2012 - Volume #36, Issue #6, Page #29[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Customized Fodder Systems Reduce Cost Of Feed
“We’ve seen huge growth in the past two years,” says Abigail Tobey, fodder specialist, FarmTek. “Nearly one out of five who call end up buying. Some who called in 2011, but said they thought the drought was over, called back this year and placed orders.”
FarmTek offers a turnkey 56-in. wide by 120-in. long 6-ft. tall, 125 lbs. per day Mini System. Full-size units produce 250 lbs. of fodder per day in 10-ft. tall units. FarmTek also sells individual components.
“You can go to our website and download plans, including specifications and reference materials,” says Tobey. “We offer custom designs for everything from a small unit to feed a single animal to large systems for 250-cow dairies.”
FarmTek has even supplied zoos with units for Galapagos tortoise and highland gorillas. One unit was sized for a horse unable to eat hay. A 250-cow dairy replaced 300 acres of cropland with a single greenhouse filled with Fodder-Pro Systems. Feed costs dropped from $7 to $10 per day to $3.82, while production and health improved. Tobey says the dairy is now retrofitting and expanding their fodder production system.
FarmTek has modified their system since first introducing it, making expansion easier. Initially it recycled water, which required a pump and tanks. The newer system is single use with water coming in one end and out the other. Water flows underneath the seed rather than sprinkling over the fodder as some other systems do.
“The new design lets us connect up to 30 full-size systems to a single 1-in. waterline,” says Tobey. “That would produce 7,500 lbs. of fodder per day.”
The new design is one element of a multi-part effort to reduce potential mold or mildew developing in the fodder.
“We advise dipping seed in a 10 percent bleach or hydrogen peroxide solution for 10 to 15 min., followed by soaking it in clean water for 24 hours,” says Tobey. “From that point on, everything that the seed touches should have been wiped down with the bleach solution. That includes the trays and scoops to handle the seed.”
Tobey recommends people handling the seed or sprouting fodder sterilize their hands or wear sterilized latex gloves to keep body oils and germs out of the system. FarmTek also recommends fans in the fodder production area.
“Moving air doesn’t pick up moisture, so humidity levels stay lower, lowering the chance of mold,” says Tobey. “The water leaving the system can be used for livestock or irrigation, though it can take livestock a day or two to get used to it. It has a small amount of protein in it from the seed hulls, especially if barley is being sprouted.”
Almost any seed can be sprouted, but Tobey recommends different seeds for different animals.
To determine what size system is needed, FarmTek suggests multiplying total animal body weight by 2 percent. A full-size unit would provide fodder for up to eight 1,400-lb. animals, 60 200-lb. animals or up to 2,500 poultry. They’re priced at $4,695 with price breaks for multiple orders. Buy 8 systems at once, and the price is $3,591 each. Mini systems start at $2,299 and drop to $2,795 in quantities of four or more.
To learn more about growing fodder with the FarmTek systems, visit FarmTek’s website for video tutorials.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, FarmTek, 1440 Field of Dreams Way, Dyersville, Iowa 52040 (ph 563 875-2288; toll free 800 327-6835; www.farmtek.com).
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