As we know, forage is one of the major components of livestock farming and the management of fodder is a key factor in the profitability and success of a farm. Forage plays a major role in feeding dairy animals and providing essential nutrients for milk production and animal health. Commercial farmers should have enough land (and water) to grow green forage crops such as herbs and legumes. But often it is not. When we grow forage crops in a field, this crop takes time, space and inputs. The earth must also be able to provide a good quality herb, which is not always the case. This requires thinking about a different system to provide livestock with good quality forage throughout the year regardless of climatic conditions or land availability. The hydroponic foraging system will significantly reduce the cost of forage while providing nutritious forage throughout the year.
What is hydroponic green fodder?
It is a system in which plants are grown in a nutrient solution instead of being grown in the soil. In this system the plants need water, sun and nutrients. This is quite possible by providing the plants with all the necessary ingredients in a controlled environment like small greenhouse. You can easily build this system with your own hands or buy it. With this method, rice, wheat, barley, corn… can be successfully cultivated. Animals eat the whole plant: roots, stems and leaves.
Advantages of the hydroponic system
- Water saving for fodder production: It takes 2 to 3 litres of water in hydroponics for one kilo of fodder against 60 to 75 litres in traditional culture.
- Economy of land: a hydroponic greenhouse can be installed on marginal lands. A surface of 10mx5m can produce up to 500 kilos of green fodder per day. It would take a hectare to produce the same amount in conventional culture.
- Working economy: A surface of 10mx5m requires between 2 and 3 hours of work. You would need a day’s work to harvest your forage in a field.
- Reduced growth time: It takes only 7 days to move from seed to a 30 cm plant. The conversion rate of biomass can reach 8 or 9 times that of traditional forage grown for 60 or 70 days.
- Crop year-round depending on demand.
This system does not use any treatment and guarantees milk free from contamination.
|Type de nutriments||Fourrage vert conventionnel maïs||Fourrage vert hydroponique maïs|