A beef farmer from West Cork, Dr Steve Collins has found an innovative way to avoid the feeding crisis.
Steve, a founder of the Dingle Dexter Beef Company feeds his herd of 50 Dexter cattle, hydroponically grown barley seeds.
British company, Fodder Solutions, provides the climatically controlled growing system in which Steve grows the seeds. The seeds grow into a lush mat of barley grass in six days; the unit is operated on a rotational system producing 350-450k of fresh green fodder each day.
“My land wouldn’t stand up to 50 cattle without the Fodder Solutions system and I believe that if I had been feeding them silage last winter it would have cost me double,” expalined Steve.
“I can plan ahead and know how much it will cost me to keep my cattle through the winter. I am not dependent on our increasingly unpredictable climate to feed them. Our cattle are very healthy, and their general vitality and fertility is great”.
As there is no need to cut silage from the land, it can be rested far more, Steve said “through resting the land, we are reclaiming what was rough, boggy land worth under €1,000 an acre into what is now clover pasture and reasonable grazing land”.
Dr Steve Collins, MBE is both a medical doctor and has a doctorate in nutrition. He is a director of Valid International and Valid Nutrition, companies which help provide nutritional food to people in deprived areas of the world. His in-depth knowledge of nutrition attracted him to the Fodder Solutions system because he understood that much of the nutrition from grain is indigestible and passes straight through an animals gut. This makes grain or grain based concentrates relatively inefficient at nourishing animals.
The Fodder Solutions hydroponically grown feed eliminates the need to feed silage or costly concentrates to cattle.
Barley seeds are placed in a growing tray in the Fodder Solutions hydroponic growing system, they grow in 6 days and are ready to feed as a 15 to 20cm high grass mat. The system provides a consistent, daily supply of fresh feed for beef and dairy cattle to horses and sheep. Over 90% of the feed is digestible and the entire mat of feed is edible so there is no waste.
For further details please visit www.foddersolutions.co.uk, or call 024 7660 8088.