Barley Sprouting Feedlot

Barley Sprouting Feedlot

How it works

MJC AGRI HUB helps Governments, cooperatives, communities and the private sector to establish The Barley Sprouting Feedlot technology. This technology is primarily focused in the fattening of beef cattle/sheep in a confined area. The focus of the feedlot will be on efficient growth gain of animals. This is achieved by providing a readily digestible, high-energy diet, reducing the amount of expendure to find food, directing more towards growth and managing the cattle to minimize stress and health problems.

Cattle are Barley grass-fed to achieve the best quality objectives that satisfy consumer preferences. Paramount to eating pleasure, its tenderness and taste quality targets are met consistently.

Barley grass-fed Beef is lean, young, tender beef that has been specially selected from animals that has been fed only the most nutritious grain products for a specified period. Barley grass-fed Beef carcasses are specifically selected at abattoirs practicing consistent quality and health standards.

Barley is grown using Hydroponic* technology. The seeds are put into a growing pan, and put into a carefully designed container with perfectly controled conditions. The barley then grows from a seed to a fully grown plant ready for feeding in 6 days! No soil is required and minimum water is used.

On the surface, the concept of putting one kilogram of grain into a hydroponic system and producing 6 to 10 kilograms of lush green sprouts, independent of weather and at any time of year, is appealing. Though it seems like growing a lot of feed, the increase in fresh weight is due to water and most often there is a reduction in dry matter weight compared with the initial grain. Hydroponically sprouting grain is less a case of growing feed and more a case of buying in grain and spending additional, sizeable quantities of time and money to change its quality and reduce its dry matter weight.

* A hydroponically produced crop is a crop that is grown in a medium other than soil. The Hydroponic Sprouting model is produced by the germination and sprouting of grain seeds, as barley and maize into superior quality sprouts for the feedlot with highly nutritious and disease free. The Hydroponic Feedlot System is in a totally controlled environment to make sustainability and successful production possible and ensure the crude protein and metabolizable energy content of the green sprouting highly digestible.

Ongoing benefits that arose from the creation of the Feedlot through MJC

  • Provide onsite training, monitoring and mentoring
  • Provide Barley seed on an ongoing basis to the feedlot
  • Provide weaners and lambs to the feedlot
  • Assist all feedlots in the off-take agreements
  • Remove the stress from the animals
  • Low cost, high quality, natural barley sprouting and dry feed
  • Constantly measure improvement of business operations
  • Barley sprouting based on the FEEDGROW Business in a Box Technology
  • Hydroponic sprouts have profitable application in intensive, small-scale Feedlot situations with high value outputs, where land and alternative feed costs are high, and where the quality changes (e.g. less starch, more lysine, vitamins, etc.) due to sprouting are advantageous to the livestock.
  • The Feedlot Hydroponic System are a weatherproof room and include product characteristc such as hygienic finishes, strength and durability. It can be individually designed in various sizes.
  • Profitable use of sprouting grain as a feed source for commercial cattle production. Hydroponically sprouted grain is a highly nutritious feed, it has major profitable use in commercial cattle operations, including its low cost of production (cost of capital, depreciation, labour, running costs), scale of operation and handling of very high moisture feed.

How the Barley Feedlot came to be

As a part-time farmer with Cattle, Lamb, Pork and Goat Feedlotting Llewellyn Dippenaar has always had a passion for farming and helping surrounding communities. In 2007 he bought himself a small piece of land (100Ha) to start his lifelong dream of becoming a full-time farmer. He soon realized that he couldn’t do much with a 100Ha to sustain a succesful farm if he went about it the conventional way. He needed a new approach to farming that he could sustain on a small piece of land.

The change that was needed for the new approach came in these steps:

  • Optimised and re-designed the cattle lots and lamb store for feeding on a small scale.
  • Built the new handling facilities based on Temple Grandin’s design “to reduce stress on the animals and in return improve overall growth and quality”.
  • Introduced Barley sprout production as part of the ration for the feedlots. This reduced feed costs by more than 40% yet still maintaining good growth with an added benefit of very healthy animals which produces high quality meat.
  • It took 9 months to perfect the rationing for optimal growth and quality. We are the first in South Africa to make this work based on the results achieved.
  • Because of the high quality meat produced, a rural abattoir was built to slaughter the cattle to supply to restaurants among others.