Growing your own fodder is a great way to save on feed costs and provide nutritional, additive-free feed for your livestock (for more on growing sprouts, turn to Page 80). I use mine to feed my rabbits, and have sprouted both wheat and barley – as fodder they relish it.
I constructed my fodder rack from nearly 100 percent recycled materials. I used pallet wood for the lumber and bulk margarine containers for the tubs. My cost was only time invested, glue and nails. If you can’t source bulk margarine containers locally, you could substitute plastic food or freezer containers close to the same size, and adjust the length and width measurements of the rack accordingly to fit your containers. There’s plenty of room for flexibility within this design plan.
• 18 feet 3/4-by-1-1/2-inch spruce, pine or pallet wood
• 8 plastic tubs, 10-1/2-by-8-1/2-by-3-inches deep
• 1-1/4-inch finishing nails
• Carpenter’s glue
• 6 – 24-by-11⁄2-by-3⁄4-inch tub supports
• 6 – 10-1/2-by-1-1/2-by-3/4-inch horizontal end spacers
• 4 – 26-by-1-1/2-by-3/4-inch legs
1. RACK: Cut all the lumber to size, and start by assembling the legs and short spacers as shown in the diagram. Use glue and nails, and square them up so they will stand nice and straight.
2. Complete both ends, and then proceed to measure and lay out the location of the front and rear tub supports. Fix these in position with glue and nails, keeping the unit square. You can use a framing square for this purpose, or you can take diagonal measurements, and when they are both equal, the unit is square. Sand and finish as desired. I chose to paint mine with exterior paint.
3. TUBS: Six of the plastic tubs will require drainage holes in one end. I drilled three rows of 1/8-inch-diameter holes spaces 1/2-inch apart. I created a template and made all the tubs identical to give it a professional look, but it need not be that fussy as long as the water will drain through – that’s all you need for functionality.
4. When fully assembled, the tubs will incline in a zigzag pattern so the water can drain from the tub above to the lower tubs, and finally into the two undrilled tubs that act as catch basins. With this system, you water the top trays, and gravity takes care of the rest.
5. I harvest one tray of fodder daily on a seven-day cycle and use approximately 1 cup of seed, wheat or barley, that’s been soaked overnight per tray. It works well for me, but feel free to experiment for optimum sprouting, as germination rates will vary. I’ve used this system for a couple of years now, and it’s served me well.
Brian Tokarchuk is the father of two boys and is enjoying the life of a retiree in Manitoba, Canada. He enjoys organic gardening, growing open-pollinated corn, and restoring antique hand-operated farm tools.