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Review-Production and Utilisation of Hydroponics Fodder

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Abstract

Production of hydroponics fodder involves growing of plants without soil but in water or nutrient rich solution in a greenhouse (hi-tech or low cost devices) for a short duration (approx. 7 days). The use of nutrient solution for the growth of the hydroponics fodder is not essential and only the tap water can be used. In India, maize grain should be the choice for production of hydroponics fodder. The hydroponics green fodder looks like a mat of 20-30 cm height consisting of roots, seeds and plants. To produce one kg of fresh hydroponics maize fodder (7-d), about 1.50-3.0 litres of water is required. Yields of 5-6 folds on fresh basis and DM content of 11-14% are common for hydroponics maize fodder, however, DM content up to 18% has also been observed. The hydroponics fodder is more palatable, digestible and nutritious while imparting other health benefits to the animals. The cost of seed contributes about 90% of the total cost of production of hydroponics maize fodder. It is recommended to supplement about 5-10 kg fresh hydroponics maize fodder per cow per day. However, sprouting a part of the maize of the concentrate mixture for hydroponics fodder production does not require extra maize. Feeding of hydroponics fodder increases the digestibility of the nutrients of the ration which could contribute towards increase in milk production (8-13%). In situations, where conventional green fodder cannot be grown successfully, hydroponics fodder can be produced by the farmers for feeding their dairy animals using low cost devices.
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Indian Journal of
Animal Nutrition
Indian J. Anim. Nutr. 2015. 32 (1): 1-9
Production and Utilisation of Hydroponics Fodder
P.K. Naik*, B.K. Swain and N.P. Singh1
Regional Centre, ICAR-Central Avian Research Institute, Bhubaneswar, Odisha-751003, India
*Corresponding author (E-mail: pknaikicar@gmail.com); 1ICAR Research Complex for Goa, Old Goa-403402, India
ABSTRACT
Production of hydroponics fodder involves growing of plants without soil but in water or nutrient rich
solution in a greenhouse (hi-tech or low cost devices) for a short duration (approx. 7 days). The use of nutrient
solution for the growth of the hydroponics fodder is not essential and only the tap water can be used. In India,
maize grain should be the choice for production of hydroponics fodder. The hydroponics green fodder looks
like a mat of 20-30 cm height consisting of roots, seeds and plants. To produce one kg of fresh hydroponics
maize fodder (7-d), about 1.50-3.0 litres of water is required. Yields of 5-6 folds on fresh basis and DM
content of 11-14% are common for hydroponics maize fodder, however, DM content up to 18% has also been
observed. The hydroponics fodder is more palatable, digestible and nutritious while imparting other health
benefits to the animals. The cost of seed contributes about 90% of the total cost of production of hydroponics
maize fodder. It is recommended to supplement about 5-10 kg fresh hydroponics maize fodder per cow per
day. However, sprouting a part of the maize of the concentrate mixture for hydroponics fodder production
does not require extra maize. Feeding of hydroponics fodder increases the digestibility of the nutrients of the
ration which could contribute towards increase in milk production (8-13%). In situations, where conventional
green fodder cannot be grown successfully, hydroponics fodder can be produced by the farmers for feeding
their dairy animals using low cost devices.
Key words: Hydroponics fodder, Livestock, Production
INTRODUCTION
Feeding of quality green fodder to dairy animals
could play an important role in sustainable and
economical dairy farming. However, various constraints
are faced by the dairy farmers for production of green
fodder like small land holdings, unavailability of land
for fodder cultivation, scarcity of water or saline water,
non availability of good quality fodder seeds, more
labour requirement, requirement of manure and
fertilizer, longer growth period (45-60 days), fencing
to prevent fodder crop from wild animals, natural
calamities etc. Furthermore, the non-availability of
constant quality of fodder round the year aggravates
the limitations of the sustainable dairy farming. Due to
the above constraints and the problems faced in the
conventional method of fodder cultivation,
hydroponics is now emerging as an alternative
technology to grow fodder for farm animals (Naik et
al. 2011; Naik 2012a; Naik et al., 2013a; Naik et al.,
2013b; Naik and Singh 2013; Naik 2014; Naik and
Singh 2014; Naik et al., 2015).
