Hydroponically grown fodder is an extremely cost-effective feed supplement for cattle. With hay, grain, corn and soybean prices reaching record highs, cattle owners need a better feed option. Fodder formulation Feed Systems allow cattle operations to produce healthy, fresh livestock feed with complete control over protein, energy and essential nutrients levels. This leads to total control over meat or milk production and operational costs.
Our hydroponically grown fodder is very nutritious and suitable for partially substituting a portion of expensive commercial feeds for dairy and beef cattle.
Advantages of Hydroponics Fodder
The hydroponic system requires a fraction of the water usage of conventional farming while still supplying high quality stock feed. It takes between 800ml to 1 liters of water to produce one kilo of fodder as compared with 80 – 90 litres of water to grow a kilo of green grass.
Marginal Land Use
This type of fodder production provides huge ecological and economical advantages For example research shows that fodder grown in a 9m x 6m shed can feed (supplement) daily, the same amount of cattle that graze on 1200 acres of pasture.
Constant Food supply
Farmers using this type of fodder production are guaranteed a consistent supply of quality fodder 365 days of the year irrespective of rain or sunshine.
Reduced Labour Requirement
This process of growing cattle fodder requires minimal man-hours per day. Depending on the size of the shed in use, research has shown that as little as 1 hour per day is needed to maintain and produce hydroponic fodder.
Our trials in Kenya have concluded that the production of hydroponic fodder is an extremely cost effective and financially viable. A system measuring 4m by 3m by 3 m high can produce 170 kg of hydroponics fodder dairy this amount of fodder can feed 14 heads of cattle at a cost of Kshs 1,050.
Hydroponic fodder is a highly effective, particularly nutritious feed, which produces maximum protein, energy and is very rich in vitamins such as B-carotene, trace elements ,hormones, growth factors and enzymes.
Requirements of a Fodder formulation Feed System
Hydroponics fodder production involves the growing of fodder using water, hydroponics nutrients on special trays and without using soil. A hydroponics production unit is a temperature controlled room used to grow nutritious fodder from seed to ready fodder in just six days. This fodder is suitable for all types of Livestock.
To grow cattle fodder successfully, one requires having the following things;
1 Hydroponics Housing Unit
This is a custom built structure whose role is to provide a temperature controlled environment for the growing of fodder. It is built using Hydroponics cloth, timber and has a concrete floor. Inside the housing, there is shelving upon which the trays on which fodder is grown are placed.
We provide the services of designing and building the Hydroponics fodder production unit. It is built according to the needs of the farmer, their financial ability and their farm location. We provide the Shade netting for the structure. Locally available material can be used in the place of timber to reduce costs
2 Photo chemical hydroponics trays
These are photo chemically treated trays to prevent fungus on which the fodder is grown. We are able to supply these trays.
The best seed for growing hydroponics fodder is barley. However, other cereals like wheat and sorghum can be used. We are able to supply barley to our farmers throughout Kenya.
4 Hydroponics nutrients
These are specially formulated liquid mineral nutrients required for the growth of the fodder. They help in making the fodder more nutritious. We also supply the Hydroponics nutrients required for growing the fodder
One needs to have a reliable source of clean (potable) water for the fodder.
The Benefits of Hydroponics Fodder for Cows
Fodder grown in a Fodder formulation Feed System mimics the benefits of fresh pasture and is a more appropriate feed option for grazing animals. Ruminants are able to digest fodder sprouts easier and more resourcefully than grain, improving feed efficiency, milk and meat production.
Feeding fodder will also provide these advantages to cattle:
- Reduced somatic cell count
- Reduced occurrence of acidosis and mastitis
- Lowered pH in rumen
- Increased digestibility
- Earlier breeding and higher conception rates
- Faster weight gain and easier weaning
- Increased longevity in dairy cows
- Higher milk production and butterfat content
- Improved hoof health