Hydroponic fodder production!

Many stock breeders  are looking for alternative ways of saving money from the cost of their livestock feed, and a popular way to reduce these costs is hydroponic fodder production.

Germ is the sprout in the early days of germination  process. The sight of fields that get green from wheat once it  begins to grow is what we need to have in mind about germination. Hydroponics on the other hand, is a method of cultivation without soil or any other substrate and  it takes place only with water solutions. So, hydroponic sprouts are some grains mainly of wheat, barley or corn, which are placed in trays, they are often watered and naturally in a few days they deliver  roots and  green sprouts. As the roots intertwine, they create a green carpet which can be given to all the farm animals as food (sprout-root-seed). In this way, we can produce 50 kg of hydroponic fodder from 7-8 kg of seed in 6-7 days.

The seed, using its energy reserves such as carbohydrates and fats, is able to transform in a few days into a young plant with the ability to capture energy from the sun (photosynthesis) and to absorb water and minerals. In this condition, both the oversized portion and the root system of the plants are in a burst of growth, low in fiber and high in proteins, part of which are in the leaves, providing many of their amino acids ready for digestion and more easily metabolized by the animals consuming them.

The increase in livestock productivity can be achieved in a number of ways (genetic improvement, management, hygiene, etc.), the most important of which is a proper and balanced diet that directly enables the animal to grow to its full potential, to the extent that its genetic identity determines it. As feed costs account to 60-70% of the total cost of livestock products production, its reduction affects directly and positively the economic efficiency of farming and, consequently, its competitiveness and in the long run its economic viability.

The international experience, mainly from the USA, shows that hydroponic fodder can be given at 2-3% of animal’s weight in the case of ruminants, replacing the paste and the grass. As for monogastric animals it can be a complete food (5% of their weight) by itself, with perhaps a supplement depending on the animal species. General animal health improves and this is the most important reason to make such an investment. Better fertility rates, pregnancies and easier births, fewer medications and vaccines. The economy resulting in fodder costs ranges from 15% to 30% depending on the area and the cost of the feed. The quality of the product produced, particularly in fattening, is greatly improved.

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