Imagine... You can grow cheap fresh green feed in just 6 days.

hydroponic fodderUsing hydroponic fodder production technology it is possible to grow enough fodder for all the animals in the farm within 6 to 10 days, and realize a massive increase in milk production.

Compared to ordinary cattle feed, this method of pasture production require far less space and the pasture produced has superior nutritive value.  Small scale farmers have a lot to gain from this revolutionary technology as they can instantaneously transform into large scale producers on their small parcels of land.

Play the video below to see how hydroponic fodder technology works

A typical greenhouse containing trays stacked on shelves is used. The trays are put under controlled environmental conditions in a 6 – 10 day cycle. The content are fed as food and grain such as barley, oats, wheat, maize and others. Barley is the grain of choice due to its superior performance followed by oats. Grains develop roots and green shoots to form a dense mat. Carbon dioxide injection cuts the growing time to 4 days and increase production by25%. A 144m2 greenhouse can hold about 1800 trays and produce an average of 1200kg per day using only 800 to 1000 litres of water. This amount of fodder can be used to supplement 100 heads of cattle or 500 heads of sheep or goats per day. Low cost structures are now locally available at Agrotunnel International at a cost of Kshs120, 000.

Advantages and disadvantages of hydroponic technology 

Although hydroponic fodder production system has a history spanning over 50 years it is a relatively new fodder production technology in Kenya. It is essentially entails the germination of seeds in nutrient rich solutions instead of soil to produce a grass and root combination that is very high in nutrition. Economic and environmental reasons abound why the technology is preferable over the conventional methods of producing fodder. Among the reasons is that:-

  • It requires less water requirements to produce an equivalent amount of biomass. For example it takes 1 to 2 litres of water to produce one kilo of fodder compared to 80 – 90 litres to produce one kilo of green grass. This is a solution to the frequent droughts and the need for expensive irrigation systems.
  • It requires minimal land use compared to fodder grown on fields. Fodder grown on 9m x 6m plot can feed the same number of cattle that graze on 1200 acres of pastures in the field. 250 heads of sheep can be raised on a pen measuring 520m2 whereas in Kenyan standards 6 sheep would require on hectare. Obviously this means economic use of land which is fast becoming scarce.
  • It requires a small area. The lesser area required for fodder production would provide more area for food crops.
  • There is no need for expensive fodder storage facilities because farmers are guaranteed a constant supply of high quality fodder. Unlike hay and silage which loses their nutritive value over time, the quality of hydroponic fodder is always guaranteed. Farmers therefore know exactly the amount to feed and the amount of yield to expect. This makes planning very easy.
  • A very short growth time is required. Although an 8 day growing cycle is recommended, it takes as little as 7 days from germination time to a fully grown plant at a height of 25 – 30cm ready for harvest. For every Kg of seed, 7 – 10 kg of edible fodder is produced. To grow the same amount of fodder in the field will require a minimum of 12 weeks.
  • It requires less labor. As little as one hour per day is required to maintain and produce hydroponic fodder.
  • It is extremely cost effective and financially viable. Estimates have indicated a cost of about Kshs 4000 to produce a ton. This cost do not even compare with paddock grown fodder. Studies estimate the cost of fattening an animal using hydroponic fodder at 4 to 8 times less compared to using grain over a 90 – 120 day period. Chances of diseases associated with feeds are reduced by 60 – 75% because the fodder supply is disease free thus enhancing good agricultural practices.
  • The nutritive value is quite high. The protein content is high and is very rich in vitamins such as B-carotene, trace elements and enzymes. It is 90 – 95% digestible compared to grains which at best are 30%. The increase in digestibility results in an increase in the average daily weight gain which is a big advantage to beef and mutton producers. It has been found that a kilo of hydroponic fodder is nutritionally equivalent to 3 kg of lucerne.
  • Diets of hydroponic fodder also help improve milk production and quality. Tests have indicated vast improvement in milk quantity (up to 10%) and butter fat content (14% higher). Farmers have reported a stimulated appetite when animals are fed on the diet. Other studies have demonstrated increased fertility rates, increased egg laying and elimination of cannibalism in poultry.
  • The feed is completely natural. The fodder is produced without the use of any hormones, chemicals fertilizers or synthetic growth stimulants. There are no fungicides or pesticides used that could contaminate the meat or milk.

