This Guide will teach you everything you need to know about Hydroponic Fodder.
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Green fodder is essential to feed livestock but the reduced availability of land and lack of water. It is become difficult to produce required quantity green fodder throughout the year also, the lack of quality fodder hampers the growth production and Reproduction of livestock.
In this article, you will learn how to Grow Hydroponic Fodder in easy steps it will help you to solve green fodder problem.
Hydroponic fodder is produced by growing seeds without soil, and with very little water, within six-seven days the seeds are sprouted the seedlings will be up to 30-35 cm tall and provide a highly nutritious fodder.
Advantages of hydroponic fodder
1) Nutrient Value
Hydroponics fodder has more nutrient than traditional fodder dry food or grain. It contains high carbohydrate, minerals, and vitamins.
2) Time to grow
Compared to traditional fodder which often needs up to two months to grow you can grow hydroponic fodder in just one week
3) less water requirement
Compared to conventional fodder production it required less water for hydroponic fodder production. Only 3 to 4 liters of water is necessary to grow one kilogram of hydroponic fodder on other for traditional fodder approximate 70- 100liter water required.
4) Easy daily production
Hydroponic fodder can be produced on a regular basis throughout the year even when low water problem.
5) Chemicals or pesticides
It does not require any Chemicals or pesticides to grow
6) Less workforce and Transport cost
it needed less workforce and transport cost. most of the farmer grow hydroponic green fooder near to the livestock shade
Construction of Hydroponic fodder system
To grow good quality fodder you need to be able to control the temperature and humidity. The fodder easily grows in semi-controlled environmental conditions with the temperature range of 15-32 °C and relative humidity of 80-85%.
Also, control light is needed to grow fodder, so you need to build a small shed net or a low-cost greenhouse.
To make shed net or a low-cost greenhouse you can use bamboo log, iron rod or plastic pipe for structure construction purpose also you required shade netting or gunny bags to cover this structure.
- According to your fooder quantity demand, you can build a Hydroponic fodder system. to build this system is required a little space, mostly farmer use 10 ft x10 ft shade net to grow Hydroponic fodder, and it is better to choose shed net location near to the livestock shade because it becomes easy to operate.
- To allow ventilation to leave some open space between the roof and side walls when the shed is well ventilated and airy, you can easily maintain the temperature and humidity.
- To grow hydroponic fodder, you required a medium size tray of about 1.5 x 3 Ft. They must be made up of good plastic and strong enough to hold the weight of the fodder.
- The seeds must be kept moist so avoid metal trays because they easily rust so use only plastic trays.
- Make 15-20 small size holes in trays for draining any excess water.
- Inside the shed, you can build a bamboo rack, plastic rack or metal rack to hold these trays.
- Make three to four layers rack but take care rack should not be too high because it becomes difficult to spray water and removes the trays.
- Keep enough space between two layers so you can easily water the seeds also create slightly slope for each layer to one side of the rack this is helpful for easily and quickly water to drain from the trays.
- Make a small drainage line under the slope side of a rack to properly drain out water.
Hydroponic fodder production process
use only good qualities seed for hydroponic fodder production, never use broken or unhealthy seeds as these will not germinate and grow properly.
You can use maize, pulses, wheat, and horse gram seeds to make hydroponic fodder but do not use pearl millet and sorghum seeds because these sprouted leaves contain poison that can harm your livestock.
Mostly farmer uses Maize seeds to produce hydroponic fodder. In cold climatic condition wheat and oats seed are good while in hot climatic condition maize seeds are suitable for hydroponic fodder production.
- Add a 5-7 liters warm water in a plastic bucket and seed and remove seeds are float on the water because they will not sprout also remove other impurities.
- After that add 50 -100 gm salt in water it helps to minimize chance on fungus production on sprouted seed.
- Allow this seed to soak water for around 12 hours.
- After 12 hours drain the water and then wash the seeds with clean water.
- Transfer this washed seed in a gunny bag and allow them to sprout. In a cold climate, they will take more than 24 hours to germinate while in a hot climate the seed will take about 24 hours.
- Before using tray wash them properly and check all holes if they blocked or not if there is blockage remove the blockage.
- Transfer sprouted seeds from the gunny bags to trays and evenly spread them and place this trays on the rack.
- Every day gives light water ( sprinkle) to sprouted seeds. To provide water, you can use watering cans or sprinklers system.
- In hot weather conditions give water after every two hours, and in cold weather condition after 4 hours it helps to maintain moisture.
Always maintain cleanness in the shed it helps to reduce fungus, molds development chance.
Do not disturb the sprouted seeds from the trays until they are harvest as this influences the growth of the fodder.
Within seven days from one tray containing one kilogram of maize seed, you can produce about eight kilograms of fodder.
When preparing hydroponic fodder to make the rack according to your fooder need, if you required every day five trays of fodder so for seven days prepared shade that accommodates 35 trays.
Feeding of Hydroponic Green Fodder
In six to seven day fooder ready to harvest, take out fodder slabs form the tray and cut into small pieces before feeding it to the livestock, so it is easier for the animals to eat the fodder properly.
Avoid keeping the fodder more than nine days in the trays because after nine days the nutrient value of fodder start to decrease slowly and fiber start to develop.
Give this fooder to livestock along with other food and dry fodder from the total quantity of fodder.
Give this fodder to the livestock with other food and other dry fodder. Farmer gives the combination of half a hydroponic fodder and half fodder or dry fodder.
Hydroponic fodder is very soft and nutritious and tasty, and the resulting animals enjoy it.
For sustainable dairy farming, quality green fodder should be fed regularly to dairy animals. Hydroponic fodder is a good option in front of the farmer because it grows fast, it contains a high nutrient value, and the most important thing is animals like to eat.