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Check out this article:

 

http://www.maximumyield.com/article_sh_db.php?articleID=741&yea...

 

You will see it boasts 40% protein with 90% efficiency when used as livestock fodder, however I had a hard time verifying that snippet of data. If it is true it could potentially have huge implications for us aquapons.

 

If you were able to sprout barley in a standard nursery flat, more or less as described in the article, run it through the blender, roots and all, again as described and freeze in to cubes or pellets.  Voila, high nutrition feed , grown with our precious fish water, for pennies!  Especially for those omnivorous varieties we're growing out.

 

Someone help me out in finding the veracity of the assertion, I already have an email into the editor of the magazine, and any input on if I'm onto something would be appreciated!

 

Thanks all!

 

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Replies to This Discussion

Hey David, we have actually researched Barley fodder for livestock feed.  There is a company called Crop King that has an NFT system for growing Barley fodder hydroponically.  We are looking to do it aquaponically and hope to start up research in the next 60 days.  I can confirm the 40% protein value and is incredibly valuable as a livestock fodder with even greater protein content then Alfalfa.  As far as the 90% efficiency, I am not familiar with that data.  They have used these types of systems in both New Zealand and Australia where long term droughts have been an issue.  David Waite has grown some grasses aquaponically and it came up in a discussion not too long ago.  It may have been related to a picture of our seedling table.

@Gina 

So did you ever try using some of it to feed your fish?  I totally see the value as a supplemental feed to poultry, livestock etc. (feeding grass to cattle is such a radical idea you know! haha.)  but I'd like to try it with my Tilapia as a primary food source, perhaps mixing in some brewers yeast, I'm still working out the details. The cost is certainly good compared to buying good quality aquaculture feed (I'm currently using Zeigler's Finfish Bronze), and it doesn't require the space many dedicate to duckweed.

 

Thanks for the feedback and response!

d

You will be interested in this video.   This is being done with cattle.   Interesting best time is when barley is 7 inches tall.

It may be worth buying this guys book.   I have been eating sprouted grain for some time myself.

 

->

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UluPey05VEQ

 

Trick with sprouting is you need to make sure the seed stock is free of seed born disease.  Sprouts where you eat the seed and root as well as the top part are one of the most dangerous things when it comes to food born illness since any contamination (on the seed, in the water or from handling) is not likely to get washed off well enough and sprouts are so rarely cooked so handling and care there is important when sprouting for food.

 

Now sprouting for feed might be a little less of a problem but I would still want to make sure the initial seed stock gets well cleaned to reduce risk of adding contamination into my system and the initial stage of sprouting doesn't need nutrient rich water, that isn't really needed unless you are growing them out past the first few days.

 

I'm certainly interested in trying fodder growing in my system since I'd like to reduce my need for commercial feed to my chickens and ducks. 

 

I'm not sure how helpful the sprouting will be for feeding my fish since I'm growing catfish and bluegill but I expect sprouts could be used as an ingredient mixed with other things to develop a feed for them someday.  (not sure how all the tilapia growers would feel about this but I could see breeding tilapia and using the small fingerlings as a feed ingredient, would just need a good green water culture system to grow them out to about pumpkin seed size, as is a favorite snack for my chickens, they love wigging food that can't actually escape.)

Hi All,

   I have been sprouting wheat as feed, with great success.  We use it as farm feed..  We also feed a LOT of spent grain, from a local brewery, to all our livestock.  The spent grain is just basically cooked barley.  Great fodder.  One thing to keep in mind with Barley is that while it may be a good source of protein, it lags notably in the calcium realm.

    When we were feeding a herd of goats we started to notice that there was a calcium deficiency showing up when we had to depend on the spent  barley grain for a period of time as a sole source of feed.  We notice this in chickens too.  Barley is GREAT feed, but it need to be used along with other souces of nutrition.  Especially where a calcium/magnisium ratio is key in diets.   Not sure how this translates to fish.  We can feed the spent grain to fish too, in the AP system.  But as far as Barley Sprouts as fodder goes, it would be very good.  Just need to watch the total nutrient needs of whatevr is getting it as feed.

