AGROCONTECHSCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ECONOMY
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AGROCONTECH
SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ECONOMY

Contemporary Russian agriculture is at the verge of undergoing some vast changes. These changes are caused by several factors, namely, perpetually changing climate, admission to WTO and consequent introduction of new agricultural standards, price drops and intensification of competition.

Stock-breeding industry has taken it especially rough.
For several years in a row, farmers and directors of agricultural plants were trying to solve the problem of poor fodder yields. The primary factors for that problem were drought and insufficient technical supply of fodder-making equipment to agricultural producers. Consequently, this caused many agricultural enterprises to violate the standards of fodder conservation and storage which led to a deficit of high-nutrition, high-quality fodders necessary for successful agricultural growth.

After Russian Federation joins World Trade Organization, new regulations for food production and animal feed standards will come into effect. According to estimations on the development of this situation, given by several Russian and foreign experts, a significant part or (according to some experts) even majority of livestock products produced in Russia will be prohibited from sales. The primary reason for this prohibition is that farm animals are fed poor-quality fodders which leads to poor livestock yield and high incidence of diseases. As a result, livestock products obtained from such animals do not meet the standard requirements and may contain antibiotics, heavy metals and other dangerous substances.

It is a common knowledge that green fodder serves as a source of vitamins and biologically active substances necessary for proper farm animal nutrition. Green fodder consumption significantly increases animal fertility, livestock yield and resistance to various diseases, thus, decreasing animal mortality, consumption of expensive vitamin concentrates, biologically active substances and veterinary drugs.

During the summer period, grazing animals consume enough green fodder to experience vitamin deficiency. During winter, animals receive significantly less nutrient substances due to decrease in both vitamin concentration in fodders and amount of fodder fit for animal consumption. Some farm units still continue to use feed grain and expensive compound feed-stuff during the cold weather. Almost 50% of such feeds is simply transformed to manure, while consumption of some concentrates may be detrimental to animal as it may cause various diseases.

Affordable agricultural methods of almost complete fodder utilization, which positively affects animal health, have been established long ago. Hydroponic green fodders (HGF) contain huge amounts of proteins and available energy and can be well digested by a majority of farm animals. HGF are sprouted grain (e.g., barley, rye or oats) seeds which turn into highly nutritious, biologically complete, environmentally safe high-quality animal feedstuff.

HGF cultivation process is carried out by special equipment utilizing only water and nutritious substances. As a result, a grass carpet enriched with nutritious substances and containing a layer of thickly intertwined roots is obtained.

Utilization of HGF in, for example, bovine cattle diet allowed to achieve the following results:

1. nutrient value of animal diet increased;

2. both quality and yield of cow milk increased;

3. young bovine cattle body weight gain and slaughter yield increased;

4. morbidity of young bovine cattle decreased;

5. productive prime of farm animals was prolonged;

6. dependence of stock-breeding enterprises from weather and climate conditions decreased.



Methods of hydroponic green fodder cultivation were a subject of serious scientific research as far back as Soviet times. 50 years ago information about these methods was available in Russia. The tests showed that utilization of these methods allowed to achieve incredibly good milk yield and body weight gain. Currently, large farm enterprises in USA, UK and Australia pay great attention to HGF methods utilization.


Utilization of HGF in livestock feeding and animal breeding has several unique competitive advantages:

- required amounts of green fodder can be produced throughout the year regardless of climatic conditions;

- compared to grass and feed grain (natural livestock forage), HGF contain more vitamins, as it is raised in ideal conditions using hydroponic solutions while the crops are harvested when concentration of beneficial nutrient compounds and vitamins has reached its peak; according to experts, inclusion of HGF to animal diet allows to supply animal with 50-70% of required amount of vitamins.

- HGF chemical composition and nutritious value of dry matter is as good as original fodder; according to calculations, 1 kg of HGF dry matter contain 0.9-1.1 fodder units, 20-25% of proteins and 250-300 mg of carotene, while 1 kg of meadow hay dry matter contain only 0.4-0.5 fodder units, 4-5% of proteins and 30 mg of carotene;

- verdant grass yield of cultivated grassland is 4-6 thousand fodder units per hectare, grass yield of free unrestricted grazing lands is 1 thousand fodder unit per hectare while grass yield of vegetation area of hydroponic plant is up to 3000 fodder units per hectare which means that hydroponic plant yield is 300 times higher.

- HGF production is wasteless because the whole plant with proliferated root system is used as an animal fodder;

- HGF is rich in folic acid, a vitamin (B9) responsible for normal functioning of animal reproductive system and stimulate healthy animal proliferation;

- it allows efficient land-use management: as HGF cultvation requires a minimal amount of land area, the remaining land can be used more economically efficient, or, as an alternative, it allows to grow livestock without the need of cultivate your own plants.