The Yolo County Resource Conservation District is again making its rice straw roller available to rent to encourage decomposition of rice straw, a field management practice that also benefits local and regional wildlife. The fee is $3 per acre.
Rice straw rollers are a farm implement used to help break down rice straw after harvest.
“There are a number ofapproaches to getting rid of the large amounts of straw left after a rice harvest, but this method is one of the best for providing habitat for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds,” a news release said. “The advantage to this method is that, besides putting the straw in contact with the soil so that breakdown can begin, it leaves the grain that typically spills out of a harvester on the soil surface for waterfowl to feed on during the winter.”
The hollow cage roller is designed to be pulled through a shallowly flooded (about 4 inches) harvested rice field to mix the straw with the mud and begin the decomposition process. The best straw decomposition occurs if rolling is done right after harvest, the release said. This takes advantage of the warmer temperatures in the early fall, and water for re-flooding is also more easily available.
For questions about how to use a rice straw roller or the field conditions it creates, call Jeanette at the Resource Conservation District, 530-662-2037, ext. 117, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Rental of the roller is arranged on a first-come, first-served basis, but it may be reserved ahead of time.