HISTORY OF HYDROPONICS FODDER
CULTIVATION
The background of hydroponics fodder
production has been provided by Sneath and McIntosh
(2003). In mid-1800, Jean Boussingault, a French
chemist verified nutritional requirement of plants grown
without soil. By 1860, the techniques of ‘nutriculture’
were perfected by Sachs and Knop working
independently in England. During this time, European
farmers sprouted cereal grasses to feed their cows in
winter. Gericke (1920-1930) developed procedures to
grow plants in nutrient solution on a large scale. In 1939,
Leitch reviewed a range of experiments using sprouted
fodder for different livestock and poultry and stated that
sprouted fodder was the commercial exploitation of
water culture processes of plants to produce stock
fodder. In 1969, Woodward, an English scientist, made
attempt to grow plants in various sources of water.
In 1970s, a range of units were designed and
REVIEW
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manufactured in many countries including Europe and
USA to produce hydroponics fodder. In 1973, Harris of
South Africa questioned the economics of the
hydroponics system. In late 1980s, attempts were made
in India for propagating hydroponics technology for
forage production and research works were undertaken
by several workers (Reddy et al., 1988; Pandey and
Pathak 1991; Rajendra et al., 1998). Hydroponics
technology was introduced in Goa in 2011 by
establishing numbers of hydroponics fodder production
units under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY),
Govt. of India by Goa Dairy at different dairy
cooperative societies including one unit at ICAR-ICAR
Research Complex for Goa, Old Goa and research works
were carried out (Naik et al., 2011; Naik et al., 2012a;
Naik et al., 2012b; Naik 2012b; Naik 2013a; Naik
2013b; Naik et al., 2013c; Naik et al., 2014).
PRODUCTION OF HYDROPONICS FODDER
The word hydroponics has been derived from two
Greek words hydro means ‘water and ponic means
‘working’. Thus, fodder produced by growing plants in
water or nutrient rich solution but without using any
soil is known as hydroponics fodder or sprouted grains
or sprouted fodder (Dung et al., 2010a). Hydroponics
is produced in greenhouses under controlled
environment within a short period (Sneath and
McIntosh, 2003). A greenhouse is a framed or inflated
structure covered with a transparent or translucent
material in which the crops could be grown under the
conditions of at least partially controlled environment.
However, the structure should be large enough to
permit a person to carry out cultural operations (Chandra
and Gupta, 2003). The greenhouse for the production
of hydroponics fodder can be of hi-tech greenhouse type
or low cost greenhouse type as per the financial status
of the farmer and availability of building material.
(i) Hi-tech greenhouse type hydroponics fodder
cultivation unit
The hi-tech greenhouse type unit consists of a
control unit and may be used with or without air
conditioner. The control unit regulates input of water
and light automatically through sensors. Although all
types of fodder crops can be grown in the hi-tech green
house but the routine operational cost is more
particularly for sprouting the rabi crops (barley, oat,
wheat etc.). This is because of the requirement for air
conditioner in the hydroponics system to maintain cold
and dry environment. The cost of the complete
hydroponics fodder production unit with daily
production potential of 600 kg fresh maize fodder
established at ICAR-ICAR Research Complex for
Goa, Old Goa was approximately ` 15 lakh during
2010-2011.
(ii) Low cost greenhouse type hydroponics fodder
cultivation unit
Hydroponics fodder can also be produced in low
cost greenhouses or devices (Naik et al., 2013c). The
low cost greenhouses or shade net structures can be
prepared from bamboo, wood, MS steel or galvanized
iron steel. The cost of the shade net structures depends
upon the type of fabricating material but is significantly
lower than the hi-tech greenhouses. One side wall of
the house can be used to construct lean-to-shade net
structure which reduces the cost of fabrication. The
irrigation can be made by micro-sprinklers (manually
or automatic controlled) or knapsack or backpack
sprayer at frequent intervals. In shade net structures,
the type of cereals to sprout hydroponically depends
upon the season and climatic conditions of the locality.
