Definition: This is growing of fodder without soil but in water for a maximum of 6 days.
The water must be safe for human drinking. You can sprout seeds of barley , maize, oats, wheat or sorghum to obtain fodder for cattle, pigs or poultry .This involves sprouting grains for feeding livestock. The grains that have been successfully sprouted include: Barley seeds sprouted for seven days in trays in green houses. After 7 days they are ready for feeding livestock especially dairy cows.
An area of 50ft by 100ft under greenhouse hydroponic fodder production will produce enough fodder for five (5) dairy cows.
BENEFITS OF HYDROPONIC FODDER PRODUCTION
- Require small area hence space spared for crop production and other farming practices
- A very short growth time is required i.e. A 8 day cycle is recommended for every kilo of seed
- Requires less labour as little as 1 hour per day is required to maintain and produce hydroponic fodder
- Nutritional value is quite high and is rich in vitamins necessary for dairy production
- Cost effective in that there is no fungicides and pesticides used
- Requires less water to produce a solution to frequent drought
STEP BY STEP TO PRODUCE HYDROPONIC FODDER
1. Select seeds without overgrowths and free of chemicals
2. Disinfect seeds by soaking in diluted chlorine solution (similar to what is
used to disinfect drinking water) for 2 hours to prevent mould/fungus growth
3. Drain chlorinated water and rinse grains then soak the grains in water for 24 hours to promote water uptake by the grains
4. For grain sowing, measure 2kg of grains for each tray that measures 80cm by 40cm
5. Spread the grains on the trays evenly (not over 3cm deep) to provide enough space for each seed to sprout
6. Ensure your tray has holes that are evenly spread at the bottom for proper drainage of water
7. Transfer the trays to the hydroponic unit. Germination of seeds begins at this point and is considered day 1.
8. Irrigate from day 1 to day 6 at intervals of 4 hours in every 24 hours
(30 seconds for automated system and 1 minute for manual system).