It is a well accepted fact that feeding dairy animals is incomplete without including green fodder in their diet. Green fodders are staple feed for dairy animals. Dairy animals producing up to 12-15 liters milk per day can be maintained by feeding green fodders. Inclusion of green fodders in ration of dairy animals decreases amount of concentrate feeding and thus increases profit. Therefore, for economical and sustainable dairy farming, fodder production round the year is highly essential.
As an alternative to conventional method of green fodder production, hydroponics technology is coming up to grow fodder for farm animals. Green fodders produced by growing seeds without soil but in water or nutrients rich solutions are known as hydroponics green fodder
In simple way we can say that a hydroponic fodder system usually consists of a framework of shelves on which plastic trays are stacked. After soaking overnight, a layer of seeds is spread over the base of the trays. During the growing period, the seeds are kept moist, but not saturated. They are supplied with moisture usually via spray irrigation. Holes in the trays facilitate drainage of excess water. The seeds will usually sprout within 8 to 12 hours after soaking and in 7 days have produced a 8 to 10 inch high grass mat.
Hydroponic fodder is much more easily digestible, full of nutrients and enzymes that the energy spent on this digestion process would be far less with the resultant extra energy being diverted to milk production and growth.
Compared to conventional methods of growing fodder, hydroponic fodder requires lesser space and produces highly nutritious fodder than soil farming.