HYDROPONIC DEVICES FOR GREEN FODDER PRODUCTION: A REVIEW
In traditional farming, plants require a lot of space (growing area), they consume a large amount of water, absorb a small percentage of nutrients in soil and are completely dependent on meteorological conditions. Therefore, growing crops in this way entails high costs and a high risk of invested funds. One of the measures to reduce these factors is the use of hydroponics.
In the study six types of hydroponic systems (HS) plant constructions based on plant nutrient supply technology were reviewed: ebb and flow HS; nutrient film technique (NFT) HS; aeroponics; deep water culture HS; “wick” HS and drip-irrigation HS. In addition, a review of the structural design of the hydroponic systems identified their advantages and disadvantages in green fodder production.
The most promising technology for the cultivation of green fodder is the NFT HS. This cultivation technology is appreciated in feed production for its highly utilized growing room volume and closed-loop irrigation solution to plants, which allows it to be easily automated based on solution parameters. Seven farms already have this technology in place in Lithuania. In order to optimize hydroponic fodder cultivation technology, it is expedient to improve NFT equipment and process control systems.