We often get this question; “why sprout the grain; why not just feed it to the animal?” That question begs some explanation and justification through understanding. After all, getting to HydroGreen Healthy fodder is not free. The answer to that question and the justification for fodder production resides within the miracle of germination and very early plant growth.
So, what really happens during germination that some have called miraculous? Let’s start with three major and essential nutrients within an animal’s diet. These three nutrients are often the most expensive and most important to provide at established levels to support life, performance and reproduction. These pillars of animal nutrition are Protein, Energy, and Phosphorus. HydroGreen Healthy fodder is a significant source of all three of these essential nutrients, and that’s just the beginning of the story.
During germination and earliest plant growth, we tend to see protein concentration increase from the original grain by two to four percentage units, and sometimes even more. For example, it is common to see a 13% protein grain germinate to a 17% or 18% protein fodder plant at just 6 days of age. Of course, as with any biological system, the amount of response will depend on the quality of the inputs, which in this case is the original grain used to sprout.
In addition to this net increase in protein concentration, the protein units (amino acids and simple peptides) are in a much more digestible or available form compared with the form that is present in the parent grain. These forms of protein are much closer to the forms needed by the animal to support life, production and reproduction. This fact means, in terms of protein metabolism, that HydroGreen Healthy fodder is far more energetically efficient within the animal than is the case for its parent grain.
The essential amino acid levels in HydroGreen Healthy fodder will be at least as high as in the parent grain. And, with some of these essential amino acids like Lysine, Tryptophan, Isoleucine and Threonine, the levels are nearly double the levels present in the parent grain. This allows HydroGreen to compete with good quality Alfalfa hay on a protein basis. When we factor in protein digestibility, HydroGreen will usually contribute more total protein to an animal’s daily needs than high-quality alfalfa hay!
In HydroGreen Healthy fodder, energy in the form of Net Energy of Maintenance (NEM), Net Energy of Gain (NEG), Net Energy of Lactation (NEL) and Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN) tend to stay the same or show a slight decrease from levels in the parent seed. It makes sense that some energy needs to be consumed to drive the germination process and early plant growth. We need to point out though that the energy values reported from analytical labs is calculated and generally DOES NOT fully consider the actual digestibility or availability of the energy value listed. The digestibility of the energy measured in fodder is far higher, making the net yield of energy for the animal higher for fodder than for its parent grain. The fact that energy sources in HydroGreen Healthy fodder, are highly digestible and available, means there is very little metabolic energy (energy for digestion) expended within the animal to make that energy available to contribute to metabolic activity. So, energy from HydroGreen is far more energetically efficient within the animal than energy from the parent grain. It’s a pretty big deal!
Parent grains and the fodder produced from those grains tend to be pretty strong sources of phosphorus in animal diets. Phosphorus levels in HydroGreen Healthy Fodder will be about the same as the parent grain. However, in the absence of Phytic Acid in HydroGreen Healthy fodder, which is prevalent in grains and mature forages, the phosphorus is far more available to the animal. So, once again, digestibility is the key. And, in the case of phosphorus from fodder, the animal will realize more net available phosphorus for life, production and reproduction, significantly decreasing the need to purchase supplemental phosphorus in most instances.
Starch in the parent grain converts to sugar during germination and early plant growth, with sugar in fodder typically reaching levels around 30%. Sugar is “ready energy”. It is the energy source that drives metabolism in animals. A good molasses-based feedlot liquid supplement will be around 10-15% sugar, with good molasses-based cow-calf and dairy liquid supplements running in the 20 to 30% sugar range. Sugar, especially in ruminant diets, is also credited with providing energy without lowering rumen pH, and significantly improving forage digestibility. Due to the typical feeding rates for HydroGreen Healthy fodder, there is a significant increase in the amount of sugar added to an animal’s daily diet.
We are typically seeing a 15-20% increase in dry matter weight from the original grain in just 6 days.
One pound of grain will generally produce from 5.5 to 6.0 pounds of HydroGreen Healthy fodder.
1 lb of grain at 88% DM = .88 lbs DM
5.75 lbs of fodder at 18% DM = 1.035 lbs DM
1.035 lbs DM/.88 lbs DM = 117.6%
From parent grain to HydroGreen Healthy fodder, we can expect an increase in Fat concentration of about 0.50 percentage units. This doesn’t sound like much, but is actually about a 22% increase in total fatty acids, a high percentage of which being unsaturated fatty acids, with an Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio of between 5:1 and 10:1, depending upon the source grain. HydroGreen technology can be applied to further influence those Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acid levels in the fodder produced.
During germination we often see as much as a 10-fold increase in vitamin levels compared to the parent grain. In addition, since HydroGreen Healthy fodder is consumed by animals while it is still “fresh”, those much higher vitamin levels actually end up in the animal!
Chelation of minerals
The germination process, which as we already know results in high concentrations of free amino acids and simple peptides, also results in the natural chelation of macro and trace minerals, making them more digestible to the animal and protecting their nutritional viability against mineral antagonists that occur in many geographic areas.
As stated above, fodder digestibility has been shown to improve the amount of available protein, energy, minerals, and vitamins the animal can utilize over the original parent grain. Nutrient values on laboratory reports tell us how much of a particular nutrient is in an ingredient, but digestibility determines how much the animal can actually use to support life, production and reproduction.
It would make sense to start this discussion with “Enzymes”, but it also makes sense to end with “Enzymes”. The hydrolytic enzymes that are produced at the beginning of and during the germination process are really the “change agents” that make all the difference for fodder nutrition compared with nutrition from the parent grain. Virtually all nutrients stored in the dormant grain seed exist in very stable and complex forms, and are transformed by these enzymes into simple and highly digestible forms designed to support the infant plant during its first few days of life. This transformation of nutrient forms by these hydrolytic enzymes is what makes fodder so uniquely powerful. Hydrolytic enzymes improve the digestibility of nutrients in the fodder itself, but they also influence and improve the digestibility of the entire ration…not just the fodder portion. This is a Very Big Point!
Remember, HydroGreen will promote a very healthy and active digestive system overall for ruminants and monogastrics alike, and it will improve the utilization of nutrients from all the other feedstuffs in the diet at the same time. HydroGreen fodder will allow you to raise the energy levels of diets with out adding starch loads. This will decrease nutritional stress, making diets safer and promoting higher overall levels of animal health.
HydroGreen is a great ration conditioner, removing dust from most diets. Improving mixability and palatability in almost every situation.
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