Hydroponic Fodder Project

May 16, 2020

Hydroponic Fodder project is one of the modern projects that relies on modern technology in agriculture, which is agriculture without soil, based only on water and lighting and a stabilized environment suitable for growing barley to get a green fodder for livestock.

The process of planting barley must be in rooms equipped with modern technology, water, electricity and lighting suitable for the cultivation process, where the grains are placed in trays for seed germination in a standard time period, in which a high-quality final product is obtained for livestock, goats, sheep, horses and other animals.

The project of growing barley as fodder for livestock is very profitable, as the product provided is carried out at prices per ton which is more than cost prices, and the product of this project has many advantages that we will mention later that make the demand for it keeps increasing by livestock keepers.

Area required for the Hydroponic Fodder project:

The project needs an area of ​​36 square meters to produce one ton of cultivated barley, which is enough to feed about 50 head of cows and about 500 heads of sheep and goats, and to produce one ton of cultivated barley we need about 125 kg of seeds and about 350 liter of water in 24 hours, to produce a ton of barley, you will need more space, and less space to produce less than one ton, and the same for seeds and water, you also can use a part of your house if you have empty spot, in order to develop the project such as the garage, the basement, the roof, or any unused room .

Installation rooms and specifications:

  • Germination or growing rooms are rooms made of high-quality thermally isolated materials that includes electronic and thermal equipment, and equipment that regulate the operation of the machine and provide appropriate conditions for barley seed germination and the production of fresh, sterile green fodder with a high nutritional value.
  • Germination rooms are air-tight rooms to grow clean and sterile green barley without the need for sand and chemical fertilizers at the lowest possible costs and with high electronic features.
  • The room must be equipped with a water tank, which is also must contain multiple filters to rid the water of impurities and plankton.
  • The watering system works on two systems, the first is the sprinkler or irrigation system and the second is the automatic fog system that is done without supervising from the worker.
  • The unit needed to produce one ton of green fodder per day occupies on an area (length 9 meters, width 3 meters, height 3.20 meters). The outer unit cover is made of steel sheets and treated with preservatives to protect it from weather conditions.
  • The unit is equipped from the inside with strong shelves to hold the plastic slats in which the germination process takes place. The unit includes sensitive devices to control the temperature, humidity, ventilation and the amount of water needed for irrigation.
  • The unit contains an automatic irrigation network equipped with expenses to transport water in excess of irrigation and return it to the tank.
  • The device is manufactured to withstand all climatic and natural conditions with a high degree of insulation and durability.

Barley culture trays:

Barley culture trays are made of polypropylene and contain openings in certain places to leak excess water, as well as to resist fungi and mold. They are loaded on metal legs as shelves and have watering and flowing systems.

Steps and stages to grow barley:

First step:

Washing barley well, purifying it from gravel and dirt, and sterilizing it with chlorine to get rid of bacteria and fungi, in order not to get rotten after that, with the need of reducing the broken seeds that contribute to the appearance of blue rot.

We mix the equivalent of 7 ml of concentrated chlorine with 1 kg of barley, where we mix the water with chlorine first and then add the barley to the water and leave it with chlorine between 5 to 10 minutes, until all bacteria are killed, and the greater the number of kilograms of seeds, the greater the amount of chlorine Of course.

After that we filter the barley, wash it well and soak it in another clean water for 24 hours, and it is preferable that the water level be ten centimeters higher to protect from bacteria during soaking, and it is also preferable to sterilize the water to ensure the purity of the product by boiling water and not used until it cools and its temperature becomes less than 30 Degree, and it is also preferable to divide the soaking period into two parts, soak it for 12 hours, then filter it and leave it for an hour, then re-soak it in fresh water for another 12 hours, and upon completion of 24 hours we will notice the start of barley with germination.

Second step:

We spread the barley kernels in rectangular containers or trays so that we take into account placing 1 kg per tray of 70/30 cm.

Third step:

We install containers in rooms dedicated to growing barley where we respect a set of criteria for the growth of barley quickly and easily (such as the temperature between 18 to 20 ° C, and a degree of moisture appropriate for the needs of barley) If the temperature in the winter falls below 18 ° C it must be warmed Also, in the summer, if the temperature rises above 20C °, it must be cooled with air conditioning, and for this there must be a heat indicator inside the alarm rooms to know the thermal changes that may occur during the planting process.

Fourth step:

Lighting must be provided inside the spurts permanently to compensate for sunlight. If it is possible to provide glass windows to allow sunlight to enter during the daytime, this will help in providing electricity.

Fifth step:

The cultivated barley must be irrigated permanently and alternately so that the presence of water is constantly taken into account in the trays, and we take into account the periodic replacement of water while avoiding gathering it in one cuff of trays to avoid rot and thus the death of barley seeds, in addition to making sure that there is a reasonable percentage of water that helps in entangling the roots with each other.

The specification of cultured barley product:

The first yield of cultivated barley is obtained within one week of planting only, and it should contain the following conditions:

  • The presence of white roots from the bottom, clean and sterile with grains of barley, characterized by high nutrition and a higher concentration of protein, energy and fibres.
  • The presence of the rosette layer in the middle is rich in vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
  • A green layer on the top with a length of 15 to 20 cm, which is rich in all the benefits of green grass.

The characteristics of cultivated barley product:

The cultivated barley is distinguished by its high nutritional value, as its total nutritional value is as follows:

  • Sterile, clean and free of pathogens.
  • It provides fresh livestock, increases the rate of milk, and improves the productive life of livestock.
  • Stored as it can be filled in vacuum bags and kept fresh for a long time.
  • They are easily digested, livestock benefit from it more than 80% of their nutritional value compared to dry feed.
  • Rich in protein, energy, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fiber, so it is considered an integrated meal.
  • One day production is sufficient for 50 dairy cows, 500 sheep and goats, and a large number of rabbits.
  • Its doubling nutritional value compared to dry barley and doubling the amount of barley, so that 1 kg of dry barley becomes 7 kg of cultivated barley while providing high and integrated nutritional elements.

The goal of establishing the Hydroponic Fodder project:

  • To provide green fodder throughout the year and in all seasons.
  • To reduce the consumption of cultivated areas.
  • To reduce water consumption.
  • To reduce the use of fertilizers and chemicals that is harmful to the health of livestock.
  • Not to use agricultural pesticides, as a result reducing pollution of the environment and groundwater.
  • To increase livestock production to the highest level with minimal effort.
  • To reduce the cost of meat and milk production by reducing feed costs.
  • To reduce the employment to a large number of workers.

tips:

  • An agricultural plan for continuous production must be developed, so that two shelves must be planted daily, taking into account the start of cultivating from the upper shelves and then gradually going down to the lower shelves, until the container culture is fully completed, to cover the needs of the breeders continuously throughout the week and so on.
  • The container must be inspected prior to planting to ensure water drainage, lighting and sterilization.
  • The containers should be suctioned, disinfected and sterilized with chlorine before each agricultural cycle.
  • X-ray bulbs must be switched on before the implant to sterilize the container.
  • Watering should take place every 4 hours throughout the day and once spray at a rate of one minute every 4 hours.
  • It is possible to grow many types of seeds other than barley.

Finally, as for the installation of germination rooms, there are some companies that produce integrated and modified devices in terms of humidity, lighting, temperature, water systems, etc., that is sold to people who are not experts in the field and succeed in production, and they gain experience over time, while for experts, they can make the equipment themselves To reduce costs.

Karim Boubouh

PhD candidate at Mohammed VI Polytechnic University