Stalks of grasses, particularly cereal grasses such as wheat, oats, rye, barley, and buckwheat. Used collectively, the term means stalks aggregated into bales or piles after the drying and threshing of grain. Since ancient times, humans have used straw as litter and fodder for cattle, as a covering for floors, for coarse bedding, and even as clothing. It can also be woven into baskets, hats, floor mats, and furniture coverings. Thatched roofs consist of straw laid down approximately 1 ft (30 cm) thick and secured by strong cords, with the fibers running in the direction to be taken by rainwater. Chemically pulped straw is used in the manufacture of coarse paper and strawboard, a cardboard for cheap paper boxes.
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Straw is an agricultural by-product, the dry stalk of a cereal plant, after the grain or seed has been removed. Straw makes up about half of the yield of cereal crops such as barley, oats, rice, rye and wheat. In times gone by, it was regarded as a useful by-product of the harvest, but with the advent of the combine harvester, straw has become more burdensome to agriculture.
However, straw can be put to many uses, old and new.
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Apr 26, 1997; Skeptics can huff and puff at the idea, make jokes about the Big Bad Wolf and prophesy structural demise. But a burgeoning...