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NFGCS using hydroponic technology to develop food for cattle

The Nigeria Farmers Group and Cooperative Society (NFGCS) is currently using hydroponic system to develop crops in 7 to 8 days with the aim of feeding animals,  especially cattle.
The Farm Manager of NFGCS, Peter Ogbeide while speaking with journalists in the farm at Ga’ate, Nasarawa state, said this system became imperative following the continued crisis between farmers and herdsmen.
He said the system which is easy to practice allows the farmer to feed the animals with balanced diet ranging from cereal to legumes. 
He said with the system, in about 7 to 8 days, grains weighing about 1kg would rise to weigh about 5kg and ready to be used as feed for animals. 
“The Hydroponic system is using water to grow your crop without the need for a soil, what we are trying to do is to be able to grow crops which we can be using to feeding our cattle.

“Basically we were looking for a system to grow crops to feed our cattle in every seven days, and one of the best ways that we figured out was the Hydroponic system.

“The idea is that if you have 1kg of grains, what you do is to soak them in water so that the grain can have a lot of water in it that will enable it to start sprouting”, he said.
Explaining how it works, Ogbeide said “When the grain is soaked for 24hrs, you will see a sign that it has started sprouting, then drain out the water, we have a locally fabricated basket which we add some polythene bags which would be perforated so that they can retain water”.
He said a tank of water is attached to the Hydroponic system, then pipes are run like shower over the baskets.
“The Hydroponic system can help you maximize that 1kg of grain into 5kg within a period of 7 to 8 days.
“We have a fulani man who is managing it. We are trying to let him now that you can be able to grow your crop within your environment, no need of taking your cattle around”, he said
“So, what this will do is that it will help solve the farmers/herders crisis. Everybody can have this Hydroponic in his location so that cattle would not be taken to a long distance for food.
“The food contains balance diet, you can give them maize in the morning, give them beans in the afternoon, then give them rice in the evening.
“And because it is Hydroponic, it contains a lot of water, so as they are eating, they are also drinking water and the water itself aids in digestion”, he noted.
Furthermore, Ogbeide said the system would help improve meat production because the cattle are eating balanced diet.
“We believe that with this Hydroponic system, you will get more benefits.
“We believe if you have a cattle that weighs 250kg, we believe with this solution, if you feed them well with the balanced diet, in 30 months time they would be able to add about 150kg to the weight.
“We realised that if we can have this solution on ground, it will save the herdsmen the time the spend in taking their cattle from one location to another, it will save them those stress, and their cattle will do much better, they will get more productivity from their cattle business.
“We also realised that during dry season, it is always difficult from then to get food for their cattle, even when they are grazing, they have to travel long distance,  so it means if we have a Hydroponic system in place for them, they don’t have to go any place, during the wet and dry season, they have 100 per cent food for their cattle”, he added.

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