Hydroponics Fodder Advantages and Disadvantages

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Although hydroponics system concept is popularly practiced when growing veggies, fruits, and flowers, there is a rising trend of growing animal feed-stock via hydroponics technology popularly known as hydroponic fodder. Hydroponics technology (growing of plants in inert media without soil) has revolutionized conventional farming and many farmers today are using it as an alternative mean to get more output with less resources. In this post, we are going to look at the advantages and disadvantages of hydroponic fodder.

What is hydroponic fodder?

Hydroponic fodder is fresh grass sprouting that is grown from cereal grains like barley in a hydroponic fodder system and it’s used as livestock feed. High-quality cereal grains are put in sterilized trays without soil in a temperature and humidity controlled hydroponic environment. They are sprayed with nutrient-rich water solution at certain intervals and they are ready within 6-7 days.

As a result of climate change, many farmers around the globe are now experiencing shortage of livestock pasture and this has contributed to the high prices of livestock manufactured feeds, concentrates, grains, and hay.

Hydroponics fodder provides a cheaper alternative where farmers can grow healthy and nutritious cereal sprouts within 7 days and feed their livestock.

Hydroponics fodder is made from sprouting crops such as barley. Clover, cow peas, oats, sorghum, and corns. This type of feed-stuff has immense benefits to the animals as they contain high nutrition value.

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Hydroponics Fodder Advantages

Advantages of Hydroponics Fodder
- High Quality Foliage
- The system uses less water
-Faster Maturity rate
- Reduced animal feed wastage
- Less labour input is required thus increasing profit margins

The sprouting process is vital in hydroponics fodder as it increases fiber and breaks the cereal grain down into more palatable components. In addition, hydroponics fodder is grown naturally free from pesticides or herbicides thus, making it a high quality livestock feed.

How to make hydroponics fodder

The fodder is grown in a rack of 12’ long with growing channels stacked at six levels where each level contains up to four channels thus, creating a total of 24 channels in each rack.

Once the rack is ready, seeds are sorted to ensure only the healthy ones are used. Broken seeds do not germinate and they cause rotting which is very harmful. Check out some common seed starting mistakes that gardeners make and how you can avoid them.

hydroponics fodder

Barley seeds are the popularly used seeds due to their high conversion potential (1 pound of barley seeds can produce up to 7 pounds of fodder).

To ensure faster germination, ensure that you have soaked the seeds overnight. During the 7-8 days, the fodder requires minimal light because the energy to sprout is in the seed itself.

Related; Hydroponics vs Aquaponics

Every channel/tray can accommodate about 10 pounds of barley. After soaking the seeds overnight, spread them evenly on each channel to create a thickness of about ½’ if possible. The next step is to water the seeds every day about 4-6 times.

Hydroponic Fodder Disadvantages

Disadvantages of Hydroponics Fodder
- High Initial Cost
- Limited Storage Time
- Prone to mold, fungi, and bacteria if optimal conditions are not maintained

After 7-8 days, the “magic” will have occurred and you will have your foliage mat ready. You can then remove the foliage mat from the trays and feed them directly to your livestock (cows, pigs, chickens, goats, and others).

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Watch the video below for a step-to-step guide on how to make your own hydroponics fodder

Pro Tip! Once you have removed the foliage mat, clean the trays thoroughly and you can plant your next batch immediately. The fodder should be harvested within a maximum of 8 days because it can turn yellow or grow harmful fungi or bacteria which can harm your livestock if left to last for more days without being harvested.

What are the advantages of hydroponics and hydroponic fodder disadvantages? Let’s now look at hydroponic fodder advantages as well as hydroponic fodder disadvantages.

Hydroponic fodder Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages of hydroponics fodder

  • The foliage is of high quality as it does not contain any fertilizer, herbicides or pesticides
  • The system uses less water and with faster maturity therefore, suitable for dry areas
  • Hydroponics fodder contains superior nutrition and hydration compared to other foodstuffs
  • It leads to stimulated appetite which increases productivity
  • Farmers incur less labor expenses thus maximizing profits
  • You can generate high yield in a small area even if you don’t have big land
  • Reduced wastage as animals feed on everything coupled with increased digestibility of fodder
  • It can be used as a method to achieve sustainable livestock feed supply throughout the year
Hydroponics fodder

Hydroponic fodder disadvantages

  • High initial cost is incurred when installing the hydroponic fodder system
  • Hydroponic fodder cannot be stored for a longer time
  • A controlled humid and moist environment in a hydroponic fodder system must be maintained all the time. Failure to do so can cause mold, fungi, and harmful bacteria to develop.


Growing hydroponic fodder via hydroponics is a very reliable means of getting sufficient alternative feeds for your livestock . Farmers should embrace this amazing technology and enjoy a full year livestock hydroponic fodder supply.

Enjoyed reading this post about hydroponic fodder? We hope that you now understand the advantages of hydroponics fodder and hydroponic fodder disadvantages in a more clear manner.

Hydroponic fodder

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