Zero Budget Hydroponic Fodder

There are many people selling hydroponic fodder for cattle targeting the newbie “buddingfarmers”, by trying to sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo. They keep selling us stuff we do not need at a very high initial cost and also very high monthly cost. The cost of the usual 500kg hydroponic fodder system peddled in the market is above 10 lakh to 15 lakh. On top of this we have to bear electricity price for the interior Airconditioning system that will keep the thing cool during day time. This cooling increases your electricity bill on normal days and higher still during summer. Then you have to pay for periodic maintenance, repairs etc.

They also try to sell you chemicals to clean the seeds and also nutrients for you to spray via the fogging system. In the name of Diary Farming they are trying to rob your shirt and your pants away from you.

The truth is plants need heat and humidity to grow and India has lots of it. We might hate the heat and humidity but the plants just love it. We like the temperature to be around 25 degrees thats why we keep air-conditioners on. But plants only enjoy it above 25 degrees upto 40 degrees. Actually above 35degrees they need proper and periodic water replenishment or the plants could die.

The truth is Hydroponic Fodder system people are straight away trying to fool you…PLEASE DONT FALL FOR IT!!! You dont even need to spend a penny other than on:

  1. Trays (No. of trays will depend upon the number of days you will keep it growing - anything from 7 to 10 days)
  2. Option of Bamboo Racks if you need a vertical system. (for initial 3 days the trays can even be kept one on top of the other as plants grow without need for sun.)
  3. Seed. (1 KG in each tray will give you 7Kg plus of fodder).
  4. Sunshade (any low cost transparent plastic sheet that will protect the plant from direct sunlight.
  5. Net to keep away the birds.

Maize are the best to grow as they grow quite tall in 10 days and from 1 kg you can get 10 kg in 10 days!!!

For one cow you will need 10 sqft of space and for 10 cows 100 sqft and for 50 cows around 300-500 sqft.

While construction the racks the 1-to-3-day trays could be piled one on top of the other in the bottom and centre of the racks where there is low sunshine and the 4th day onwards ones can be slowly move them outer racks where they can get sunshine and light breeze. One do not need completely enclose the shed and make it dark as after the 3rd day the plants are thirsting for sunlight.

Initially you can grow it indoors but after the 3rd day you will need to move the trays in the sun or under sunshade.

1.No nutrients, chemicals or pesticide need to be added or sprayed.
2. If you do it outdoors you will not need electric LED lights.
3. Consumables are only water & seeds - are needed or consumed.
4.Watering - initially you can water these manually every 2 or 3 hours. The roots should not dry out. If they are drying fast then evaporation rate has to be brought down by increasing the shade.

I have tried this on small scale and it was a success… see the pics below.

Grass fed cows are the best and in great demand… as their health is better and milk is also better. Try to avoid seedcakes as it tends to increase the body heat of the cattle for which cooling down is required especially in Jersey & Cross-breed animals.

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In India:

In Kenya:

Please do not go for hydroponic fodder at all unless you are living in dessert region. The dry matter in it is very low. The 1 kg grain becomes 800 gm dry matter (in the 10 kg grass you get there is 95% water). Hence there is no nutritive value in it. It is better to grow corn in soil for 4 months to get 25-30 ton real nutritive grass and make silage for summer.