However, as in all greenhouses, the technology faces challenges brought about by bacteria and fungal growth. Rhizopus, the common bread mould which is present in all cereal grains and in the soils, attacks the grains. If left to flourish it can cause the growth of other unwanted bacteria and fungi that produce toxins dangerous to livestock. Sterilization of seeds to control this menace is therefore paramount.

Based on extensive research the result produced show that one mat of fresh sprouted barley adequately replaces 3kg of concentrates in the diet of dairy cows. The research also shows that there is no detrimental effect in productivity of dairy cows in terms of milk production and body weight.

Contacts

This technology is being promoted locally by Agrotunnels International Limited. For further details contact 0733520083 or 0722520083.

Conclusion

In conclusion, considering the perennial shortage of livestock feed experienced during the dry season, hydroponic fodder systems offers a technology that can achieve good performance with limited resources. 


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Comments   

 
Tytaw
-3 # Tytaw 2012-06-12 12:43
Hi. does this feed result in increased milk output in dairy cattle?
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admin
-3 # admin 2012-07-09 11:25
Milk output increases by up to 10%
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oliver
-1 # oliver 2012-12-10 14:53

we have books you can buy from us
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JulesNN
-1 # JulesNN 2012-07-09 05:53
Thanks for the information on this very new technology. Ate least here in Kenya. Two questions: 1. What planting material or seed can be used? 2. Can one use manure or feed residue?
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admin
+2 # admin 2012-07-09 11:31
Barley is the grain of choice, but maize, wheat, oat and other cereal grains can be used.
A specially prepared nutrient rich solution is used instead of soils and manure.
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Murtadha
0 # Murtadha 2015-03-09 15:37
Hi,
Can this system work in the coat
Since temperatures are high and very humid
Thanx Murtadha
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Mwenda
+1 # Mwenda 2012-07-09 17:41
the carpet-like root structure support, what is it and is it edible to cows
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admin
0 # admin 2012-07-09 18:12
The whole thing is edible. Play the video to see how it works.
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JulesNN
0 # JulesNN 2012-07-16 16:32
1. You promote this hydroponic fodder innovation as a supplement. This means that is it an addition to what the farmer is already feeding in bulk. In that case, what is the nutritional value (starting with the fact that it is fed fresh and green, hence about 20 - 30%DM in its ‘as-fed’ status; like fresh Napier grass)?
2. That makes it appear like forage to be fed in bulk; not as a supplement. It promises much but will not be easy to feeds as supplement. If it is high protein (which you have not said) it is like feeding a cow fresh Lucerne (Alfalfa) fresh in bulk.
4. What is the cost of production (considering you have to buy the barley seed and planting cake bed) vs the bulk quantities to be produced and fed to serve the dietary requirements of the dairy cow?
5. And many more questions. Maybe I should just call and we chat?
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shambaboi
0 # shambaboi 2012-07-17 20:16
JulesNN, the fodder is not a supplement per se. It is a high quality fodder which can be fed the way you would normally feed other fodder but this time without the need to supplement. In case you feed ordinary fodder and would like to supplement, then one mat can replace 3Kg of concentrates as in dairy meal.

In terms of protein, a kilo of this fodder is nutritionally equivalent to 3kg of lucerne. But it does not mean that the fodder is all protein. It contains other nutrients equally in very high amounts so that a small portion of it replaces a huge bulk of ordinary fodder.

