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Canada: Keeping cattle satisfied by growing fodder in -30

"Growing fodder indoors really makes things simple as they don't require as much light as other indoor 'crops'. The towers are rather customizable thus any type of spectrum can be applied to the fodder, or whatever crops are cultivated inside the system," says Liam Holm of Strawman Farms Inc.

The fodder grow room

Strawman Farm is a livestock operator who hasn't been shying away from farming indoors as they also have a strawberry farm up and running. Operating from Edmonton, Canada, the fodder room which includes seven towers, runs 24/7 to keep the cattle satisfied. Every tower is planted one day apart to keep the cattle fed throughout the winter season, 7 days a week.

Harvesting time

For harvesting, the rows of fodder can be easily removed and placed inside a box to eventually transport them by truck to feed the hungry animals afterward. "The towers are rotating which makes harvesting incredibly easy," Liam explains. An operator would push the button that makes the towers automatically rotate forward or backward, making crops accessible for harvest.

"If you ask me, it's a no-brainer to set this up on your ranch as you cannot get fresh greens in Central Alberta with minus 30 in January." Even the pigs were able to sneak in a bite as, they too, are a big fan of the barley fodder.

Inside the basil grow room

Multi-use product
Besides having tried strawberries, and fodder, the team is now cultivating basil in its system to show the versatility of the system. The system uses 60 sq. ft. (5,6m2) of floor area to grow around 972 plants in total. Depending on the ceiling height, they also come in 6m tall towers which would result in a capacity of 1944 plants. Then, there's also the 9m variant that would be able to house about 2916 plants.

"We can grow basil using our homemade substrate which includes charcoal, coco coir, and perlite. However, we also have the hydroponic version available," Liam adds.

For more information:
Strawman Farms Inc.
Bob Strawman, founder
[email protected]