Large number of farmers of Satara district of
Maharashtra are today producing hydroponics green
fodder by different types of low cost greenhouses and
feeding their dairy animals. The farmers revealed that
the cost of the wooden shade net greenhouse with daily
production potential of about 30-350 kg fresh
hydroponics fodder was approximately ` 6000-50000
while the cost of the MS shade net greenhouse with
daily production potential of about 150-750 kg fresh
hydroponics fodder was approximately ` 25000-150000
(Naik et al., 2013b).
Crops
Different types of fodder crops viz. barley (Reddy
et al., 1988), oats, wheat (Snow et al., 2008); sorghum,
alfalfa, cowpea (AI-Karaki and AI-Hashimi, 2012) and
Naik et al.
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maize (Naik et al., 2011; Naik et al., 2012a) can be
produced by hydroponics technology. However, the
choice of the hydroponics fodder to be produced
depends on the geographical and agro-climatic
conditions and easy availability of seeds. In India, maize
grain should be the choice as the grain for production
of hydroponics fodder due to its easy availability, lower
cost, good biomass production and quick growing habit.
The grain should be clean, sound, undamaged or free
from insect infestation, untreated, viable and of good
quality for better biomass production.
Seed preparation
Soaking of seeds and the rapid uptake of water
for facilitating the metabolism and utilization of reserve
materials of the seeds for growth and development of
the plants is a very important step for production of
hydroponics forage. In case of barley (Morgan et al.,
1992) and maize (Naik, 2012b) seeds, 4 hours soaking
in water is beneficial. Under field conditions, farmers
producing hydroponics maize forage have the practice
of putting the seeds in a gunny bag tightly and then
make it wet and keep for 1-2 days.
Seed rate
The seed rate also affects the yield of the
hydroponics fodder which varies with the type of seeds.
Most of the commercial units recommend seed rate of
6-8 kg/m2 (Morgan et al., 1992), however, seed rate of
7.6 kg/m2 has been suggested by Naik (2013a) for
hydroponics maize fodder for higher output. If seed
density is high, there are more chances of microbial
contamination in the root mat which affects the growth
of the sprouts.
Nutrient solution and water
The use of nutrient solution for production of
hydroponics forage is not mandatory as it can also be
produced by tap water. There are reports of
non-significant improvement in the nutrient content of
the sprouts which do not justify the added expense of
using nutrient solution rather than fresh water (Sneath
and Mclntosh, 2003; Dung et al., 2010a). However, a
positive response to added nutrient solution has been
reported. The nutrient solution (Dung et al., 2010a) for
hydroponics fodder production contained Ca, K, N, Fe,
Mg, S, P, Zn, Mn, Cu, Bo and Na at a level of 89.20,
81.90, 75.10, 1.80, 20.80, 43.20, 3.20, 0.40, 0.50, 0.01,
0.10 and 0.10 ppm, respectively. It is quite interesting
to note that the hydroponics forage production requires
only about 3-5% of water needed to produce same
amount of forage produced under field condition (AI-
Karaki et al., 2012). For producing one kg of maize
fodder, about 1.50 litres (if water is recycled) to 3.0
litres (if water is not recycled and drained out) of water
is required (Naik et al., 2013c).
Germination and growth period
The starting of germination and visibility of roots
varies with the type of seeds. In case of maize and
cowpea seeds, germination starts after 1 or 2 days and
the roots were clearly visible after 2 or 3 days,
respectively. Photosynthesis is not important for the
metabolism of the seedlings until the end of day-5 when
the chloroplasts are activated (Sneath and Mclntosh,
2003). Therefore, light is not required for sprouting of
cereal grains however, a little light in the second half of
the sprouting period encourages photosynthesis and
greening of the sprouts. The grains are generally
allowed to sprout for about seven days inside the
greenhouse and on 8th day these are harvested as a
fodder for feeding animals. Frequently, the farmers
producing hydroponics fodder using low cost devices
in field conditions keep the crop for 7-10 days,
however, it enhances the chances of mould growth.
YIELD OF HYDROPONICS FODDER
For successful hydroponics fodder production,
fresh yield and DM content of the crops are important.