Inputs for the growing of the fodder is just the cereals like barley and the nutrient solution. This mix is placed in trays under a controlled environment. Such a set up is costing Ksh 120,000 from the promoters. Other costs are labor. No chemicals required if the seeds are sterilized.

For further details call the numbers given in the article.

If you need further reading, I'll be glad to provide.
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Capt. Mbuto
-1 # Capt. Mbuto 2012-08-07 01:16
Call me via 0722812067/0202692002/07127870 76/0773734534. I need more information about buying the unit, the training offered and available guarantees.
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Capt. Mbuto
-1 # Capt. Mbuto 2012-08-07 01:19
Kindly call me on 0722812067 to discuss how we can make a purchase and terms.
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JOSEPH MAINA
+1 # JOSEPH MAINA 2012-08-07 19:33
This is very interesting.i definitely need to contact you for more information.
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Wacairo
+1 # Wacairo 2012-08-30 17:04
I would definitely like to use this technology. I have a small scale zero- grazing unit of 10 cows. Can this work for me? Where can one see a demonstration asap. My No. 0722719688.

Thanks
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dvdndegwa
0 # dvdndegwa 2012-09-26 16:35
Hi.This is a brilliant technology.
I had some few concerns and questions about the feed.
a. Is the feed prone to afratoxin poisoning?
b.For the dairy goats,cant the feed cause bloat now that it is fed while green/fresh.
c. Can one dry the feed to give the animals at a later date without affecting the quality?
d. Is seed sterilization a 100% guarantee to control bacterial and fungi in the feed.

Kindly address those concerns as i am contemplating on adopting the technology.
Thank you.

Thank you.
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admin
0 # admin 2012-09-26 22:17
dvdndegwa,
a) Yes it is prone to aflatoxin poisoning if the seeds are infected by fungal growth. But this should not arise if the seeds are clean.
b) It can't cause bloat to goats or any ruminant.
c) The feed cannot be dried, it must be fed fresh else it loses it nutritive value
d) Seed sterilization is the single most important step in controlling bacteria and fungi.
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Shivayogi B G
0 # Shivayogi B G 2012-10-15 13:01
Dear Sir,

I am From Karnataka,India. In our area the usuall temeperature
is around 35-40 during summer. Still can I be able to Grow Hydrphonic
Green Forage in Green House using Corn grains?

Regards,

Shivayogi
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suneel
0 # suneel 2013-04-08 20:01
Hi Shivayogi,
Yes you can, for more details..
Call me on 08861926926 or mail
Thanx
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swaleh
-2 # swaleh 2012-12-05 15:38
i want to buy the hydropo fodder please call me on 0723909120 to discuss further your phone in the article are not working
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oliver
-1 # oliver 2012-12-10 14:56
we have developed some grow in six days fodder manuals for fameers
we have a demo at jamuhuri show ground sigma stand
call us we assist
254722520083 254733520083
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georgeocholla
0 # georgeocholla 2013-12-08 22:01
Oliver, did you become honest in your dealings or you are still the same old connish fellow?
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oliver
0 # oliver 2012-12-10 15:02
Research has shown that this product has the following advantages to
poultry without any known side effects:

- Better visual appearance in the chickens with eggs becoming more
golden-yellow as pigmentation increases
- Better taste
- Increase in immune system and health of the chicken as antibodies
respond more
- Decrease in mortality by at least 2% (industry average 4.8% commercial
with antibiotic growth promotors to 20% for Organic)
- Increase in growth rate and weight by at least 3%
- Increase in fertility and reproductivity
- Spirulina is in the top three animal feed products in terms of
carotenoid content. The other two, Marigold and Paprika are much more
expensive


Please note that we supply two grades of Biobiotic:

Biobiotic 400 - Particle size 50 - 400 micron for blending with feed.
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Michael N.
0 # Michael N. 2013-01-05 05:21
This a brilliant project,
Have few questions please:
1). How much is of the barley mat does a mature cow of about 450 Kgs require to be fed per day? Considering the feeding amout of 70kg per cow per day as required.

