In my opinion one of the preeminent benefits of utilizing a hydroponic fodder feed system is the ability to more closely re-create our animal’s natural diets. This is especially true when considering a ruminant animal such as a cow. A cow’s digestive system has specially evolved to efficiently digest and convert grasses into a food source; a feat that those of us with only one stomach cannot accomplish. Traditionally all beef was grass fed, but with a skyrocketing population a need to speed up production time became evident; this is where grain-feeding came into play. Although grain feeding is a much more efficient way to take our baby calves to their 1200 pound finish weight, there is much to be said about an increase in the quality of life of our animals when fed a higher quality food source. This is where hydroponic fodder comes into play. Although our animals are still consuming a grain based product, the increased digestibility rate more closely imitates their natural diet. This natural diet aids in our animals ability to put on weight in a more healthy and a less physically taxing manner.
If we simply take a look at the function of a seed from a plants perspective we can gain a little bit of insight on how it may react with the digestive system of an animal built to eat grass. Large starch and sugar compounds are deposited within the seed to prolong the time in which the seed can be preserved before germination. These compounds are later broken down and utilized by the germinating plant over the course of several weeks to ensure the plants survival. This storage mechanism that the plant depends on to distribute its genetics is actually an obstacle for our animals to overcome. Instead of immediately fermenting and digesting organic grass compounds, our ruminant animals have to spend more energy breaking down the seed’s coat and storage compounds into a usable form. By sprouting a high quality seed and feeding it directly after germination we are able to give our animals a fodder that is in its prime nutritional state.
The premise of grass-fed beef can also lend to adding value to your animal’s meat and other products. Not only does a grass-fed certification increase the value of your meat but it has also been shown to drastically change its composition. Grass-fed beef has been shown to be leaner, contain more omega-3-fatty acids and also be higher in many other vitamins that are important to the human digestive system. Another important benefit that can be achieved utilizing a hydroponic fodder feeding system is a higher consistency of feed. One of the major obstacles that face many grass-fed beef producers is the variability of plant species within their pasture as well as seasonal fluctuation. By making a large portion of our cattle’s diet hydroponic fodder, we can be assured of the quality and quantity of grass that is being consumed. This consistency can lead to a better tasting end product, which is one of our major goals. This premise is not limited to cattle; consistency in feed can also increase the quality of meat and other by-products of animals such as swine and poultry. Hydroponic Fodder production is a great way to drastically improve both the quality of your animal products as well as their quality of life!