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Over recent years, severe shortages is food supplies for livestock have been experienced in Egypt and many other countries in the region, mainly due to reported drought as well as shortage of water for irrigation. Many projects to produce forages have been established during the last two decades to cover some green forage needs in these countries. Hydroponic technique can be used for green fodder production of many forage crops. It is a well-known technique for high fodder yield, year round production and least water consumption. However, there are some arguments about sprouting grains for convenience of green forage production in hydroponic system to compensate the feed resources for animals, (Rajendra et al. 1998 and Tudor et al. 2003) because the dry matter intake of green fodder by feed lot animals were low due to its high moister content and there is a loss of approximately 12% of the total dry matter in sawing grains as well as the high production cost.
Therefore this study was designed to investigate the effect of two available crop residues (Rice and wheat straw) media when used as sprouting growing media on green fodder production of barley and soybean.
The objectives of using rice and wheat straw media for green fodder production were to decrease the hydroponic production problems by decreasing the fodder product moister content and cost with increasing the product dry matter content.
The experimental materials were barely grains and soybean seeds for sprouting in addition to rice and wheat straw as growing media.
The obtained data will be presented under 2 separate to piece:
A- Tray experiments:
1- The percentage of loss in seedling dry weight grown in rice straw medium (17%) was not significant with hydroponic treatment (15%), recommended that rice straw medium is preferable for barley seeding growth and producing green fodder sprouts than wheat straw medium.
2- Concerning the expected fodder dry weight (kg/kg seeds) and (kg/m2), the data showed that one kilogram of dry barley and soybean seeds and one square meter can produce about (4.7 – 3.7 kg / kg seeds) and (27 – 25) kg /m2 of dry barely and soybean sprout fodder respectively in wheat straw medium in 7 days with significantly increased than rice straw medium (4.5 – 3.7 kg / kg seeds) of dry fodder respectively).
3- Percentage of both sprouts barley and soybean in dry fodder yield increase significantly with using rice straw medium compared with using wheat straw medium. Seeding density of 50% to 100% increased percentage of barley and soybean sprouts in dry fodder yield more than 16% in both rice and wheat growing media.
4- The barley sprout shoot length, percentage of sprouts in fresh fodder and percentage loss in sprouts dry weight increased with increasing growing periods from 4 to 7 days and the highest value were recorded 7 days after seed sowing. Data was more pronounced with rice straw growing medium compared with wheat straw growing medium.
5- The fresh yield per unit grain volume (kg) and per unit area (m2) loss percentage in fodder dry yield and percentage increment in fresh fodder yield increased with increasing growing period from 4 to 7 days.
6- The highest sprout length (cm) was obtained in the medium thickness (3.6 kg/m2) followed by the higher thickness (5.4 kg/m2) while the shorter length was obtained in the lowest thickness (1.8 kg/m2). The highest percentage of seedling in fresh and dry fodder was obtained with lower medium thickness (1.8 kg/m2) followed by middle thickness (3.6 kg /m2).
7- The dray yield per unit volume of seeds (kg) and per unit are (m2) increased as the growing medium thickness increased and the highest losses percentage of the fodder was obtained with lower medium thickness (1.8 kg/m2). The data was more pronounced with rice straw medium than wheat straw medium, also the highest increasing percentage of the fodder was obtained with lower medium thickness (1.8 kg / m2) followed middle medium thickness (3.6 kg / m2). However both lower and middle media thickness recorded more than 100% increment in fodder fresh yield.
8- Soaking medium overnight in cold water alone or boiled for 10 minutes after soaking before grain sowing, increased significantly barely sprout shoot length and percentage of sprout in fresh and dry fodder yield as compared with using dry medium without soaking.
9- The effect of soaking barely grains overnight before sowing on barley sprout studied characters showed significant effect in all characters as compared with sowing dry grains are similar to soaking medium effects compared with dry medium.
10-Soaking rice straw medium was more pronounced for increasing percentage of sprouts in fresh and dry fodder yield followed by soaked wheat straw medium than dry media. On the other hand the dry wheat straw medium recoded the highest percentage loss in barely sprout dry weight.
11-Sowing soaked grains on soaking rice straw medium recorded the highest percentage of sprouts in dry fodder while the lowest percentage was obtained when sowing dry grains on dry wheat straw.
12- Soaking medium overnight in cold water alone or boiled for 10 minutes after soaking before grain sowing, increased significantly fodder fresh and dry weight per unit area (m2) and per unit volume of seed (kg) as compared with using dry medium without soaking. The effect of soaking barely grains overnight before sowing on barely sprout showed significant effect in all studied characters as compared with sowing dry grains similar to soaking medium effects compared with dry medium.
13- The higher dry fodder yield per unit area (m2) and unit seed velum (kg) were obtained when soaked barely grains were sowing on rice straw growing medium while the lowest yield were obtained by sowing dry seeds on wheat straw growing medium which recorded also the higher percentage loss in fodder dry yield.
14- When barley sprouted in water culture the sprout shoot length, sprout fresh weight and percent loss in sprout dry matter increased as the sprouting time increased till 14 days after seed sawing. Sprouting period increase sprouts fresh weight about 5.5 fold after 7 days of sprouting. On the other hand, barely sprout dry weight decreased as the sprouting time period increased till 14 days of sprouting in water culture without nutrients.
B- Chemical analysis; Relative feed value and feed cost evaluation :
15- Total protein, lipid and carbohydrates increased in both barley and soybean sprouts dry media with increasing barley and soybean seed density on the medium while fiber and ash content decreased.
16- Concerned fiber fraction content, NDF, ADF and cellulose decreased with increasing seeding density of barley and soybean on wheat and rice straw media. The highest improvement was noticed with higher seed density (100%).
17- INV-DMD increased after 7 days of barley and soybean at 100% seeding density regarding to lower contents of NDF and CF in barely and soybean sprouts at this seeding density (100%) and also to digestible carbohydrates and protein during sprouting.
18- The dry matter intake (DMI); digestible dry matter (DDM) and relative feed value (RFV) increased with increasing seed density for both barley and soybean either grown on rice straw or on wheat straw media. The DMI of higher seeding density (75 and 100%) was almost equal to corn silage but less than hydroponic barley sprouts or dry grain barley.
19- The estimated cost per ton DM and total digestible nutrients (TDN) increased with increasing barley and soybean seeding density. The highest price was recorded at 100%. However 75% and 100% of barley sprouts grown on rice straw provides DM and TDN at a cost approximately close to alfalfa in L.E. per ton and cost less than hydroponic barley except for protein cost in alfalfa which recorded the lower cost.
20- All sprouts grown especially on rice medium at different seeding density are most economical sources of DM and TDN compared with hydroponic barley regarding to relative cost percentage while its economical of DM and TDN only using barley on rice straw compared with alfalfa with no economic CP.
Finally, the fresh green feed barley sprout grown especially on rice straw medium allows obtaining a good quality fresh forge all year around. This technique also allows using rice straw by product for feeding instead of being burned and causing pollution. Moreover the higher soaked barley seeding density grown on soaking rice straw medium can be recommended for its lower fodder cost (L.E. / Ton) of dry matter (DM) and energy (TDN) compared with hydroponic barley and alfalfa in addition to its advantage on saving agricultural lands since it can grow on roofs in smaller house area about 1: 150 and 1: >300 compared to corn silage and alfalfa area respectively. Also for its less water consumption and higher quality nutrient and they contain grass juice factor that can gives on improved performance to livestock.