Thursday, March 16, 2017
Revamping the dairy sector with hydroponic fodder.
The increase in cost of feed for dairy farmers has prompted the need to look for feed alternatives without reducing quality of products. Hydroponic fodder is a suitable means of revamping the dairy sector. The high cost of feed coupled with drought conditions and scarcity of these high feed prices is creating havoc for many dairy farmers,prompting some producers to find an innovative and cost-effective solution with sprout fodder. The green fodder is very high in protein and metabolisable energy hence it is highly digestible. Green fodder is an important component of the dairy ration, as the productive and reproductive performance of the dairy animals is adversely affected,thus for sustainable dairy farming, quality green fodder should be fed regularly to the dairy animals. The provision of fresh fodder can be readily available throughout the year irrespective of weather,land crisis or water shortage. The advantages of using hydroponic fodder in dairy farming are as follows; 1) Cheap fresh fodder. 2) low labor cost. 3) increase in milk yield. 4) increase in body weight. 5)increase in butterfat in milk. 6) increases survival rate of calf. 7) improved herd health .8)improved hoof health. 9)low incidence of mastitis. 10) glossy coat . Hydroponic fodder mimics the benefits of fresh pasture and is a better feed option for grazing animals. Ruminants are able to digest fodder sprouts easier as its more digestible than grain, thus improving feed efficiency, milk and meat production. The hydroponic system can use various seeds such as corn, millet,sorghum,oats,wheat e.t.c. ,but the benefits of using corn for dairy far out-ways other seeds.The corn fodder is rich naturally high in fiber, these sprouts are an excellent feed for ruminants. The corn sprouts have high energy levels, low starch content and have a low acid content and this reduces the occurrence of acidosis. Feeding sprouted grain fodder will result in higher milk yields and better quality beef. Dairy farmers incorporating hydroponic fodder have cut cost of production while increasing productivity of cows and milk production as farmers record an increase of 2 litres of milk/cow. The corn seeds requires about 1.5 litres of water to produce 1kg of fodder, with no pesticides,no contamination and no waste.