Here are a few pictures of the barley fodder system that we use in the winter.
We soak the barley seeds in water for 24 hours, and then sprout them in 5 gallon buckets with drain holes drilled in the bottom. They seem to hold moisture and warmth better in the buckets and maybe the darkness allows the seeds to sprout better.
We then spread the sprouted seeds out in these flood-and-drain aquaponic trays and let them grow. It takes around 5 days for the fodder to get to a harvestable stage.
We then score the roots so the fodder can be broken into pieces so the boss cow doesn’t get the whole thing, and then pack it up in the picnic basket!
We have not automated the process, so we water by hand two or three times a day. The drain water flows to a tub, a submersible pump empties the water into the sink, and the sink drains outside in a rudimentary gray water system.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any sewer lines to conveniently tap into, but at least we have an opportunity to recycle the used water. We still need to work on instilling a rainwater garden to catch and store the water.
We feed fodder to the cattle to offer a bit more protein in the winter. Sometimes, we buy lick tubs made by a cod liver company, but they are expensive and not always available. We don’t feed the regular lick tubs from the feed store because they are all made from GMO soy, which we avoid.
If you know where we can get non-GMO or organic protein lick tubs, please let me know. In the meantime, the fodder is just a bit of insurance to keep the veterinarian away.