Growing hydroponic fodder for dairy goats on a limited acreage farm
This year we did not make much progress until September. We have accomplished quite a bit so far. We got the previous system going and then decided to go with a different type of system which will produce more fodder and also will recycle the used water. We also upgraded the heater. The end result is that we were still able to grow fodder with below zero temperatures outside.
- Fodder system water tanks and layout after changes to design
- Fodder system trays and layout after recent changes to design
- November 14, 2015 Workshop Announcement
- Fodder growing in trays, March 2015
- PDF version of slideshow
- Our fodder growing in March, 2015
- Linda DuShane 2013 SARE grant proposal.pdf
This year we would like to expand the system, possibly have another separate system completed. Also in the winter, mold on the fodder isn't a problem but in warmer temperatures it is a constant battle. Our goal is to get that under control so it isn't an ongoing problem. We also would like to use the runoff fodder water as drinking water for the goats. It provides more nutrients and they tend to produce more milk.
We also want to report on more metrics, such as temperature, humidity, and ratio of pounds seeds to pounds of fodder. Along with this would be workshops and more complete information about the project on our website.
- New type of tray – wider than others in use – April 2015
- New type of wider tray being set up in extra space in trailer – April 2015
- Terry explaining some aspects of the fodder system – Part 1
- Terry talking about the fodder system – Part 2
We are growing fodder in below zero temperatures, which was not able to be done in the past. The fodder we are growing has sunflower in it which had never thrived in the past. We have also added soy to the fodder which is growing very well too. The fodder looks wonderful. The new system is more efficient with the water used and it is recycled.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Our goal has been to show that live food can be grown all year round in an economical way for dairy goat farmers. We have shown in 2014 that the fodder can be grown efficiently even during the winter months. And, we have shown that side benefits, like giving the fodder recycled water to the goats, can add to the value of growing sprouts hydroponically.