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Discussion Starter #1
I have been researching sprouts and fodder systems for several years. I've conducted numerous tests on sprouting feeds for animals. The more I read, especially studies on fodder, the more it appears that the best thing to do is to sprout no longer than 4 days, rather than go all the way to fodder.

I know this is a debated issue on this forum, but I haven't seen a good explanation of the process, including the math.

People talk about the dry matter loss in fodder, and certainly, it paints a bad view of fodder. But, when you actually do the math and include the digestibility figures, the picture changes a bit. Seeds do lose DM when sprouted to 8 days, but at the beginning of the sprouting process, there is a gain of DM.

Look at this document: http://www.qcl.farmonline.com.au/files/48/20/01/000012048/Hydroponicfodder.pdf

It brings up some really good points about fodder and sprouts. Fodder at 8 days is 15% dry matter, 85% water. So, if you took 1 lb of grain and grew fodder with it, you get 6 lbs of fodder. But, that 6 lbs of fodder has only .9 lbs of actual feed, the rest is water.

The original grain is 90% DM, so about .9lbs of feed. Whole grain is 40% digestible, but ground grain is close to 75% digestible. Ground grains do lose nutrients the longer they sit, so it is best to grind the grains right before feeding to get the most nutrients (and most of these tests use freshly ground grains for measurements).

Sprouts at 4 days have 80% dry matter, and usually about 2.5-3 lbs per pound of original grain. So, at 2.5 lbs, that is 2 lbs of feed (more than fodder and the original grain).

So, at first glance, fodder doesn't seem to add anything. But, then digestibility comes into it. Whole grain is about 40% digestible, Ground grain is about 75%, Fodder is 75%, and 4 day sprouts is 85%.

From the figures above, that gives us the actual feed digested by the animal out of 1 lb of grain (including the DM figures):
Whole grain: 1 x .9 (DM) x .4 (digestibility) = .36 lbs feed value
Ground grain:1 x .9 (DM) x .75 (digestibility) = .68 lbs feed value
4 Day Sprouts: 1 x 2.5 (sprouts) x .8 (DM) x .85 (digestibility) = 1.7 lbs feed value
Fodder: 1 x 6 (sprout) x .1 (DM) x .75 (digestibility) = .68 lbs feed value

So, it's quite clear that the best route, as far as measured feed value, is to sprout to just 3-4 days. This doesn't take into account enzymes, vitamin content, unmeasurables,etc, that can play a role in the feed value of a particular method. It should be noted that protein does not actually increase in fodder. Concentration of protein increases, because DM drops so low. The actual weight of protein is the same as the raw grain. Fodder and sprouts do have more vitamins than the original grain.

This leads me to believe that it is better to sprout to 4 days, which is the peak of digestibility and dry matter, and at the point where carbs are converted to sugars for growth.

There is a lot of conflicting information out there on fodder, and most of the studies I have seen (that were not from fodder companies) seem to conclude that fodder is not the worth the effort. Sprouts, however, would be. Fodder has a significant advantage over whole grains.
 

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Great article and info thanks for posting it. Not all the way through the paper but I thought this statement was interesting...

. "Such quality improvements may be more applicable to horses and humans than to commercial cattle. Sprouted legumes have been used to prevent scurvy in humans (Leitch
1939). For horses, sprouts provide high energy and protein, low starch, no dust and a useful
supplement of vitamin E and biotin (Cuddeford 1989). Ruminants synthesise many of their own
vitamins in the rumen. Cattle are also less efficient at using high quality feeds than horses or
monogastrics such as pigs and people".

Anyone have an idea on how goats and rabbits would fit into the above profile?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Anyone have an idea on how goats and rabbits would fit into the above profile?
goats would be more similar to cows, rabbits more like horses. Though that's not an exact comparison, cows and rabbits are very different when it comes to digestive systems.

There is actually a lot of conflicting info in the paper, because it pulls from several studies, and not all of the studies had the same results/conclusions.

But, to me, the big thing that jumps out is that DM and nutrition can increase temporarily with sprouts, and compared to feeding whole grain, sprouting is a significant advantage.
 

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If a homesteader only had limited time to sprout for some but not all the animals, would you say the critters that would benefit the most is the rabbits and pigs? Assuming the farm consists of cattle (meat and dairy),goats,rabbits,chickens). What does everyone think?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If a homesteader only had limited time to sprout for some but not all the animals, would you say the critters that would benefit the most is the rabbits and pigs? Assuming the farm consists of cattle (meat and dairy),goats,rabbits,chickens). What does everyone think?
That's hard to tell. What are the other options for feed for the rabbits and pigs? is it just grain/pellets vs sprouts or do they also get other stuff?