2). Where can I purchase barley seed what what is the cost of 1 bag of about 50kg?
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Fodder Solutions Kenya
-1 # Fodder Solutions Kenya 2013-02-20 09:11
The video shown above is a fodder solutions video, and demonstrates how the patented fodder solutions system operates. For more information on fodder solutions in Kenya please visit our website: www.foddersolutionskenya.com or our facebook page: facebook.com/.../....
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agrtunnel kenya
0 # agrtunnel kenya 2013-02-20 13:49
we organising seminar with kari and minstry of live stock
if you are interested to attend sms ur email to 0733520083
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mkulima1
0 # mkulima1 2013-03-10 15:33
I am a dairy farmer in mbooni- Makueni and would realy want to buy this agrotunnels.Where can i get them nearby? Where can i get the barley seeds.Thanks
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Charles Murungi
+1 # Charles Murungi 2013-07-11 23:31
This company is a fraud (Agrotunnel International Limited) . Bought a hydroponics greenhouse from them and it doesn’t work. Once they have got your money your calls either go unanswered or they are full of excuses but no action. As of today almost six months down the line, they have not delivered the racks I had ordered and paid for. They are totally clueless when it comes to hydroponics technology. I would urge anyone thinking of dealing with this company to proceed with caution
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swaleh chege
+1 # swaleh chege 2013-07-12 08:39
i real conquer with charles murungi this company (agrotunnel international) are real fraudsters i contracted them for the hydroponic greenhouse they only constructed but setting the racks and running it ther flee i had to do the racks and trays by myself and now working fully for the last 7 months thanks i had the technology incase one requires s/he can contact me on 0723909120 and possobily visit my site i can aid on the set up but caution dealing with the above company as guided by charles i too am victim as charles and let the company deal only with greenhouse for tomatoes but not with the hydroponic tench as in deed there are clueless
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serah
0 # serah 2013-07-31 17:34
Am so intrested and i would like to start it how and i get help am in mombasa - mariakani. i saw it on Tv and its real a good idea and more advantages.
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fodder corporation
0 # fodder corporation 2013-08-01 08:43
Real Business Concepts are organizing a 2 Day HYDROPONICS FODDER TRAINING TRIP to Uganda from 9TH - 11TH AUGUST 2013.

The Trip is aimed at enabling farmers grow animal feeds Hydroponically using the latest technology.

Hydroponic Fodder is essentially the germination of a seed (such as malt barley or oats) and sprouted into a high quality, highly nutritious, disease free animal food. This proces.

Contact Paul Tel: 0726747529
Email:
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serah
0 # serah 2013-08-10 18:40
Hello!! can someone help me with how to start this hydroponic feed for my chicken. any conduct i am in mombasa. please please
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kenn
-1 # kenn 2013-08-11 14:14
hi serah,i experimented on a small scale and it works! I though in nbi.I can assist you though in nbi.you can call me on 0722492260.thanks
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Paul-Mwangi
0 # Paul-Mwangi 2013-08-14 18:16
"For every 1kg of seed you get 7-10kg of edible fodder". That statement is misleading since the dry matter of the seeds is around 80-90% while the dry matter of the fodder is 15-20%
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Ivan Kakinda
0 # Ivan Kakinda 2013-09-13 13:37
Hello team,

Thanks for the publicity. I``m located in Uganda , but wondring if Agrotunnel int. has any branches here. Secondly, what is the name of the nutrient solution used. Can one make it locally, if so what ingredients are required? Finally, can i use rice to cultivate the fodder?

Thanks.
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georgeocholla
+1 # georgeocholla 2013-12-08 22:00
Ivan, do not deal with Agrotunnel, the guy and his wife are conmen, they conned me. Be warned
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george Nakalanda
0 # george Nakalanda 2014-12-09 11:48
#georgeocholla, what happened? my email
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Terry
0 # Terry 2013-12-03 10:10
The Dry Matter (DM) of sprouted fodder is about 90% of the weight of the ORIGINAL grain.