During sprouting of the seeds, there is an increase in
the fresh weight and a consequent decrease in the DM
content which is mainly attributed to the imbibition of
water (leaching) and enzymatic activities (oxidation)
that depletes the food reserves of the seed endosperm
without any adequate replenishment from photo-
synthesis by the young plant during short growing cycle
(Sneath and McIntosh, 2003). In a 7-day sprout,
photosynthesis commences around day-5 when the
chloroplasts are activated and this does not provide
Hydroponics fodder
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enough time for any significant DM accumulation
(Dung et al., 2010b).
Fresh yield of 2.8-8 folds in 6-8 days with DM
content of 8-19.7% in hydroponics barley and fresh yield
of 3.5-6.0 folds in 7-8 days with DM content of 10.3-
18.5% in maize fodder, has been reported (Hillier and
Perry 1969; Peer and Leeson 1985a; Peer and Leeson
1985b; Morgan et al., 1992; Mukhopad 1994; Tudor et
al., 2003; Sneath and McIntosh, 2003; AI-Ajmi et al.,
2009; Dung et al., 2010a; Dung et al., 2010b; Fazaeli
et al., 2011; Naik et al., 2011; Fazaeli et al., 2012; AI-
Karaki et al., 2012; Naik et al., 2014). Farmers
producing hydroponics maize fodder under low cost
devices or greenhouses revealed fresh yield of 8-10 kg
from one kg locally grown maize seeds in 7-10 days
(Naik et al., 2013b). The fresh yield and DM content of
the hydroponics fodder are mainly influenced by the
type of crops, days of harvesting, degree of drainage of
free water prior to weighing, type and quality of seed,
seed rate, seed treatment, water quality, pH, irrigation
frequencies, nutrient solution used, light, growing
period, temperature, humidity, clean and hygienic
condition of the greenhouse etc. (Trubey and Otros
1969; Sneath and McIntosh, 2003; Dung et al., 2010a;
Molla and Brihan, 2010; Dung et al., 2010b; Fazaeli et
al., 2011; Naik, 2012b; Naik, 2013a; Naik, 2013b). The
use of nutrient solution lowers the DM loss which may
be due to the absorption of minerals thus increasing the
ash content and the final weight of the hydroponics
fodder (Dung et al., 2010a; Dung et al., 2010b). Under
dark conditions, there is increase in the DM loss which
slows down after day-4 in lighted conditions when
photosynthesis begins (O’Sullivan, 1982).
Depending upon the type of grains, the
hydroponics fodder looks like a mat of 11-30 cm height
by the end of the germination period of about 8-days
consisting of germinated seeds embedded in their white
roots and green shoots (Mukhopad, 1994; Snow et al.,
2008; Dung et al., 2010b; Naik et al., 2011; Naik et al.,
2014).
NUTRIENT CONTENT OF HYDROPONICS
FODDER
There are changes in the nutrient content of the
cereal grains and hydroponics fodder (Hillier and Perry
1969; Peer and Leeson 1985b; Sneath and Mclntosh,
2003; Dung et al., 2010a; Dung et al. 2010b; Fazaeli et
al., 2011; Fazaeli et al., 2012; Naik et al., 2012a; Naik
et al., 2014). The DM (89.7 vs. 13.4%) and OM (96.60-
97.19 vs. 96.35%) content is decreased which may be
due to the decrease in the starch content. During
sprouting, starch is catabolized to soluble sugars for
supporting the metabolism and energy requirement of
the growing plants for respiration and cell wall
synthesis, so any decrease in the amount of starch
causes a corresponding decrease in DM and OM.
The CP (8.60-13.90 vs. 11.38-24.90%), NPN
(3.35 vs. 5.89%), SP (10.49 vs. 12.30%), IP (1.24 vs.
