I am interested in generating barley fodder for my farm animals to feed on. How long should they soak and at what frequency should they be soaked for creating the best fodder?

(There are a few people that soak their seeds, then keep the seeds in buckets/cups for the next couple of days to induce the sprouting process...then go to trays.)


This is certainly helpful, but not entirely the correct answer.


  • 2
    Can you describe how this relates to "sustainability"? For example, is barley somehow a more sustainable fodder than something else commonly used?
    – Nate
    Jul 28 '13 at 20:44
  • Fodder is a considerably more sustainable way of feeding your live stock than traditional "field of hay" style farming. You are able to plant a tray of nearly any grain and have a flake of fodder in about 7 days. Jul 28 '13 at 23:59
  • 1
    Ok, but you're not claiming fodder to be more sustainable because it sprouts in 7 days, right? The grain you had to start with takes a lot longer than that, with high energy, land, and water inputs to grow it. I haven't seen any studies comparing the energy efficiency (or other sustainability criteria) of fodder vs. hay, so I'm somewhat skeptical of this claim. Concerning your question, have you read this blog? This guy claims 8 days, although I'm not vouching for those results.
    – Nate
    Jul 30 '13 at 4:52
  • Yes I interact with David Capocci frequently on the fodder group on FB! I am also growing fodder in 10x20 trays and get the same results as he claims every morning. It is wonderful. However, this questions was more around the seed prep prior to putting them out to trays. There are a few people that soak their seeds, then keep the seeds in buckets/cups for the next couple of days to induce the sprouting process...then go to trays. Jul 31 '13 at 2:35
  • Thanks for the clarification. I added some of your last comment into the question, to make sure others don't misread the question as I did.
    – Nate
    Jul 31 '13 at 21:01

Sprouting is very dependent on temperature, the age of the seed, the species, and likely things that otherwise would only affect the flavour of pizza.

I would suggest something like this:

Get a series of pails. Make screen lids for them. (Take the regular lid, cut an 8" hole in it. Stick on 1/8 screen wire using silicon seal)

Put grain in the bucket. Soak for X minutes. Invert the bucket to drain.

Twice a day fill and drain the bucket. This is all just standard sprouting.

The buckets take up less room than trays, and you don't need the trays until the seeds sprout.

One you start to see sprouts, transfer the seeds to trays, and put in light. Again, you will need an easy way to fill and drain. A simple way is to put a hole in the bottom of the tray, and stuff it with a chunk of sponge. Add water to the tray. The water will slowly drain through the sponge. The size of the hole and how tight you pack the sponge controls the drip rate. This water may have nutrients for your livestock. A sponge is far less likely to block. A hole small enough to give soaking time will block with the first loose floaty that comes along.

Look into self starting syphons. Try on the marijuana hydroponic web pages.

As to optimum time -- that's tricky. My thought: When the sead leaves look ready to fall off the plant has converted most of the seed mass into young plant, but the amount of simple celluose is still at a minimum. Better than this would require nutrient testing

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