In Northern Ghana, harvesting of the bulk of paddy, which is cultivated under rain-fed conditions, coincides with the harmattan season. This season is characterized by low relative humidity and dry weather conditions which hasten drying and increase the tendency of the paddy to crack during milling. The farmers also store paddy for longer periods in anticipation of higher price in the open market, thus the paddy may deteriorate as a result of fluctuations in seasonal temperature and relative humidity. This study assessed the effects of fertilizer application regimes and storage duration on cracking and breaking during milling in 4 aromatic rice varieties. Across the varieties, grains that showed signs of cracks will eventually break during milling, and grain susceptibility to cracking significantly (P<0.05) increased when stored beyond 30 days. Gbewaa rice recorded significantly (P<0.05) higher cracking (49.2%) followed by Amankwatia (43.9%), CSIR-AGRA (40.4%) and Exbaika (40.3%). Fertilization regime of 2 basal applications and 2 topdressings at panicle initiation and booting-heading stages resulted in grains that were well-filled and thick to resist drying and cracking.
Key words: Aromatic varieties, nitrogen fertilizer, straight-milling, paddy cracking, consumer taste.
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