2.37%) contents are mostly increased, however, the TP
(7.10-9.39 vs. 7.79-8.24%) content either decreased or
not affected. The increase in CP content may be
attributed to the loss in DM, particularly carbohydrates,
through respiration during germination and thus
longer sprouting time is responsible for greater losses
in DM and increase in protein content. Besides, the
absorption of nitrates facilitates the metabolism of
nitrogenous compounds and thus increases the CP
levels. The use of nutrient solution enhances the CP
content of the hydroponics fodder higher than the tap
water which may be due to the uptake of nitrogenous
compounds (Dung et al., 2010a). The total protein
content remains similar though the percentage of
protein increases in the sprouted grains because of the
decrease in the other components (Peer and Leeson,
1985a; Morgan et al., 1992). There is increase in the
lysine (0.39 vs. 0.54%) content of the hydroponics
fodder as there may be degradation of prolamins into
lower peptides and free amino acids which supply the
amino groups for the trans-amination to synthesize
lysine (Peer and Leeson 1985b; Chavan and Kadam,
1989). The increase in EE content (1.90-4.90 vs. 2.25-
9.27%) of the hydroponics fodder may be due to the
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increase in the structural lipids and production of
chlorophyll associated with the plant growth. The
concentrations (as percent of the total fatty acid
content of the triglyceride fraction of the fat) of
linolenic acid (0.59 vs. 0.97) and stearic acid (0.07 vs.
0.13) increased with the sprouting time (Peer and
Leeson, 1985b). The increase in the percentage of CF
(2.50-10.10 vs. 7.35-21.20), NDF (20.20-22.50 vs.
31.25-35.40) and ADF (7.00-8.90 vs. 14.35-28.20); and
decrease in the NFE (27.00-84.49 vs. 48.90-68.85) and
NFC (61.55-64.65 vs. 43.00-49.03) may be attributed
to the increase in the number and size of cell walls for
the synthesis of structural carbohydrates. During the
sprouting process, the total ash content (1.57-3.40 vs.
3.65-5.50%) is increased due to the decrease in the OM.
Morgan et al. (1992) found that the ash content of
sprouts increased from day-4 corresponding with the
extension of the root which allowed the mineral
uptake. The ash content of the sprouts increases more
if nutrient solution is used rather than water which may
be due to the absorption of minerals by the roots (Dung
et al., 2010b). The nutrient contents of hydroponics
fodder are superior to certain common non-leguminous
fodders but comparable to leguminous fodders (Reddy
et al., 1988; Pandey and Pathak, 1991; Naik et al.,
2012a) in terms of available OM, CP, EE and NFE
content. The changes in the nutrient content during the
growth of hydroponics fodder maize has been given in
Table 1 (Naik et al., 2012a).
The GE (16.10 vs. 14.80 MJ/kg DM), ME (12.72
vs. 8.7-12 MJ/kg DM) and TDN (84 vs. 76-78.4%)
content decreased during sprouting of grains which may
be due to the respiration, an energy requiring process.
The recovery of ME and NE was reduced when the
grain changed to the sprouted or green form because in
order to germinate the seeds, the stored energy inside
the grain is used and dissipated during the process
(Chavan and Kadam, 1989; Cuddeford, 1989).
The changes in the mineral content of the
hydroponics fodder are mainly influenced by the type
of irrigated water (Al-Ajmi et al., 2009; Dung et al.,
2010a; Dung et al., 2010b; Fazaeli et al., 2012).
However, sprouting of cereals makes the minerals more
available by chelating or merging with the protein
(Shipard, 2005). During sprouting of cereal grains, the
contents (mg/kg DM) of B-vitamins (Chavan and
Kadam, 1989), β-carotene (4.1 vs. 42.7), vitamin E (7.4
vs. 62.4), biotin (0.16 vs. 1.15) and free folic acid (0.12
vs. 1.05) (Cuddeford, 1989) have been reported to be
increased.
FEEDING VALUE OF HYDROPONICS FODDER
Hydroponics fodder is palatable and the
germinated seeds embedded in the root system are also
consumed along with the shoots of the plants without
any nutrient wasting (Pandey and Pathak, 1991).
Sometimes, animals take the leafy parts of the
hydroponics fodder and the roots portions are not
consumed which can be avoided by mixing the
hydroponics fodder with the other roughage components
of the ration (Reddy et al., 1988, Naik et al., 2014).
