What makes a FodderPro 2.0 Feed System?
Ready or not, winter is on its way. This time of year is often one of the most stressful for farmers all across the country, but it can be particularly tough for those located in the northern United States. The freezing temperatures add a level of difficulty to even the simplest task, and the blanket of snow that’s covering your field means that grazing livestock is no longer an option. Stockpiles of hay and grain often replace pasture during this time, but hay and grain are expensive, and the price of these feeds continues to rise. This year, relieve your stress and add a sense of security to your feed by adding a FodderPro Feed System to your farm.
Our FodderPro Feed Systems make producing hydroponic livestock feed easy. However, we have found that for customers that are on the fence about fodder, our systems can be overwhelming at first glance. We want to assure you that while these systems may seem complex, they really are quite simple. Perhaps the best way to show this is by explaining the basics of what makes the system work, and while we won’t explain every nut and bolt, we will give a crash course in our systems to help clarify how the FodderPro Feed System works.
Our FodderPro Feed System of course starts with the frame. Made from triple-galvanized steel, our frames are designed to save space and are built for strength. Our frames vary in size, with our smallest system standing at 5’ high and our largest 2.0 system standing at just over 10’ high, and widths as small as just 4’6”. These systems can fit in basements, barns, outbuildings or a newly created space, and if available space is an issue, wall-mounted systems are also available. After the frame is constructed, you will want to adjust the feet, so that there is a 4 to 6” slope for drainage. You want enough slope to ensure that the water reaches the ends of the channels, but not so much slope that the water runs through the channel too quickly. We have found that the 4 to 6” range gives the best water flow, but be sure to check your system regularly in the first few days and make any adjustments as necessary.
Water Supply & Electrical
Your water can be supplied from just about any source. City water, private wells and even natural ponds and streams can serve as your water supply. Depending on your water source however, you may need to include filters to ensure that your water is clean and that dirt and minerals do not build up within the system and cause it to clog. The water supply line consists of a ¾” main shut-off valve, timer, solenoid, water pressure regulator and water pressure gauge. We recommend that there be an electrical source in the area where you will be growing the fodder. This is because our fodder systems require the use of a timing system and you may also need supplemental lighting. We recommend setting the timers to run your watering cycle for 2 minutes every 2 hours, and make any necessary adjustments from there. Fodder is able to grow in the dark, but it will be yellow in color and the yield will be quite low. We recommend running lights for a few hours each day if there is not a natural light source in your growing area.
Water pressure must also be controlled. FodderPro Feed Systems are designed to operate at 10 PSI, so a water pressure regulator is needed to reduce water pressure from most sources. You will also need a water pressure gauge to notify you of any issues with the water pressure.
Supply and Drain Manifolds
The supply manifold is PVC pipe that attaches to the end of the frame. This pipe runs up the center of the frame and has micro supply tubing coming off of it at each tier of the system with a single micro tube for each channel. The supply manifold attaches to the water supply and the micro tubes distribute water to each channel. You can think of the supply manifold as a water highway, and the tubes can be thought of as exits along the highway. Located on the opposite end of the frame is the drain manifold, which is made of one vertical 2” PVC pipe with horizontally mounted pipes connected to each channel. This is where any water that has not been absorbed by the seeds or root mat drains away from the system. This prevents stagnant water buildup and reduces the risk of mold. Since these are drain-to-waste systems, those that are looking to reduce water consumption can collect the runoff water and re-use it to water gardens or livestock.
Our UV-stabilized, NSF-quality PVC growing channels are lightweight and easy to work with, which makes harvesting fodder a simple task. With a FodderPro 2.0 Feed System, you can have anywhere from two to four channels yielding up to 375 lbs. each day, depending on the system. If you are looking for higher yields however, our FodderPro 3.0 Commercial Feed Systems can be designed to produce any amount of fodder. With numerous channels you may assume that labor with the 2.0 system is extensive, but from harvesting to reseeding, customers can expect to spend less than 30 minutes per day working with their system.
If you are on the fence about purchasing a FodderPro 2.0 Feed System, we hope that your new understanding of the systems will help ease your mind. Using a fodder system will benefit your farm in many ways. Between the nutritional benefits for your livestock and reduced feed costs, the advantages of fodder are incredible. If you have any questions about our systems or would like additional information, stop by our website www.FodderSystems.com, or give us a call at 1.800.327.6835 and speak with a knowledgeable Fodder Specialist.