Is hydroponic fodder the next big thing?
Hydroponic fodder has been around for a long time as some primitive systems were used back in the early 20th century. Nonetheless, in recent years, with the advent of climate change, the need to reduce carbon emissions as well as the cost of food has taken hydroponic fodder back on the front stage.
Indeed, important deals were closed in the United States, and an increasing number of companies in the Middle East (and in other regions) now focus on hydroponic fodder systems.
Today, livestock feeding is a problem as the successive heatwaves, droughtiness and flooding have led many farmers throughout the world to sell part of their herd as there is not enough food to feed all of them. Farmers have also taken on their winter stocks leaving them with no other option but to buy expensive & scarce fodder, hays, and other cereals to feed their animals. In turn, this may exacerbate an already pressured food chain and may contribute to shooting inflation rates higher than they already are.
There are still some debates on whether fodder farming is profitable or not as energy costs and the capital expenditure (the actual price of the system) are high. However, the fact that hydroponic fodder farming may lead animals to increase in weight and therefore increase revenue for the farmer makes it profitable.
Moreover, the current climate conditions, expected to worsen in years to come will have an impact as farmers may have no other choice but hydroponic fodder farming to grow food for their livestock.
Questions remain regarding the increase in water density as once cooked some meats actually weigh less than “traditional” livestock feed as demonstrated in the research cited above.
So, is hydroponic fodder farming a solution? What are the effects on animal weight? Is it profitable? Where is the market growing?
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