Therefore you need to feed a LOT of sprouted fodder if you are aiming to feed your cow 3% of its body weight in DM.

Sprouts are good, but they will not replace your current feeding system.
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georgeocholla
0 # georgeocholla 2013-12-08 21:58
Oliver who runs the Agrotunnel outfit is a conman. He doesn't do honest business, I'll warn anybody interested in doing business with him to be very careful.
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JEREMY
0 # JEREMY 2013-12-14 09:56
The theory part is o.k
THIS GUYS;HYDROPONICSKENYA.KBO.CO.K E MADE A SYSTEM FOR MY THREE COWS FOR JUST 25000/
THEY JUST CAME WITH TRAYS AND I PROVIDED THE TIMBER.
THE CHALLENGES I GOT I THE SYSTEM NEED WATERING THRICE IN A DAY,RATS AND BIRDS REALLY FEED ON IT,AND THE COWS WONT EVEN SMELL IT FOR THE FIRST TWO DAYS BUT AFTER THAT THEY WOULD PREFER FODDER TO DAILY MEAL.
MILK PRODUCTION IS UP BY 8% AND THE MILK IS THICK,COST OF FEED IS DOWN BY AROUND 20%.
THE GREATEST ADVANTAGE IS IF YOU STOP FEEDING THIS FODDER,MILK OUTPUT IS CUT BY ALMOST HALF AND YOU IT CAN TAKE YOU THREE DAYS TO BE WHERE YOU WERE.YOU MUST ALWAYS HAVE THE STOCK OF SEED IN YOUR STORE WHICH TO ME IS A CHALLENGE AND THIS GUYS SAY YOU MUST PAY FOR YOUR SEEDS 3 DAYS BEFORE DELIVERY.
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mukalazi fred
+1 # mukalazi fred 2014-01-19 21:01
am in uganda and interested in this technology.0772627079
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musyoka
0 # musyoka 2014-02-22 15:04
Great article.where can i get barley seeds and at what price in kenya?
@Jeremy,where are u located?pls answer this quiz wen u can.thanks.
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Njanja
0 # Njanja 2014-09-19 14:14
I have a ready supply of factory packed, certified and hygienic barley seed for this purpose. Germination rate is over 90%. Kindly call 0727047000.
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musyoka
0 # musyoka 2014-02-22 15:09
Nice great article.just asking,where do we get the barley seeds and at what price?
@Jeremy,where ru located and where do u get the batleyseeds?pls help.
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Anthony Mushozi
0 # Anthony Mushozi 2014-11-18 17:19
I am in Uganda interested in the Technology, Call +256 0782 790 422
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jane
0 # jane 2015-06-09 15:36
I reside in Kiambu and Interested in this type of farming to feed cows.pigs and chicken. When can you visit me.
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lvy
+1 # lvy 2015-06-13 18:36
Sir,I want to know using rice seeds for hydroponic fodder could be possible for feeding a cow?
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lvy
0 # lvy 2015-06-13 18:37
Sir,I want to know using rice seeds for hydroponic fodders could be possible and feeding to cows?
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philistine
+1 # philistine 2015-08-03 10:42
hi ..its philistine..could you inform on mould control which is a serious threat to the system
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lizzy
0 # lizzy 2016-05-12 10:58
what most people use to control moulds in feeds its called toxin binder or mycotoxin.
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caroline
0 # caroline 2015-11-24 14:47
can these sprouts be preserved for later feeding?
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philistine
0 # philistine 2015-11-26 17:31
where can i find sprout barley seeds am in kisumu but will be in eldoret tomorrow
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-1 # cheap indian dresses online 2015-11-30 23:29
Director, Public Coverage @ CCIA Brussels.
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