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I really want to get away from feeding alfalfa and love these systems. The price of the system and quantity of fodder is too much to invest in. I know zilch, nada, zero about hydroponics. Any ideas on how to make a smaller system? Or any leads to help research ideas?
Well, pooh. I always forget to check for new threads on this forum!
I don't think this would be too hard or expensive to do (or set-up), depending on how many cows you want to feed. It's simply making sprouts like I do in the kitchen, but on a larger scale. Of course to do it year-round, you'd need an environment with some temp control to prevent freezing in winter, or roasting in summer.
Hydroponics usually means growing in circulating water that contains nutrients. I don't know that would be necessary for sprouts. I do know if I don't rinse my growing sprouts daily, they sour and mold readily.
Tell me more about what you have, like how many cows, available working/growing area, yada, yada.
I thought the same thing so I designed one. You can see it at http://www.half-pinthomestead.com. Darius is right, no nutrients are needed, in fact they might cause mold. I keep mine in the living room.