Two varieties of rice straw, long variety — no. 370 Basmati traditional (L) and short variety — no. PR106 hybrid (S) were separated into botanical fractions giving the proportion of leaf plus leaf sheath, internode, node and chaff (g/kg dry matter) as 633, 247, 83 and 37 for L and 680, 156, 76 and 88 for S, respectively. Samples of whole plants, leaves plus leaf sheaths and internodes were subjected to ammonia treatment. The chemical composition and the rumen degradability of dry matter and organic matter determined by the nylon bag technique were ascertained for treated and untreated samples of whole plants and botanical fractions of plants from both varieties. The ash and silica content were higher in leaf plus leaf sheath, 211 and 102 g/kg for the L and 190 and 67 g/kg for the S, than in internodes, 160 and 29 g/kg for L and 184 and 29 g/kg S, respectively.
The potential degradability (a + b) value from the formula p = a + b(−e−ct) for dry-matter loss (DML), organic-matter loss (OML) and degradability of organic matter in dry matter (DOMD) were significantly higher for the S being 622, 659 and 544 g/kg, than for the L being 561, 586 and 500 g/kg, respectively (P < 0·01). The degradation rate too was significantly higher for the S than for the L for DML, OML and DOMD (P < 0·01). The ammonia treatment significantly improved the potential degradability for DML, OML and DOMD for both the varieties and their fractions (P < 0·01).