Fodder

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A fodder factory set up by an individual farmer to produce customised cattle feed

Fodder or animal feed is any agricultural foodstuff used specifically to feed domesticated livestock, such as cattle, goats, sheep, horses, chickens and pigs. Most animal feed is from plants, but some is of animal origin. "Fodder" refers particularly to food given to the animals (including plants cut and carried to them), rather than that which they forage for themselves (see forage). It includes hay, straw, silage, compressed and pelleted feeds, oils and mixed rations, and sprouted grains and legumes.

The worldwide animal feed industry consumed 635 million tons of feed (compound feed equivalent) in 2006, with an annual growth rate of about 2%. The use of agricultural land to grow feed rather than human food can be controversial; some types of feed, such as corn (maize), can also serve as human food; those that cannot, such as grassland grass, may be grown on land that can be used for crops consumed by humans. Some agricultural byproducts fed to animals may be considered unsavory by human consumers.

Common plants specifically grown for fodder[edit]

Round hay bales
Newton of Cawdor stack of bales, sweet-smelling fodder stored for winter
Cut green fodder being transported to cattle in Tanzania

Types of fodder[edit]

Various types of legume (left) and grass (right) fodder

Health concerns[edit]

Barley is a crop sometimes grown for fodder

In the past, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or "mad cow disease") spread through the inclusion of ruminant meat and bone meal in cattle feed due to prion contamination. This practice is now banned in most countries where it has occurred. Some animals have a lower tolerance for spoiled or moldy fodder than others, and certain types of molds, toxins, or poisonous weeds inadvertently mixed into a feed source may cause economic losses due to sickness or death of the animals. The US Dept. of Health and Human Services regulates drugs of the Veterinary Feed Directive type that can be present within commercial livestock feed.

Production of sprouted grains as fodder[edit]

Fodder in the form of sprouted grains and legumes can be grown in small and large quantities. Systems have been developed recently that allow for many tons of sprouts to be produced each day, year round. Sprouted grains can greatly increase the nutritional value of the grain compared with feeding the ungerminated grain to stock. In addition, they use less water than traditional forage, making them ideal for drought conditions. Sprouted barley and other cereal grains can be grown hydroponically in a carefully controlled environment. Under hydroponic conditions, sprouted fodder at 150 mm tall with a 50 mm root mat is at its peak for animal feed. Although products such are barley are grain, when sprouted they are approved by the American Grassfed Association to be used as livestock feed.

Fodder Solutions on site system in the USA.
Fodder Solutions Grow Deck - Commercial Sprouting System

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Zhou, Yiqin. Compar[ison of] Fresh or Ensiled Fodders (e.g., Grass, Legume, Corn) on the Production of Greenhouse Gases Following Enteric Fermentation in Beef Cattle. Rouyn-Noranda, Qué.: Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, 2011. N.B.: Research report.

External links[edit]