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Anyone growing barley mats to feed livestock? This is my primary goal. We live near Austin, TX and have 5 mules. In a normal year we spend around $350 on hay. Last year, with the extraordinary drought, we spent over $3000.

I don't have anything set up yet (no garden, hydroponic, or aquaponic system).

I've been researching, but it's a bit overwhelming to be honest. 

There are hydroponic systems that you can buy than include the entire building (http://www.foddersolu...)
or just the system of trays, etc. (http://www.farmtek.co...)

Sounds like the biggest issue is keeping humidity down to prevent mold. These systems grow from seed to around 6" tall fodder in 6 days and the entire mat is fed to livestock (no medium in the trays). 

 

Christina (Elgin, TX)

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I've grown a bit. We still get mold every now and then. low temps and fans are super important.

I've seen these grow systems for sale for livestock owners, but does anyone know if there is anyone out there selling the sprouted fodder commercially?

Jeff Givan said:

We are looking at doing some fodder in our new greenhouse here in Ohio, but I grew up in Texas so I know the area's.  One of the things we are looking at growing is some of the rye grasses as fodder. 

Christina Blue said:

On this site, it says 80 degrees: http://www.nutra-fix.com/Fodder/news-media.html

This study has some info in celcius. http://qcl.farmonline.com.au/files/48/20/01/000012048/Hydroponicfod...

(temp conversion is approx. 21c = 70f, 27c=80f )

"Growing temperature: Dry matter (DM) losses were measured over 8 days at two growing 

temperatures, 21ºC and 27ºC. From day 3 the sprouts received balanced nutrient feed and light for 16
hours daily. Dry matter loss was gradual to day 4, after which it began to drop rapidly. DM appeared to
increase after six days. Sprouts grown at 21ºC lost 18% DM by day 8 and at 27ºC the loss was 23.6%."

This one says 65-75 degrees: http://www.growingedge.com/magazine/pdf/GE_1803_p40.pdf

Barley is a winter crop. I'm wondering if there isn't something that we could grow at warmer temperatures. We're in triple digits here in central Texas now. I can see it being pretty pricey just trying to keep the temperatures within range.

Scott Frazier said:

I've started to experiment with barley fodder for my horses/chickens and used a temperature control setting of 75. I thought the ideal temp was around here. Does anyone have some input on the optimal setting?
 
David Waite said:

Christina I have played with it in aquaponics. It is very temp sensitive. Too hot or too cold and the germination goes to zip. If you can keep it around 55 to 65 you will be successful. A ton of wheat seed goes for 600.00 here. If you get a 6 to 1 growth in pounds of seed to barley or wheat mat then your costs will be about a 100 a ton for the fodder.. Not including electricity to control temp and run the pump.

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