Concessional loans and assistance schemes
Concessional farm loan schemes are currently available from Commonwealth, NSW and Queensland governments for drought support, and for increasing drought resilience and farm enterprise sustainability.
We have indications from the respective bodies that fodder growing systems are eligible under these programs, however please check your own eligibility for such funding.
1. NSW – Drought Assistance Fund or Farm Innovation Fund
2. QLD – QRIDA Productivity Loans; First Start Loans or Sustainability Loans
3. Commonwealth (ALL states and territories) – Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) Farm Investment or Drought Assistance Loans
Dry Matter Equivalence
Dry Matter Equivalence (DME) is often the starting point of feeding comparisons, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Based on NSW DPI data for DME, the indicative base ration of barley sprouts compared to hay is 3.6:1, i.e. you would require 2.8kg of sprouts to provide the same DME as 800g of hay – read on for other considerations.
Energy and Protein Equivalence
Using the ratio above (3.6:1) to match the DME, a ration of barley sprouts provides at least the same energy but 65-75% more protein than oaten or wheaten hay.
However, ruminants continue to require some roughage in their diets.
Run at or below capacity
Over the depreciable lifetime of a system, the annual difference between investing in a smaller system or a larger one will be relatively small.
In this light, it might be easier to err towards running a larger system below capacity (by seeding fewer trays) rather than choosing a smaller system that you soon come to outgrow.
Grow for fodder, storage or sale?
There’s little reason that excess fodder production can’t be sold, donated or stored. Note that purchasing a system for the explicit purpose of selling fodder may affect eligibility for concessional loans.
To be completely clear, Destiny AG has not yet conducted experiments with storing barley sprouts as silage or hay but intends undertaking this within the Growing Smarter community.