• Does Hydroponic Forage Production Make Sense?

    There are some things that are attractive at first look, but fall apart upon analysis. Maybe like that fancy car you bought which needed major work 3 weeks after you drove it off the lot. Hydroponic fodder systems may fall into that category. There are a number of systems available on the web promoting this concept (try Googling ‘hydroponic fodder’ or ‘hydroponic grass’ on the web – there are plenty of sites). Looks good? Who could think of a better forage for your animal than luscious sprouted leafy grain—just like the alfalfa sprouts on your sandwich! You can see videos on the web which show cattle and horses gobbling up sprouted grain like a vegetarian at a salad bar. But things are not always as they seem! Let’s see if this concept makes sense. more »
  • From Seed to Feed in 8 Days: Barley Fodder Sprouting Trials

    This Spring we are exploring an alternative to how we are feeding our herd (and chickens too!) The idea comes from the notion of fresh sprouts as a “superfood”; if eating sprouts are super healthy for humans, then wouldn’t that also be true for animals? As we are finding out, it sure is! more »
  • Productivity and Nutritive Value of Barley Green Fodder Yield in Hydroponic System

    Barley grain was sprouted in a still hydroponic growing chamber for 6, 7 and 8 day periods and sampled for chemical analyses, protein fractions,in vitro digestion and metabolisable energy (ME) determination. Productivity measured on the basis of the input-output balance of barley grain and GF yield. Results showed that CP, Ash, EE, NDF, ADF and water soluble carbohydrate (WSC) were increased whereas OM and non fiber carbohydrate (NFC) decreased (p < 0.05) in the GF when compared with the original grain. As the growing period extended from day 6 to day 8, the CP, Ash, EE, NDF and ADF were increased but NFC and WSC reduced (p < 0.05). The non protein nitrogen was increased but true protein decreased (p < 0.05) in GF in comparison to barley grain, however no differences was shown among the growing periods for protein fractions. The potential (b) and rate (c) of in vitro gas production shown a decreasing trend (p < 0.05) by sprouting the barley grain up to 8 days. The amount of OM and ME of GF, obtained per kg of cultivated barley grain, were lower than those of the original grain. more »
  • Hydroponic Fodder Systems for Dairy Cattle?

    There is renewed interest in hydroponic fodder systems for dairy, livestock or poultry operations. The thought of putting one pound of seed into a hydroponic system producing 10 times its weight in fodder is appealing. However, the actual dry matter weight of the original grain to the fodder produced may or may not increase. Research reviews are very inconsistent in any dry matter production or animal performance benefits. The aim of this analysis is to assist producers weigh the high production costs of hydroponic fodder systems relative to any real or perceived nutritional benefits gained from feeding hydroponic fodder. more »
  • What is Population Genetics?

    But breeding is not about improving an individual animal per se — once it has been born you can’t refine it further by tinkering with its genome. Breeding is really about improving populations of animals, such that those individuals that are born are collective improvements on their ancestors. Those individuals, collectively, then provide the genetic base that will improve their descendants, and so on. more »