Rice milling is part of the processing steps that are required to make rice an edible food product. The objective of this task is to remove the husk of the rice grain, then remove the bran layers, to reach the white kernel that lies underneath. When done successfully, the kernel will be free of impurities.
In the modern rice mill, several different operations are combined to produce a product that is of a better quality, and produces higher yields, then what would be achievable through traditional milling efforts. That involves pre-cleaning the grains, removing husks by running the grains through two abrasive surfaces, then disposing of the husks to prevent contamination of the final product.
There is a polishing process used with white rice as well. Some of the remaining bran might be removed to help give it a whiter appearance. Then the rice is evaluated for its quality, breaking the kernels down into head rice, large rice, broken rice, and brewers’ rice.
Important Rice Mill Industry Statistics
#1. A professional rice mill should be able to produce up to 60% whole kernels for the overall rice industry. Another 10% should be large broken kernels, with the remainder being small or broken kernels. (Rice Knowledge Bank)
#2. Efficient huskers working within a rice mill should be able to remove 90% of the husk from rice grains on a single pass. The husk accounts for 20% of the paddy weight within the rice processing industry. (Rice Knowledge Bank)
#3. The amount of bran removed from the whole rice kernels is usually about 10% of the total paddy weight. (Rice Knowledge Bank)
#4. To reduce the risks of breakage when processing rice, a rice mill may pass through up to 4 whitening machines before creating a finished product. (Rice Knowledge Bank)
#5. Rice is regularly grown on every continent, except for Antarctica. There are more than 40,000 different varieties of rice that are currently grown. Some varieties of rice, such as those found in India, have been cultivated for more than 4,000 years. (Rice Fest)
#6. In 2017, the total global supply of rice reached 718.48 million metric tons. In 2004, the global supply of rice was only 532.1 million metric tons. Both figures are in milled equivalent weights. (Statista)
#7. 90% of the world’s rice supply is currently grown in Asia. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
#8. The United States is a major exporter of rice products, with almost 50% of sales each year, in volume, originating from foreign markets. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
#9. China is the largest importer of rice, bringing in 3.5 million metric tons in 2016. It is also the second-largest producer of rice in the world today. (Mordor Intelligence)
#10. India is the largest exporter of rice in the world. In 2016, the country exported almost 10 million metric tons of rice, which was 24% of the total export market for the product. About 36% of the rice exports from India involve Basmati rice. (Mordor Intelligence)
#11. The value of the rice milling market in India is expected to reach $392 million by 2022, which would be a CAGR of 3.51%. (Market Research Future)
#12. There are about 10,000 farmers in the United States which are producing rice. Most are located in the U.S. South or California. About 24 billion pounds of rice is produced each year. (Cajun Country Rice)
#13. Only 6% of the rice that is produced globally is actually traded internationally, which is why the U.S. is a leading exporter of rice. Most rice that is grown in the Asia-Pacific region is intended for domestic markets. (Super Rice Mills)
#14. More than 110 countries are currently active in the production of rice, all of whom have a need for the rice mill industry to bring their product to the market. (Doguet’s Rice Milling Company)
#15. If it is stored properly, uncooked milled rice will keep almost indefinitely if it is stored in a refrigerator or freezer. Once a package has been opened, it must be stored in a container that has a tight lid. (Doguet’s Rice Milling Company)
#16. Whole-grain brown rice will keep for about 6 months when properly stored because of the higher levels of bran and natural vitamins that are contained in the product. (Doguet’s Rice Milling Company)
#17. Milled rice that has been cooked can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Cooked rice can also be stored frozen for up to 6 months when cooked properly. (Doguet’s Rice Milling Company)
#18. The Philippine rice industry is able to feet up to 20 people for every hectare of rice that is planted. In comparison, Vietnam feeds about 12 people per hectare planted, while Thailand only feeds 7 people per hectare planted. (VJ Rice Mill)
#19. In the Philippines, rainfed upland areas suitable for planting rice are reducing in size by almost 7,000 hectares each year. That has forced aa 68% increase in irrigated fields in the lowlands to maintain production levels. (VJ Rice Mill)
#20. About 95% of the basmati rice production that occurs in Pakistan takes place within the Punjab province. About 2.5 million tons of basmati rice is produced each year. (A.M. Rice Mills)
#21. 60% of the basmati rice that is produced in India comes from Haryana. (A.M. Rice Mills)
Rice Mill Industry Trends and Analysis
Although rice mills are not a mandatory component of bringing this necessary grain to the global market, it is a processing method which creates more efficiencies within the system. More rice can be processed to a better quality by using modern milling methods. That keeps prices down for consumers, which is especially important for countries where up to 70% of the average person’s caloric intake comes from this food.
Rice is one of the oldest foods known to us. That means the rice milling industry is built on a solid foundation. Although processing capacities may need to increase in certain markets to make up for higher levels of demand, the need to mill rice quickly and effectively is not going away.
Expect this industry to continue investing into research and development for better equipment and husk removal methods. Additional revenues may be generated by innovative uses of leftover products. In the U.S., lasers can sort through rice kernels to remove those with inferior quality already, which speeds up the production process exponentially.