Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

October 31, 2013

Video: Pleasantville FFA learning about fodder

Steve Woodhouse
Journal-Express

Pleasantville — With grain prices approaching record highs, farmers are searching for a more cost-effective way to feed their livestock. Mac Harkin, a freshman member of the Pleasantville FFA Chapter, has taken on a small scale hydroponic fodder operation as an Ag Opportunity Project. 

Fodder is a grass grown from the same seeds as grain. The product is less expensive than hay and can be fed to any kind of livestock. Pleasantville FFA Advisor Monty Collins said the product has already gained popularity in Europe. 

Harkin saw a presentation on fodder at an ag day event in October. Living and working on a farm, he was glad to take on this project involving new technology. 

The fodder grows in stages, and as part of Harkin's project, he has different bins labeled at each stage. He hopes to learn more about the nutrition level in fodder. 

Collins said that because this is a new technology, there are many possibilities for it. He is unaware of any tests that have been done to see if there is any effect on humans, who consume meat from an animal fed fodder. 

Fodder is grown without chemicals. The water added to the seeds explodes the quantity of feed that becomes available for livestock.