But Does it Make Financial Sense? September 23 2016, 0 Comments

As a FodderWorks dealer in the Midwest, I get this question a lot.  So, does sprouting fodder for livestock feed make sense financially?  And, is it still making financial sense with low feed prices?

You have to admit - there is something truly amazing about sprouting fodder for livestock feed.  My kids especially love the sweet smell, feel, and taste (yes, I said taste) of the fresh fodder in our F650 each day that we feed to our sheep, cows, horse, and donkeys.  I continue to be impressed with the health improvement we've seen in our animals, most especially our miniature horse Sunny, who as a 19-year-old founder-survivor, looks better than she has in years.

Last month we spent 11 days in our booth at the Iowa State Fair, and during that time our F320 fodder system produced 3,520 lbs of forage on an 80 sq. ft. footprint.  Being in the booth for 12 hours a day, we could literally watch the fodder grow inside the machine.  As a livestock producer on our farm in Southern Iowa, I continue still marvel each day at how much the fodder will grow just in a few short hours.  

And that's all great - but is it cost effective?

The answer is: YES!  Producing fodder is a cost effective way to provide a consistent source of high quality nutrition to your livestock.  Our producers agree that "they love the feed", and they also readily admit that their system pays its own way on the farm, even at the low costs of corn, hay and other feedstuffs today.

We raise sheep on our farm, and my wife Kristen and I have been feeding lambs most of our lives.  Our journey with fodder began when we started searching for more cost effective feedstuffs.  I discovered fodder on the internet, and soon found FodderWorks and the FodderWorks Return on Investment (ROI) calculator. http://www.fodderworks.net/pages/roi-calculator 

The FodderWorks ROI calculator was the tool that helped me understand two important things: 1)Fodder is not only a high quality, high protein feedstuff, but cost effective to produce, and 2) because a pound of barley seed sprouts into 6 - 8 lbs of fodder, even if the cost of seed varies, your output cost will remain much more stable than other purchased feeds.  

For example, the current cost for a complete, pelleted ration made of from a local supplier to feed out lambs is $220 per ton, or 11 cents per pound. Lambs will eat 4-5 lbs of this pelleted feed from self-feeders each day. 

As an alternative, lambs will eat roughly 2.5 lbs of fodder (as fed) and 1.5-2 lbs of medium quality hay as roughage.

If I was to keep 295 lambs on feed, which is roughly what I could do with the F650 machine I have, I could save enough money feeding fodder and hay for roughage, instead of the complete pelleted ration, to pay for a new F650 machine in 16 months.  That is figured with a 30 cent per pound cost for high quality barley seed, cleaned and germination tested.

If seed costs were to skyrocket to 60 cents per pound, or, double from what they are now, my ROI is now 29 months.

More importantly, by choosing fodder, I will have secured my feed costs for the long term, made a wise equipment investment that will continue to save me money for years to come, and improved the overall health of my animals.

With the wide variability of fed lamb prices from year-to-year, as well as the wide swings in commodity feed prices, I knew that I needed a steady feed cost to consistently turn a profit raising lambs.  Growing fodder can make that possible!

See you next time,

Justin Akers
FodderWorks Midwest LLC
Your FodderWorks dealer in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska