- HYDROPONIC SYSTEM
- HYDROPONIC FODDER
- MATERIALS NEEDED FOR HYDROPONICS FODDER ESTABLISHMENT
- BENEFITS OF HYDROPONICS TO BOTH RUMINANTS AND MONOGASTRIC ANIMALS
HYDROPONICS is the cultivation of plant in nutrient solution without the use of soil. This idea of hydroponics was first experimented in 1930s as an outgrowth of the culture techniques used by plant physiologists in plant nutrition experiments and ever since the success of it, a livestock farmer in a popular advance country have been able to reason effectively to adopt it, during the time of drought, hardship season for the growth of plants to avail food for the growth, development and maintenance of livestocks.
Hydroponic has been a system that has been discovered since 1930 has I have inscribed earlier, but using it as a method of raising fodder for animals is a new introduction among livestock farmers. The idea of using hydroponics as an alternative option to most conventional feed concentrates, silage and hay must have been as a result of some factors such as
- Low nutritional quality of some animal feed.
- High cost of feed
- Unavailability of some particular ingredients to use for the formulation of high quality animal feed during a specific time.
- Low palatability of some animal feed e.g Hay
- Elimination of pasture as a source of food to livestock during the dry season and cost of irrigation to ensure the maintenance of great supply of water to avail pastoral grasses for livestock in the dry season when availability of water is always a problem and magnificent treat to livestock farmers etc.
Hydroponic fodder system is a growing platform that has been intentionally developed to sprout grains (barley, sorghum, maize as the best) or legume seeds (clovers, soybeans, sunflower seeds etc.) to produce highly nutritious fodder with the use of materials that are affordable such as
- Seeds (cereals: sorghum, maize and wheat; legume: Soybeans, sunflower seed and cotton seed).
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- Chlorine containing solution (e.g. Hypo), just to disinfect seeds from dangerous microorganism that might impair the process of growing hydroponic fodder.
- Water to wash and separate good seeds from the bad ones that floats after water have been supplied into the seeds to wash in preparation for hydroponics fodder establishment
- Support: such as materials (plastics, polythene nylons, ceramics, tarpaulin, photochemically treated tray etc.) to use to support the growth of hydroponic fodder instead of soil that is commonly used in normal cultivation of crops.
- Platform: The place (Basement, garage, green house, kitchen, just any place you prefer, it will grow) where you need to place the prepared hydroponics fodder seeds (cereals: wheat, sorghum, maize, wheat or legume: soybeans, cotton seeds, sunflower seed) till the time it gets mature for harvest.
NOTE: Hydroponics fodder gets ready for animal utilization within the period of 8 days after planting.
STEPS TO GROW HYDROPONICS FODDER
- Selection of seeds
- Select the seed you will like to use for your hydroponics fodder among cereals and legumes. In the video above we will be using sorghum because it provides the best result, based on my experiences with the use of it.
- Washing of seeds
- After you have selected your preferred seed for the hydroponics process the next step is to wash your seeds with water to free them from sand, stones, dirt and other unwanted material that may impair your process of growing hydroponic fodder.
- Disinfection of seeds
- Immediately after your seeds have been washed the next step is to disinfect your seeds from microorganisms (bacteria and fungi) that might disturb the hydroponics system. This can be achieved by adding small quantity of chlorine or any chlorine containing solution (Hypo or JIK) to the seeds with water and stir for some minutes to achieve the process of seed disinfection and later you separate the seeds from the highly diluted chlorine solution.
- Rewashing of seeds to separate it from the chlorine containing solution totally.
- Arrangement of plates, plastics, polythene nylons, ceramics, aluminum trays etc. depending on the quantity of your planned seeds for the system.
- Get affordable materials (plates, plastics, polythene nylons, ceramics, aluminum trays etc.) wash thoroughly and arrange your seeds on them until they are evenly distributed on the surface
- Wetting of the seeds after it has been evenly distributed on the surface your available materials.
- Get a conducive place to place your wet and evenly distributed seed containing materials for proper growth of your hydroponic fodder.
- Wet the seed every morning until the 8 day when the fodder is ready for harvest.