• A process of collecting the mature rice crop from the field.
• A rice crop usually reaches maturity at around 105–150 days after crop establishment depending on the variety.
• Harvesting activities include cutting, stacking, handling, threshing, cleaning, and hauling.
• Good harvesting methods help maximize grain yield and minimize grain damage and deterioration.
• Manual harvesting: It involves cutting the rice crop with simple hand tools like sickles and knives. Very effective when a crop has lodged or fallen over, however it is labor intensive. It requires 40 to 80 hours per hectare and it takes additional labor to manually collect and haul the harvested crop.
• Mechanical harvesting: Commonly done by using reapers. Following cutting the rice must be threshed to separate the grain from the stalk and cleaned. These processes can also be done by hand or machine.
• Road transportation: The most predominant by used in the movement of paddy/rice. It is used in right from the producing fields to the ultimate consumers. Early used of the road transportation is done on village roads which are generally non-tarred and mostly tracks wind through the fields. Nowadays, the road transport has improved due to the development of roads in rural areas and also by the increase of numbers and efficiency of different types of vehicles.
• Railways: It is also one of the most important transport for paddy/rice. Railway is cheaper than road transport but it requires loading and unloading charges besides local transportation cost.
• Water transport: This is the oldest and cheapest mode of transportation and usually used is cargo.
• Rice typically contains 20% – 28% moisture, depending on where it is grown and the atmospheric humidity at the time.
• It must be dried to about 12 – 14% within 48 hours of harvest before it can be loaded.
• The optimal moisture content of the rice depends on the desired storage duration. The longer the storage duration, the lower the optimal moisture content should be.
• Often lower moisture content rice is mixed with higher moisture content rice to give an overall optimal moisture content. This can, however, prove to be damaging during transport as the damp rice affects not only the undamaged rice in close proximity, but also other rice in the hold by increasing the overall moisture content.
• Considerable damage was caused by water infiltration into the ship’s holds during rain.
• Monitoring weather forecasts, the crew should be available and equipped to close hatch covers at the first sign of rain.
• Rice cargo is also susceptible to becoming moldy if its temperature is greater than 25°C.
• Higher temperatures result in the rice sticking together and aid in metabolic processes that affect the cargo’s quality.
• The optimal temperature at which rice should be transported is between 5 – 25°C.