However, there are reports of decrease in the DM
intake of the animals (Table 2) when hydroponics
Table 1. Nutrient content (% DM basis) of hydroponics maize fodder
Nutrient MaizeSeed Days of sprouting under hydroponics system Conventional
(0 day) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 maize fodder
CP* 8.60a8.88a9.14ab 9.65b11.27d11.58d12.89e13.57f10.67c
EE* 2.56abc 2.49ab 2.57abc 2.88bcd 3.08cde 3.06cde 3.21de3.49e2.27a
CF* 2.50a2.55a3.07a4.72b5.51c7.56d10.67e14.07f25.92g
NFE* 84.49h84.15h82.87g79.20f77.65e74.04d69.21c66.72b51.78a
TA* 1.57a1.67a1.84ab 1.92ab 2.19bc 2.44c3.34d3.84d9.36f
AIA* 0.02a0.03a0.08a0.09a0.13a0.14a0.24a0.33a1.40b
a,b,c,d,e,f Means bearing different superscripts in the same row differ significantly (P<0.05)
Hydroponics fodder
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fodder is fed (Fazaeli et al., 2011; Naik et al., 2014).
Feeding of hydroponics fodder increased the
digestibility of the nutrients of the ration which could
be attributed to the tenderness of the fodder (Reddy et
al., 1988; Naik et al., 2014). The digestibility of the
nutrients of the hydroponics fodder was comparable
with the highly digestible legumes like berseem and
other clovers (Pandey and Pathak, 1991). The DCP and
TDN contents of the hydroponics barley fodder were
optimum to meet the production requirement of the
lactating cows (Reddy et al., 1988).
The milk yield was improved by 7.8-13.7% by
feeding of hydroponics fodder which might be due to
the higher nutrient digestibility (Reddy et al., 1988; Naik
et al., 2014). Reddy et al. (1988) observed higher cost
of the ration containing artificially sprouted grains,
however, inspite of the cost variations, the ration
containing artificially sprouted grains supplied 7.5%
more DCP and 4.9% more TDN. The cost of the
hydroponics fodder is mainly influenced by the seed
cost as it contributes about 90% of the total cost of
production (Naik et al., 2012b). In low cost devices
where seed is grown at the farmers’ field, the cost of
the hydroponics fodder is quite reasonable. The
farmers’ feedback revealed increase in milk production,
improvement in general fertility, conception rates,
appearance of coats or fleece, general animal health etc.
(Anonymous, 2012; Anonymous, 2013; Naik et al.,
2013b).
POTENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF HYDRO-
PONICS FODDER
The potential health benefits of hydroponics
fodder are well known since long (Sneath and Mclntosh,
2003). Dry grains contain abundant enzymes which are
mostly inactive due to the enzyme inhibitors. During
sprouting, the activities of the inactive enzymes of the
Table 2. Effect of feeding of hydroponics fodder on intake and digestibility of nutrients
Parameter Hydroponics fodder Reference
No Yes
Feed intake Reddy et al. (1988)
Fresh intake (kg/d) -- 50.38 Pandey and Pathak (1991)
DM intake (kg/d) 7.20-9.70 6.60-8.85 Fazaeli et al. (2011)
DM intake/100 kg BW (kg) 2.17-2.84 2.05-2.74 Naik et al. (2014)
Roughage: concentrate ratio 63: 37 65: 35
Digestibility (%)
DM 60.34-61.15 64.48-65.53
OM 61.89-64.19 65.98 -68.47
CP 61.89-68.86 66.77-72.46
EE 69.92-82.05 77.60-87.69
CF 47.93-53.25 54.85-59.21
NFE 65.84-67.37 68.13-70.47
Nutritive value (%)
DCP 6.89-8.61 7.82-9.65
TDN 55.43-64.00 61.19-73.12
NR -- 6.72
Nutrient intake (kg/d)
CP intake (kg/d) -- 0.97
DCP intake (kg/d) -- 0.67
TDN intake (kg/d) -- 5.20
Naik et al.
