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Fodder Farms

While hydroponic farms are predominantly viewed as a way to sustainably grow fruits & vegetables, the technology can also be used to reduce the environmental impact of beef and dairy production.

Hydroponic fodder farms present a highly productive and efficient way to grow animal feed using a fraction of the water and land otherwise used in conventional farming.

Advantages of hydroponic fodder

Use of water

  • By applying water directly to the root of the plants and recycling the water several times, water wasted is significantly reduced

  • On average, 1.5-2 liters of water are needed to produce 1kg of green fodder hydroponically, in comparison with up to 160 liters required to grow grass under field conditions.

Yield
 

  • The use of hydroponics accelerates fodder production by as much as 25%

  • Plants mature faster and more evenly under a hydroponic system than a conventional soil based system

  • One kg of un-sprouted seed yields 8-10 kg green forage in 7-8 days

Size

  • Hydroponic fodder containers can produce up to 1,000kg of barley or maize fodder within 7-8 days, in only 29m2

  • In conventional farming, one hectare of land would be required to achieve a similar yield


     

Nutrition

  • While dry matter content is slightly reduced depending on grain type, hydroponic fodder is richer in crude protein, fibre, ether extract, vitamins and minerals

  • Hydroponic fodder feeding has been proven to improve milk yield and composition of dairy cows through increased intake and digestibility of nutrients

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Left: Dairy cows feeding hydroponic fodder. Green fodder of barley, corn, as well as alfalfa and Rhodes grass are also suitable for horse, goats, and beef cattle.

Right: Hydroponic fodder farms are fairly inexpensive to set up and can grow large quantities of fodder in small spaces using vertical layers. 

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