Growing hydroponic green fodder is gaining popularity day by day. Hydroponic green fodder system has many benefits and through this system you can feed your animals with green fodder without the need of soil. And the fodder is also highly nutritious and healthy for the animals.
Hydroponics is actually a subset of hydroculture, which is a method of growing plants without soil. Green fodder is very important for raising milch animals and it provides required nutrients and mineral for the animals.
Feeding cost is very high in raising animals, especially raising the dairy animals. Generally the feed cost is about 70 to 75 percent of total milk cost, and the green fodder alone contributes 30 to 35 percent of total feed costs.
Currently, rapid population growth is the reason of lack of enough grazing land. That’s why there are a great shortage of land for producing green fodder for the livestock animals. And this situation caused the livestock farmers to look for alternative and sustainable method of quality green fodder production.
Due to non-availability of irrigated lands, high labor costs and depleting natural resources, sustainable technology like ‘hydroponic green fodder’ production would be the key driver of the dairy industry in the future.
Using hydroponic green fodder production technology for producing high quality green fodder would be a revolutionary step in green fodder production. Actually hydroponically grown fodder can be used for feeding numerous livestock animals such as goat, cattle, sheep, buffalo and other livestock animals.
Why do you need hydroponic green fodder technology?
You will need the hydroponic green fodder technology to overcome the following constraints for the production of quality green fodder, especially in dairy farmers. However, you will need this system for the reasons listed below;
- In case if you have less amount of land.
- If you don’t have enough fertile lands for producing green fodder.
- If you have limited facilities like irrigation, fencing and land preparations.
- If you live somewhere in mining and coastal belt areas where it has limited area for growing green fodder.
- In areas where labor costs are much higher for producing green fodder.
- In areas where demand for green fodder is much higher than existing availability of the fodder.
Using hydroponic technology in dairy or livestock business
Growing hydroponic green fodder is very easy and simple, and you can start growing quality fodder for your animals very easily. Hydroponics is actually a scientific way of growing plants or crops in water without any soil in controlled environment. In this technology, water is enriched with well-balanced nutrients which are essential for the plant’s growth and better yield.
When it comes to green fodder production, hydroponic green fodder production technology takes the pressure off the land for growing green fodder for the livestock animals. Fodder crops such as oats, maize, barley, sorghum and wheat can be grown using the hydroponic green fodder production technology.
Hydroponic green fodder results in good health of the livestock animals apart from high milk yield. This technology can also be used for growing wheat grass and paddy saplings in just 7 to 10 days of time.
Green fodder obtained from hydroponics consists of grass with grains, roots, stem and leaves. Whereas conventionally grown fodder consists of stem and leaves only.
However, here we are describing more about why hydroponic green fodder production system plays major role in the dairy business.
Hydroponic green fodder production system allows growing green fodder at wider temperature in the range of 15°C to 33°C and humidity range at 70-80 percent without fungal growth.
- The hydroponic green fodder production technology is environmental friendly.
- Fodder grown in this system is free from contamination.
- The fodder produced from this system saves water and labor costs.
- The fodder is highly nutritious and tasty for the animals.
- The green fodder from hydroponic system improves animal health and reproductive efficiency.
- Feeding the animals with hydroponic green fodder will result in higher milk yield in dairy animals.
Advantages of hydroponic green fodder production
Hydroponic green fodder production system has many advantages. Here we are shortly describing about the advantages of hydroponic green fodder production system.
Water saving: Hydroponic green fodder production system requires less amount of water. Generally the system requires only 2-3 liters of water for growing 1 kg of quality green fodder (when compared to 55 to 75 liters of water used in traditional system of green fodder production). Apart from this, there will not be any water wastage as the water is always recycled.
Require less labor: The hydroponic system generally require less labor. The labor required for green fodder production is about 2-3 hours a day, whereas conventional fodder production requires continuous intense labor.
Requires less land: The hydroponic green fodder production system generally requires minimum amount of land. Generally an area of 50 square meter will be enough for producing 600 to 650 kg of green fodder. But for producing same amount of green fodder, you will need to have about 1 hectare land. So, hydroponic system require less amount of land.
The system less time: Traditional fodder production system generally require more than 45 days for producing green fodder. Whereas hydroponic system generally require 7 to 8 days for seed germination to fully grown plant of 8-12 inches height.
Round the year production: This is another advantage of hydroponic green fodder production. You can actually produce the fodder throughout the year.
Increased nutritious value: The fodder produced from hydroponic system is highly nutritious for the animals as compared to conventionally grown fodder. So you can supply quality milk from your animals by using hydroponic green fodder.
Minimal loss of green fodder: The green fodder produced from the hydroponic system will be fully utilized, because there won’t be any loss of the green fodder. But there would be wastage of chopped traditional green fodder or green grasses during consumption by the animals.
Faster growth and high yield: The hydroponic system has faster growth rate as compared to traditional system. And you can produce fodder for your animals faster than the conventional system.
Natural green fodder supply: The green fodder produced from this system is completely by natural source and to pesticides or chemical fertilizers are used in the production.
Tips for hydroponic green fodder production
Follow the tips mentioned below for growing hydroponic green fodder.
- Apply fungicidal solution like Effective microorganism to be applied in order to avoid fungal growth in this system.
- When compared to yellow maize, white maize or corn seeds were found to have better germination rate.
- Change/replace the water after every 3 days.
- Selection of seeds should be free from impurities for avoiding clogging of foggers to produce quality feed.
- The leaves will become yellow due to excessive sunlight outside of green house.
As the irrigated land and fertile lands are limited and as land prices are going up, so the farmers have to apply new methods for growing green fodder. And the hydroponic green fodder production technology can be a very good alternative way of producing green feeds for the animals.