I think both would benefit from them, but probably rabbits would benefit more than pigs.
 

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The pigs get ground oats, some ground sorghum, a kitchen leftovers, some hay. We grind the oats ourselves and feed right away. (the sorghum can not be sprouted so that is not an option).

The rabbits is something we will be getting soon. I am not sure how we are going to feed the rabbits as we will not be able to buy the pelleted feed for them.
I was also leaning toward the idea rabbits might benefit the most.

Though thinking it might be useful for the meat birds. Our laying hens seem to do well on the whole grain diet, but the meat birds are slow to grow out. But, saying that it seem it is the protein they need more of and from the paper sprouting does not seem to increase the protein levels.

Hmm..I wonder if I sprouted the seeds would float and work for feeding fish.
 

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Having just butchered two pigs that we raised primarily on sprouted barley, I think I can tell you that time in the trays can only predict so much because the slightest variations in temperature and lots of other factors will bring on a lot of variations from tray to tray, or even from one part of a tray to another.

We did our sprouting under a metal roof with open sides and covered the trays with screenwire to keep out the birds. If you can do this in a climate-controlled setting with no variations in light or temp or humidity, you prob'ly can get uniform results, but any other way will get you so much variation that a study is pretty much guesswork.

Even the pre-soak of the seeds if left a tad longer or done a bit warmer than another batch can start the root growing just enough to make getting a uniform carpet of seeds on the bottom of the tray unlikely, and a clumped layer of seed will give you an uneven yield in that tray or make it take longer for the stuff to all grow equally tall.

No opinions about how long it should grow and I'm not much into the high science of the process, but just voicing an opinion that there are a LOT of variables that make it easy to oversimplify. BUT......if you are into oversimplification like I am, i will tell you that feeding those pigs up on the sprouts/fodder was a good move in my estimation, and provided some VERY tasty pork at a reasonable price, and I'll prob'ly do it again when the freezer starts looking empty......Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #8
(the sorghum can not be sprouted so that is not an option).
actually, sorghum can be sprouted, and many people do sprout it. It needs to grow beyond 60 hours, I believe. There have been several University studies on sprouted sorghum as a feed, let me see if I can find some links, or just do a google search.


The rabbits is something we will be getting soon. I am not sure how we are going to feed the rabbits as we will not be able to buy the pelleted feed for them.
I was also leaning toward the idea rabbits might benefit the most.
Rabbits do well on alfalfa based diets, and with alfalfa + sprouted wheat, you would do well. Even a simple wheat+oats+BOSS mix with alfalfa would be a decent diet.

Hmm..I wonder if I sprouted the seeds would float and work for feeding fish.
I assume they would, if they are herbivores.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Having just butchered two pigs that we raised primarily on sprouted barley, I think I can tell you that time in the trays can only predict so much because the slightest variations in temperature and lots of other factors will bring on a lot of variations from tray to tray, or even from one part of a tray to another.
yes, the comparisons in this article and this discussion are between sprouts (shoot starting to emerge) vs fodder (green shoot several inches tall, usually a mat of roots)


if you are into oversimplification like I am, i will tell you that feeding those pigs up on the sprouts/fodder was a good move in my estimation, and provided some VERY tasty pork at a reasonable price, and I'll prob'ly do it again when the freezer starts looking empty......Joe
Have you raised pigs on grain or concentrates before? how was their weight gain vs the pigs fed on sprouts? How about the amount of feed required?
 

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joe- Do you think overall that you were able to feed the pigs less feed because you were sprouting the seeds?

That is what I am hoping for. But, also trying to work smarter not harder.:spinsmiley:

velacreations- Sorghum is poisonous to animals until it gets about..I want to say 3 inches tall or something like that.
 

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velacreations- Sorghum is poisonous to animals until it gets about..I want to say 3 inches tall or something like that.
yes, I am well aware of potential toxicity of sorghum, but it can be done. The levels of toxins subside after emergence.
 

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I've been researching fodder and was also wondering about the information the original post contains. Thank you for posting it. It confirms my thoughts.
 

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I got 5 of these



and 5 of these



I fill up the lid with red wheat and put in the jar. Fill with water for 24 hours. Then every day they get filled/drained and everyday I have a jar full of sprouted grains for my chickens. One lid (1/3 cup) of wheat is a full jar of sprouted grains after 5 days.

They go crazy for them. They will jump up and try to take from my hands before I can toss in the run.
 
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