Abigail’s Fodder for Thought – Use What You’ve Got!
With the number of options on the market today, making the decision to purchase any product can be overwhelming. Do you get the Dodge with the Hemi or something built “Ford Tough?” For a new rod and reel, are you more apt to go to Bass Pro Shops or Cabela’s? With over 30 years of business experience, FarmTek understands the vast market options available to the American agricultural community. This is why we operate with a “build to suit the customer” mentality with our Fodder-Pro 2.0 Feed Systems.
This “build to suit the customer” approach raises a common question—“Why would I retrofit an existing area on my farm to accommodate the fodder system when I could simply drop some grow modules into the area and get growing?” Since one of the largest benefits of growing your own hydroponic feed is the minimal space requirement, this is a valid question.
From the first time I grew with the Fodder-Pro 2.0 Feed System, I could see the benefits of a larger working area. I was able to have a work table to hold my scale to weigh seeds. I had storage space for bags of extra seeds and supplies. I had a wash sink for sanitizing. There were spaces to keep the circulating fans running, but out of my way. I even felt safe working on step stools and ladders as I had plenty of clear floor space. I noticed all of these benefits and was thankful for them within the first week of growing with the system.
My first harvest was during the winter in Connecticut and to say it was chilly would be an understatement. In taking the fodder outside, I recognized another benefit to having all my work indoors—it was WARM! With growing cabinets or trailers, customers are often outdoors to seed and harvest the channels. Since I’ve lived in New England my entire life, I know there are very few times during the winter when the weather permits me to stand outside for long periods of time, especially when working with water. With larger growing areas you are able to pull the equipment you need right into the space, do all the fodder chores, and then back right out.
The larger area also lends to better energy efficiency. At first, this may seem impossible since there is a larger area to heat and cool. This is true; however, by only having doors open for a few minutes (just to get in and out) rather than half an hour to an hour (for seeding and harvesting) your environmental controls do not have to work as hard to compensate for temperature changes. This is true in both the summer and the winter.
Another point I often mention in comparing and contrasting market options with customers is that some companies offer work space within their growing modules. Yes, this is nice as you can step in and close the door; however, now you’re paying for square footage that you cannot grow in. Some growing cabinet companies even encourage customers to place their units inside existing facilities on the farm to prevent them from having to stand outside and give them more area to work. My question is: “Why pay for the square footage of a grow cabinet if you still need to use an existing space to prep the trays?”
The bottom line is, the American farming community is quite ingenious and producing your own fodder is not difficult, so use what you have available to minimize your upfront investment. This will not only save you money on the forefront but ensure that you receive your return on investment as soon as possible. I have customers successfully producing fodder in places from basements to greenhouses, so with a little out-of-the-box thinking, we can get anyone growing!
Do you have a place you’d like to grow fodder but aren’t sure it will work? Ask us about it!