Spotlight on Gladtime Dairy and their Cost-Effective Fodder System
All dairy cattle need fresh, healthy feed in order to grow, develop and produce quality milk, but it isn’t always easy to get your hands on enough feed for a herd like the size of the one at Gladtime Dairy. Finding a cost-effective way to produce feed in-house and with very little impact on the environment can change the way your dairy farm operates. Gladtime Dairy did just this when they purchased a custom-designed fodder system.
The dry climate of Arizona had Bill Underwood and Scot Edwards searching for a way to provide 250 head of dairy cattle with fresh greens. Although the cattle had an abundance of dry feed at their disposal, such as hay, straw and pellets, Underwood and Edwards were looking for something that did not require a large environmental footprint and was more nutritious for their cattle.
As longtime customers, Underwood and Edwards turned to FarmTek for a solution to their dilemma. They found an answer in Grow-Tek GT80 NFT Channels and hydroponic accessories. They customized their own hydroponic system which would allow them to produce affordable, fresh fodder. Housed in their Solar Star™ Greenhouse, the new fodder system produces feed from seed in seven days. Edwards states “What would normally require approximately 300 acres to grow, we are now able to do in 2,000 sq. ft.”
Along with the smaller footprint, using their fodder system has been very beneficial for Gladtime Dairy in other ways. They noticed improvements in milk production and cattle health, as well as cost reductions. Edwards explains, “The animals love the fodder, so we put it on top of their normal feed. We feed 1 lb. fodder per 1 lb. dry matter. Before using this customized system, the normal ration of dry feed cost us $7.00 to $10.00 per cow each day. Now, including labor, it only costs us $0.32 per pound of seed, or $3.82 per cow.” With 250 head of cattle that is a huge savings. He continues, “Milk production has gone up and we’ve noticed better heat cycles, especially in the younger cattle.”
Are you using a fodder system to provide feed for your dairy cows? How is it working out?