I was out and about this past weekend and stopped by a barn that has instituted a fodder grass growing system to assist in keeping “food on the table” for the horses. As many know, I'm in California, and the West is experiencing an epic drought and several state and federal agencies are scrambling to provide assistance to farmers and ranchers in this declared state of emergency.
Of course, the hay prices affect us all and high prices are likely to continue this year in some parts of the country due to a competitive export market, water availability, and the high price of fuel. This gives a little elbow room to fodder growing systems. Basically, they are a “grow it yourself” hydroponic grass growing system that produces ready to eat fresh grass from seeds in as little as 6 days.
Check out this video which shows how it is done.
There are several competitors on the market, but they basically all offer products that, at least on the surface, appear quite similar. Among the ones we found are: FodderTech, Fodder Solutions, Fooder Feeds, Fodder Solutions Northwest, and Fodder Pro.
For the most part, you either purchase or rent a refrigerated cargo container, which houses the growing system. Then, you purchase seeds, water, grow, feed, repeat. The horses seem to love the fresh green grass, and the increased water content in the fresh feed can lower chances of dehydration.
The cost and number of units you need due to the number of horses you feed may be the downside. The upside, of course, is control of your horse's forage. The jury is still out on whether it's worth investigating, and we'd love to hear your feedback on this subject.