California agricultural tech company Fodderworks – a division of Simply Country Inc. has created a fully automated robotic fodder-growing system that can produce daily quantities of fresh, non-genetically-modified food for livestock. With the goal being to save time, space, money and natural resources the system uses vertical farming techniques to produce sprouts – known as fodder when fed to livestock. Vertical farming is nothing new for the production of food for human consumption but the California based company believes along with the almost 10 billion humans to be fed by the year 2050, there will be many more livestock to feed as well and possibly less usable land. The process used to grow the fodder is simple, cheap and highly efficient. Grains are spread out on trays, the trays are stacked on shelves, and the trays washed in light and water from overhead lamps and sprayers. By the sixth day, the trays are each filled with a mat of bright green sprouts. The mats are then hauled off straight to the feedlot . No extra fertilizers. No pesticides. Barley seems to be the sprout of choice to replace or at a minimum be served alongside the traditional dry feed. Barley is not only deemed one of the highest in nutritional value but is readily available being that it is used in the brewing of beer. The innovation will allow farms choosing to adopt the Robotic method to save thousands of dollars over time when compared to the large labor force required to grow and deliver the sprouts. Critics of automation which puts humans out of work feel this is another example of the after effect of innovation. Fodderworks General Manager Kyle Chittock does not agree with this assessment as he states this type of production has never been done before. He believes the automated robot allows their customers to focus more on growing their businesses instead of being concerned about making feed. “The largest system we’ve installed, that’s manually operated, is out there producing five tons a day , but at that scale there’s a lot of labor involved. If you take the average dairy in California, they have over a thousand cows, and they don’t want to have to hire a bunch of people just to produce feed. That’s not what they want to focus their time and energy on.” Chittock goes on to say that by using their automated system of vertical farming, many jobs are created as a result of the resourcing and production of their equipment. As I have stated many times, you don’t have to use all the latest technology making its way into the ag space, but you better know it’s coming and determine if it can make your operation more efficient! Watch a video of Fodderworks in action by clicking HERE. (Source: Motherboard).

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