Growing Fodder

Growing Fodder Growing Fodder Fodder

This winter we’re experimenting with growing fodder which is sprouted barley seed. Throughout the winter we're feeding it to a select group of sheep, pigs, and chickens. This green feed, that’s high in protein, is fed with hay and minerals.  The recommended method of growing fodder is to soak the seed in water with bleach added. The seed is soaked for twenty four hours to inhibit mold growth. Thereafter chemical fertilizer is added to the water. To avoid chemicals and bleach we’re using Apple Cider Vinegar to changes the PH level and arrest mold growth. We're also experimenting with a mild solution of hydrogen peroxide and comparing the results. As an alternative to the chemical fertilizers we're recirculating the nutrient rich barley water and adding more Apple Cider Vinegar. This is still in the experimental stage but So far, we’re producing and feeding about twenty pounds of fodder each day. The pigs love it, the sheep aren’t quite sure if they like it yet (I think it has to do with the odor of fermentation) and the chickens go crazy for it.

The issue with growing fodder is the energy that's used to produce it. In the mid-west the winters don't support growing fodder without a heat source. The energy use might doesn't justify production. In a drought year it might be a viable alternative, though.

 

Growing Fodder

8 thoughts on “Growing Fodder

  1. sharon

    I was wondering how the ACV versus peroxide was working? Bleach is so nasty. We are sprouting fodder for our rabbits and had a mold issue last week (not using anything with soak) so I am looking for an alternative. Thanks for posting, not much info out there on this issue for an alternative.

    Reply
    1. glenda

      The ACV worked better than the peroxide but neither was ideal. Our solution; running a fan, at low speed, over the trays of fodder seed. Increasing the air flow was the best solution for us. The seed dried our faster, you'll need to water more frequently but the mold growth was minimal.

      Reply
    1. glenda

      Hi Allie,

      I think I have the solution to the mold problem with fodder. This next few batches will tell. I don't want to post the info until I know the results. I'll let you know if my experiment is successful and the mold is eradicated.

      Reply
  2. Sharon

    I'm looking forward to your results too. We are rinsing/watering with fresh water. No recycling. Not even once but it is still flowing down through trays. It's getting better with less mold/brown spots on the roots. We also changed brands of wheat (can't get barley around here in SC)

    Reply
    1. glenda

      HI Scott,

      I found a letter to the editor in Acres USA magazine about using baking powder to inhibit mildew on vegetables. I tried using the baking powder on the barley seed and it worked pretty well. The issue I have with fodder, besides the mold, is that it takes too much energy to grow the fodder in our area. We can graze from mid-April thru December first (in a typical year). The optimal time for us to grow fodder would be during the winter. Iowa winters are harsh, we would have to heat a large area, run lights, circulate water, buy organic barley seed, and the fodder systems itself was pretty expensive. When we put pencil to paper it didn't cash flow. The small system we made for the experiment worked fine for what it was, but even making our own system wasn't cost efficient to run through the winter. Also, the sheep didn't like the fodder, I think it was the odor. The chickens liked it, the pigs prefer alfalfa hay over fodder, yes pigs like hay.

      Reply

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