Hydroponics fodder can be grown in low cost greenhouses with locally available grains. Production of hydroponics fodder in low cost greenhouses is an effective solution for fodder scarcity and is a very promising technology for sustainable livestock production in different regions of India.
Hydroponic fodder production involves supplying cereal grain with necessary moisture and nutrients, to enable germination and plant growth in the absence of a solid growing medium. The resulting green shoots and root mat are harvested and fed to livestock.
The fodder is grown on trays in a growing unit under controlled environment and only supplied with water at predetermined times during the day.
Commonly grown fodder crops under this method are Maize, barley, wheat and sorghum. Hydroponic fodders are ready for feeding in 9-10 days. The end result is a network of roots and a green mat of green sprouts which is fed wholesome and provides high nutritional content.
- Highly rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes.
· Hydroponic fodder is 80% to 85% digestible
· Hydroponic fodder contains high quality protein
· High energy content
This is a cheap, economic way to have winter food for your livestock that’s very nutritional – much better than hay and most commercial feeds
Daily operation of the fodder growing revolves around 5 main tasks:
1.Harvesting mature fodder is pulled out of the trays as a complete single mat. Feeding them to animals
2. Cleaning Trays It is critical that the trays and all equipment are thoroughly cleaned to reduce the risk of mould and other infections. A soapy water or water with bleach is commonly used to achieve this.
3. Sowing New grain, which has been soaked for 24 hours, is sown into the trays. This grain is sown in an even layer 2cm deep.
4. Cleaning & washing the grains for soaking
5. Disinfecting and soaking grains for next day sowing
Soaking of seed:
Weigh the correct amount of 1 kg of seed and wash it with clean water. Add the appropriate amount of water in seed so that it is thoroughly wet. Allow it to soak for 24 hr.
Germination of seed:
Keep the soaked seed in wet gunny bag and allowed to germinate (sprout) for 48 hr.at temperature 17 to 19ºC.
Transfer the seed in dome:
Dimension of plastic tray of 56 cm (length) x 40 cm (width) x 7 cm (height).The seed was scattered uniformly within the tray. This tray must keep in controlled temperature, light, irrigation and humidity because successful growth was observed in controlled environment.
Sprouted seed irrigated by sprinklers or fogging. Water must be provided at interval of 1hr for 21sec.During experiments 400 ml of water was given for single tray with the help of foggers for 21 sec duration. Excess water leads to the fungal diseases to the fodder.
Harvesting green fodder:
The sprout allowed germinating in greenhouse for period of 8-10 days. Height of green fodder is 13 cm, color is Flush/dark green, and without fungus and odor .This fully grown fodder is then given to the Cattles as whole feed. Yield – from 1kg of dry seed around 7 to 8 kg green fodder can be made hydroponically.
Fodder is a more natural feed and is comparable to the forage the digestive system of livestock and horses were designed to process. Due to its increased digestibility and the availability of nutrients, there is a wide range of benefits to feeding fodder over grains and concentrates. Not only will yours animals be healthier and have a better quality of life, they will also be more productive and profitable.
Benefits to All animals include
- Less manure due to increased digestibility of fodder
- Boosted Immune System
- Proper Heat cycle
- Improved Fertility
- Lower Operation Cost
- Less area required and less feed waste
- No fertilizer, pesticide and herbicide
- Less Water requirement