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grains are increased due to the neutralization of the
enzyme inhibitors and these enzymes ultimately break
down the reserve chemical constituents such as starch,
protein and lipids into various metabolites viz. sugars,
amino acids and free fatty acids. Furthermore, these are
used to synthesise new compounds or transported to
the other parts of the growing seedling including the
breakdown of nutritionally undesirable constituents
(Chavan and Kadam, 1989). The enzymes cause the
inter-conversion of these simpler components leading
to increase in the quality of the amino acids and
concentration of the vitamins (Plaza et al., 2003;
Koehler et al., 2007). Sprouts are rich source of
anti-oxidants in the form of β-carotene, vitamin-C, E
and related trace minerals such as Se and Zn. As
sprouted grains (hydroponics fodder) are rich in
enzymes and enzyme-rich feeds are generally alkaline
in nature, therefore, feeding of the hydroponics fodder
improves the animals’ productivity by developing a
stronger immune system due to neutralization of the
acidic conditions. Besides, helping in the elimination
of the anti-nutritional factors such as phytic acid of the
grains, hydroponics fodders are good source of
chlorophyll and contain a grass juice factor that
improves the performance of the livestock (Finney,
1982; Chavan and Kadam, 1989; Sneath and Mclntosh,
2003; Shipard, 2005).
SUGGESTIONS ON HYDROPONICS FODDER
Need to develop specific low-cost devices for
production of hydroponics fodder under given
local conditions.
Evaluation of different types of seeds with
regards to their suitability for biomass
production and nutrient contents.
Need to conduct long term feeding trials for
different types of hydroponics fodder on
different categories of livestock with regard to
their productive and reproductive performance.
Development of feeding strategies with respect
to hydroponics fodder under different agro-
climatic conditions.
CONCLUSIONS
There seems to be a great potential for
developing hydroponics technology for fodder
production. Hydroponics fodder can be produced and
fed in situations where cultivated fodder can not be
grown successfully. The technology can also be adopted
by progressive modern dairy farmers with elite dairy
herd and produce hydroponics fodder for feeding their
dairy animals. However, further research is needed to
develop low cost devices for the fodder production
through this technology using locally available
materials.
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Received on 14-01-2015 and accepted on 19-02-2015
Hydroponics fodder
Indian J. Anim. Nutr. 2015. 32 (1): 1-9
... With this regard, adoption of hydroponic fodder production system could help in quality fodder production under resource deficit condition in cost effective and sustainable manner. Hydroponic fodder production, a system of growing green fodder without soil, with or without nutrient solution under environmentally controlled structures (Naik et al., 2015), could play an important role towards feed security. Besides, independent to soil requirement, the hydroponic fodder production requires only about 3-5% of water as compared to production in field (Al-Karaki and Al-Hashmi., 2012). ...
... This technique provides green fodder to animals and increases profit to dairy farmers mainly in the conditions of deficit cultivated land and labour. Fodder grown by this technology is reported to have more nutrition, digestibility and palatability which ultimately enable enhanced milk production, maintaining animal health and reproductive efficiency owing to balance nutrition through balance feeding (Naik et al. 2015). The fodder produce from hydroponic technology can be fed to all the animals such as buffaloes, cows, sheep and goat. ...
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... At the same trend, ether extract showed higher improvements for sprouting barley grains on roughages. The increase in EE content may be due to the increase in the structural lipids and production of chlorophyll associated with the plant growth (Naik et al., 2015). However, CF content was decreased from 35.58 to 29.32% and 34.96 to 30.81% for barley straw and A. saligna, respectively. ...
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A hydropomc nutrient solution was used to raise barley sprouts to compare with sprouts raised using tap water irrigation (two treatments). In both treatments, the sprouts were raised in continuous light in a temperature-controlled room for a period of 7 days. There was no difference (p>0.05) in DM loss after 7 days of sprouting. The DM losses after 7 days of sprouting were 16.4 vs. 13.3% for tap water irrigation and hydroponic nutrient solution, respectively. Sprouts grown with nutrient solution had a higher protein concentration than those grown with tap water irrigation (17.3 vs. 15.9%), respectively. There was however, no difference (p>0.05) in in sacco degradation of sprouts in the rumen of Merino sheep. There was no advantage in the use of nutrient solution for producing hydroponic sprouts compared to sprouting with tap water only. If these sprouts were fed to ruminants, the DM losses would have represented a loss in digestible energy which would otherwise have been available for productive purposes. On a large scale these losses could add to the cost of animal production.
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Cereals and legumes are the foodstuffs for most humans and animals and have been throughout recorded history. To extract “maximum nutrients for minimum costs,” the seeds of those plants have usually been treated by germinating, fermenting or selectively heat treating to increase the amount or availability of nutrients.