What is fodder and why do we feed it to our animals?
Our farm is currently in the process of expanding our fodder system. Producing fodder for our animals has been a very challenging and costly endeavor for us. We chose to grow fodder because it’s healthier for the animals, provides more protein and is more nutrient dense. It does not contain any pesticides, herbicides or GMO’s. Plus, we are not a commercial farm so we do not monocrop or receive subsidies from tax payers to grow corn and soy. We don’t feed our animals soy mixed feed because of the health problems soy causes to both humans and animals. Our livestock takes longer to grow than commercial farms because they are heritage breeds and where other farmers will allow them to eat a corn and soy feed mix all day to “fatten” up quickly for market, we don’t.
Our farm purchase its trays for our fodder system from Paca Pride. We need 80 trays which in turn produce 350 pounds a day of fresh salad bar. Our animals love it. They actually prefer the fodder and pasture over our normal organic ration! We are on an 8 day cycle. The room needs to be climate controlled. If it’s too cold or not enough light, or proper air flow, it won’t grow. John has set up an elaborate system that incorporates an automated irrigation system which will also need an upgrade due to scaling up. In order to reach optimal temperatures, John is mimicking the model from greenhouse germination tables with undertray heating. We need to get this project complete for the cold winter Wisconsin months ahead. The initial outlay of the system is costly, but we’ve projected to see a return of investment by year 2. Plus, you can’t put a price on nutrition and being environmentally responsible!!