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LesandLily 03-04-2013 01:13 PM

Hydroponic Fodder...Any Experience?
 
Being in a drought ridden area and being slave to up and down prices of hay...we have been looking into the feasibility of hydroponic fodder. Kind of like this commercially available system...Fodder Solution; The Revolution in Feeding fodder | farm animal livestock feed solutions | foddersolutions | fodder | cattle feed | horse feed | goat and sheep feed | livestock feed | drought

We have a friend that turned us onto it and she is feeding her 8 horses out of a system she built in her basement bathroom. The cost is roughly about 1 -2 cents (yes cents) per pound of fodder with very little waste. You are feeding a living, growing feed which is better and more nutritious than dried hay and seems pretty workable from a workload perspective. People feeding it are having good luck with lower incidents of founder, colic and pregnancy issues etc. You can grow, alfalfa, oats, wheat, sunflowers, barley and many more or even a mixture. I find it very intriguing and would love to hear if anyone else has any experience. It may just be the answer to feeding our animals in drought ridden parts of the country.

Cheers!
Les

deserthorsewoman 03-04-2013 01:22 PM

I see ads on CL all the time. Sounds good.
But I read on another forum it is very expensive, and somebody lost several horses, they had eaten the seeds.
I can imagine that it works nicely, seeing how fast my oat/3way hay spills germinate;-)

You know how much the system goes for, per horse to feed?

LesandLily 03-04-2013 01:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by deserthorsewoman (Post 1922133)
I see ads on CL all the time. Sounds good.
But I read on another forum it is very expensive, and somebody lost several horses, they had eaten the seeds.
I can imagine that it works nicely, seeing how fast my oat/3way hay spills germinate;-)

You know how much the system goes for, per horse to feed?

There is a system called Fodder Pro that produces about 250 lbs of fodder per day and it retails for around $4,000. That is everything you need other than some sort of temperature controlled room to keep it in. You could use a garage, barn area etc. with some kind of a heat / cooling source. The temperature needs to remain between 55 and 75 degrees. Their website has a cost analysis breakdown on what it costs per horse etc. Once the system is paid for the only cost is seed and water and supplement hay which they say is recommended to be a lower cost grass hay for roughage only. Some people are even feeding straw but I think I would stick with hay. Wheat grass seed here is $15 for a 50 lb. bag and results in a 1:8 or 1:10 ratio meaning you get ten lbs of forage for every one pound of seed.

We are going to build our own small system and someone pretty handy could build their own commercial sized system for a few hundred dollars but you also loose the tech support and problem solving of the company. The people online I have read and communicated with are seeing about a 50 -75 % drop in their overall feed costs depending on how much they are feeding and what kind of seed. That also depends on if they built their own system or bough one commercially. Oats and wheat seem to be the most popular for horses but barley seems to be a close third.

Curious if anyone has any first hand knowledge.

Cheers!
Les

PaintHorseMares 03-04-2013 02:00 PM

If I read this right, though, this is to replace hard feed, not hay/forage....am I reading wrong? fodder | feed solutions | foddersolutions | horse feed | drought | hobby farm commercial farm

LesandLily 03-04-2013 02:08 PM

No this is to replace most of the hay...only supplement what they need for roughage. Our friend who is feeding it says her hay has gone down to about 1/4 of what she was feeding prior as there is some fiber in the forage. It is not intended to be a replacement for grain...although it does and grain should not be needed. At least according to what I have read. It sounds very intriguing...

Cheers!
Les

deserthorsewoman 03-04-2013 02:23 PM

Thanks:-)
I read the sales brochure, for my 3 horses I would have to get the 8000$ model.
The system I see advertised speaks about completely replacing hay. I'll have to find and post it. It seemed different, doesn't have the "container", just the shelf system.
I'll post when I find it.

LesandLily 03-04-2013 02:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by deserthorsewoman (Post 1922233)
Thanks:-)
I read the sales brochure, for my 3 horses I would have to get the 8000$ model.
The system I see advertised speaks about completely replacing hay. I'll have to find and post it. It seemed different, doesn't have the "container", just the shelf system.
I'll post when I find it.

I haven't delved too far into the commercial systems as we intend to build our own. Our friend is nearly entirely feeding her horses (with a hay supplement) out of what she is growing out of her basement...she produces just over 100 pounds per day. 10 trays about 10 pounds per tray. For the small producer I think that is the way to go...if you have the space and time.

Cheers!
Les

deserthorsewoman 03-04-2013 04:31 PM

Would be interesting to know what can be grown apart from grain forage. Im concerned about the NSC content and IR horses. I wonder if anybody had the forage tested for NSC yet. Or if Teff grass or other warm season grasses would work.
Life was soooo easy when pastures were natural, IR not yet known and hay prices bearable......

LesandLily 03-04-2013 04:45 PM

What is NSC and IR horses? Not familiar with those acronyms.

Cacowgirl 03-04-2013 04:47 PM

IR, I belive is insulin resistant. I don't know NSC, either.


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