 

- Converse

Thanks for that info Converse.  Very important notes there.

 

Anyone know much about using sprouted seeds from plants in the pumpkin, squash and gourd family?  I've got lots of lufa seeds.

Great info! I can see the calcium/magnesium deficiency's becoming a problem for the plants for sure. Not sure what that would translate to for fish but tomatoes and other fruiting plants definitely need a good calcium and magnesium source. Anyone try wheat grass sprouts? My wife and I eat quite a bit of wheat grass that we sprout so I am going to try to feed my Tilapia the actual seed and 1/4 inch of stalk that we do not eat when we harvest the wheat grass with scissors. The health benefits of wheat grass seems to be great!

Calcium is easy to supplement in aquaponics.  Most of the time people wind up with too much if it if they have Hard water or use too much natural calcium carbonate as their buffer for keeping the pH up.

Magnesium would also be really easy to supplement seeing as most households will have some epsome salts under the sink in the bathroom (ya know for easing the sore muscles after washing hundreds of gallons of gravel.)

 

Too true TC! I have used the salts for many a good soak after cleaning those darned rocks

Hi everyone!

 

Just a quick follow up to the discussion. I received a reply from the author of the article in which she provided the following:

 

COMMERCIAL HYDROPONIC FODDER SYSTEM

Fodder Nutritional

Analysis

- barleyAnalysis Performed

Unit

Result

Protein

%

35.5

Ether Extract

%

3.4

Moisture

%

84

Ash

%

3.6

Crude Fibre

%

15.2

Acid Detergent Fibre

%

19

Nitrogen Free Extract

%

61.3

Metabolisable Energy

MJ/Kg

11.4

Vitamin B1

mg/100g

.2

Vitamin B1

mg/100g

.1

Vitamin B1

mg/100g

4

Vitamin B1

mg/100g

.2

Calcium

mg/100g

150

Copper

mg/100g

1.3

Iron

mg/100g

7.2

Potassium

mg/100g

180

Magnesium

mg/100g

150

Manganese

mg/100g

2.3

Sodium

mg/100g

36

Phosphorous

mg/100g

150

Zinc

mg/100g

4.6

 

This apparently is the nutritional analysis of the barley fodder being grown.  I have an additional email into the source of this table for additional verification and clarification.  Again if these numbers are correct I see how we could grow out the barley, whether as part of a recirc system or as just a water from below in a nursery flat, using water from our fish tanks of course, then grinding the barley grass into paste and freezing, to be used as feed.  I'm certain my tilapia would go for it, and it is certainly within their nutritional requirements.  If additional nutrients are needed perhaps brewers/ nutritional yeast could be added.
Please continue to comment and critique.
Thanks 
d

 

Hopefully I read that list and interpreted it correctly:

Analysis Performed

Unit

Result

Protein

%

35.5

Ether Extract

%

3.4

Moisture

%

84

Ash

%

3.6

Crude Fibre

%

15.2

Acid Detergent Fibre

%

19

Nitrogen Free Extract

%

61.3

Metabolisable Energy

MJ/Kg

11.4

Vitamin B1

mg/100g

0.2

Vitamin B1

mg/100g

0.1

Vitamin B1

mg/100g

4

Vitamin B1

mg/100g

0.2

Calcium

mg/100g

150

Copper

mg/100g

1.3

Iron

mg/100g

7.2

Potassium

mg/100g

180

Magnesium

mg/100g

150

Manganese

mg/100g

2.3

Sodium

mg/100g

36

Phosphorous

mg/100g

150

Zinc

mg/100g

4.6

As someone who has used sprouted grasses in my own diet, and studied them, I would recommend using a mixture of several sprouted grasses.  Barley grass, kamut grass, wheat grass, quinoa or amaranth grass might all be options - the nutritional profile of a blend of even just two of them would be much more complete.

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