After the rice has been harvested, it is threshed to loosen the hulls, normally by flailing, treading or working in a mortar and winnowed free of chaff by tossing it in the air above a sheet or mat.
Once sold the rice, known as paddy or rough rice is screened to remove stones, loose chaff and paddy stalks (part of the plant). The rice is then slowly dried by warm air to reduce any moisture. Then the rice is screened to remove dust particles. The outer husk is removed next, but the bran layer is left intact, this forms brown rice. The rice is then cleaned and graded. If the brown rice is to be sold as white rice it then proceeds to the mill where it undergoes milling, an abrasive action which removes the bran layer surrounding the rice grain.
In the US and most parts of Europe the cultivation and harvesting/processing of rice has undergone the same mechanisation as other grain crops, lessening the need for manpower needed to grow the crops.