Growing animal feed, also known as fodder, is a great way to cut down on the cost of feeding animals like cattle, goats, sheep, horses, and chickens. While you may not be able to grow everything your animals need, you can at least grow part of it. When it comes to smaller animals like chickens and rabbits you might be able to grow everything they need.
With the ever increasing demand for food animals, there are just not enough open pastures available to raise them on and farmers in increasing numbers are turning to raising animals like cattle indoors. The government is offering substantial subsidies to farmers who are growing animal feed, particularly corn and soy beans. When cattle are fed protein grains they are able to reach market weight faster and that shortens the cycle from birth to the dinner table and puts money in farmer’s pockets in a shorter time.
When it comes to growing animal feed there are a number of different things to choose from. Here are a few choices available:
For years people have grown vegetables hydroponically and had great success. Now some farmers in the US and Australia are growing fodder (animal feed) hydroponically. Grain that is sprouted this way is suitable for cattle, sheep, horses, goats, chickens, and lamas. You can grow your own feed this way year round, regardless of the weather, for as little as 11 cents per kg. Growing animal fodder hydroponically is the perfect solution for farmers who have limited space, drought, and shortening growing seasons.
They say necessity is the mother of invention and it is no different when it comes to growing animal feed. When land isn’t an issue and there’s plenty of money and water to go around people don’t think about alternative ways to feed their livestock. Every time there is a drought though, farmers begin thinking about different ways to grow feed. Growing hydroponically is the perfect solution for drought as well.
With hydroponics, plants are grown in a very small amount of water in a greenhouse. Feed grown in greenhouses is far more nutritious. After 7 to 10 days a young plant is ready for feeding and is more nutritious due to its age. The same plants in the pasture are much older and therefore not as good for the animals. With hydroponics, the grass is always fed when it’s at its nutritional prime.