kenyan Farmers grow livestock fodder in 8 days

Posted In Business, Lifestyle, NEWS - By admin on Monday, January 7th, 2013 With 8 Comments

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A recently introduced fodder growing technology is fast rising in the country, offering farmers year round supply of nutritious green fodder, grown for just eight days and producing upto 50 kgs of the fodder in a 20 by 10 feet space, enough to feed 20 mature cows or 120 goats all year round.

Dubbed hydroponics technology for its ability to grow fodder and other crops without the soil, the project has been hailed as a revolutionary way of farming coming at a time when land is continually becoming limited thanks to population pressure and the ever rising cost of commercial feeds that is locking hundred of farmers from accessing the much needed feed.

Though having been in existence for the last 50 years in the world, the country is just warming up to the technology with majority of the over 2million livestock farmers yet to try it.  The technology entails the germination of seeds in nutrient rich solutions instead of soil to produce a grass and root combination that is very high in nutrition.

Compared to ordinary cattle feed, this method of pasture production require far less space and the pasture produced has superior nutritive value.
A typical greenhouse containing trays stacked on shelves is used. The trays are put under controlled environmental conditions in a six to 10 day cycle.

The content are fed as food and grain such as barley, wheat, maize and others. Barley is the grain of choice due to its superior performance. Grains develop roots and green shoots to form a dense mat. Carbon dioxide injection cuts the growing time to four days and increase production by upto 25 percent.

A 144metre squared greenhouse can hold about 1800 trays and produce an average of 1200kg per day using only 800 to 1000 litres of water. This amount of fodder can be used to supplement 100 heads of cattle or 500 heads of sheep or goats per day.

“Its ability to save water even though the crops or fodder is grown in water is its biggest advantage. For example, it requires a farmer one to two litres of water to produce one kilo of fodder compared to 80 to 90 litres to produce one kilo of green grass. This is a solution to the frequent droughts and the need for expensive irrigation systems,”said Alex Nderi who is actively involved in advocating for hydroponics adoption in the country.

The technology also saves farmers the agony of expensive fodder storage facilities because farmers are guaranteed a constant supply of high quality fodder. Unlike hay and silage which loses their nutritive value over time, the quality of hydroponic fodder is always guaranteed. Farmers therefore know exactly the amount to feed and the amount of yield to expect.

“Since it is grown naturally, there are no antibiotics, artificial hormones, pesticides or herbicides in the hydroponics fodder feed,” Alex added.
But what perhaps is drawing more farmers to the trade is its cheap initial investment and the impressive returns on investment. Estimates indicate a cost of Sh4000 to produce a tonne of fodder which is four to eight times less compared to using grain over a 90 to 120 day period.

To grow green feed conventionally, the farmer needs to incur costs towards buying insecticides, fertilizers and paying laborers to cultivate and harvest.  When feeding livestock for example a cow the cost to finish it over a period of two or three months in the feed rot will be 7.7 times less than to feed the same cow on the currently common grain-based diet.

A farmer using hydroponics fodder can for example, sell 100 cattle up to three times per year, as opposed to the conventional farmer who can only sell his 100 cattle once a year. The importance of good – quality feed is reinforced by the fact that between 60% and 75% livestock ailments result from their feed. A kilo of green feed under hydroponics is nutritionally equivalent to 3kgs of Lucerne, the commonly used grass among Kenyan farmers.

Bacteria and fungal growth that are a characteristic of the technology however are its biggest undoing. Rhizopus, the common bread mould which is present in all cereal grains and in the soils, attacks the grains. If left to flourish it can cause the growth of other unwanted bacteria and fungi that produce toxins dangerous to livestock. Sterilization of seeds to control this menace is therefore important.
For further details on growing fodder using hydroponics technology you can contact

Agrotunnels International Limited on 0733520083 or 0722520083.

Or Formulation Centre Kenya on 0722956647

email: peterformulation@gmail.com


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  • Charles Murungi

    This company is a fraud (Agrotunnel International Limited) . Bought a hydroponics greenhouse from them and it doesn’t work. Once they have got your money your calls either go unanswered or they are full of excuses but no action. As of today almost six months down the line, they have not delivered the racks I had ordered and paid for. They are totally clueless when it comes to hydroponics technology. I would urge anyone thinking of dealing with this company to proceed with caution

    • jamali mukira

      You’re 100% stupid get idea from YouTube before you rush on oportunities, do it yourself is cheaper.Tamaa wacheni.

      • Charles Murungi

        I was not warning those who are purportedly
        as “bright” as you claim to be. There are many out
        there who might fall victim

        • jamali mukira

          ok,im sorry,you know we meru we must win.

          • EddyRabbit

            Merus are too emotional to be civil.

    • jones

      want a clean deal in hydroponics,inclusive of first season,log in to www. hydroponicskenya.kbo.co.ke

    • mikesonko13

      Thanks for sharing the info.

  • http://YourWebsite... Ann Rotich

    Am very grateful to Formulation Centre http://www.formulationgoods.kbo.co.ke for helping me to install a simple hydroponics unit am now able to feed my pigs and dairy cattle with very nutritious feed at a fraction of the normal cost-saving of over 50% on pigs feed and kshs 100 per day per cow.Am now in the process of doing hydroponics vegetables which according to peter the innovator of the director of formulation centrete says hydroponics fodder grows 50% faster and uses 90% less water and hydroponics fertilizer.