With drought conditions affecting most of NSW starting in 2017, and still not broken, we were forced to make a decision to reduce our stock dramatically or look at other options.
10 years previously, we had often helped out our neighbours growing barley fodder for his cattle from a purpose built shed (no longer in use). We discussed the option of us growing fodder in their shed for our stock and it started to become our only realistic option to keep our stud going so we forged ahead with his permission and blessing.
After many weeks of research, cleaning, overcoming difficulties sourcing grain, germination problems, controlling mould and temperature, we finally succeeded in turning 80 kg of barley grain into 500 – 750 kgs of lush, green, nutritionally-rich fodder in a 5 to 7 day cycle.
Our stock thrived on the fodder and while the process is a little labour intensive, harsh times mean looking outside the square at all options available and this is working for us and our stock. There are many articles that provide the nutritional value of growing sprouted barley and although our operation is small it is capable of yielding more feed than we need and our sheep have never looked better despite the climatic conditions.
We have dropped our fodder production back from harvesting every 2 days to every 3 days and intend to continue using the fodder for supplementation of feed and during hard climatic conditions to keep our stud viable.
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