many nutritional properties. Removing the germ and the bran  gives white rice. The grains are then parboiled.

Corn can be harvested either in cobs or as kernels, but it is now more commonly harvested as kernels. This entails a process called shucking, to separate the kernels from the cobs. The corn is then hulled to remove part of the germ and the bran. Corn can also be consumed in its original state, i.e. without having undergone any transformations.


After harvesting and threshing, grains of rice and kernels of corn usually still have a high water content, which promotes the growth of mould and bacteria. So, they must be dried. This step is also called desiccation..

There are two main methods for drying rice: natural drying and artificial drying. There are also several methods for drying corn: natural drying on the stalk, drying on the cob and drying kernels.


The main objectives of storage are to allow the deferred use of agricultural products and to guarantee a regular and continuous supply for processing industries. Storage also serves to balance the supply and demand of agricultural products on a commercial basis, thereby stabilising market prices.

SacsSilosMost of the time, rice and corn are stored in bags for transportation and sale. However, in large collection centres, ports or large processing sites, rice and corn are stored in bulk in warehouses or in silos.

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