Barley Fodder Grow Trays… 2020 update: no longer manufactured. New trays under trials…


One of our many mantras we live by at Paca Pride Guest Ranch is that our definition of success comes from positioning others to become successful.  On that front we want others to succeed as much as we have with adding Barley micro-greens to your livestock’s diet!

In fact, we’ve heard so much positive feedback about our system from the DIY Fodder Producers we talk to,  that we’ve worked out a deal to start selling Grow Tray Kits to the general public!

While we have single trays available for sale, the most bang for your buck comes from ordering either our 10-pack or our 20-pack where we’ve included a discount. Given that most DIY growers usually choose to have a minimum of 10 tray systems, a bulk rate is something we wanted to be able to offer.

11-27-12 Barley Fodder Production System 026These trays are ideally suited to the various requirements for growing Barley Fodder mats(or other grains too! Wheat is 2nd most popular).

Each tray is capable of producing a 25-30lb mat from a seed rate of 5lbs of grain.  Higher seeds rates will produce heavier mats, but we have found that a seed rate of 5lbs per tray, gives us a manageable 25lb-30lb mat to handle.

12-03-12 Fodder Production 009The grow tray includes raised bottom sections that allow the water to drain off into the lower channels assuring excellent water drainage and flow.  The channels direct the runoff to the teal drain (left side in photo at top) which is level with the channels, and slightly lower than the raised sections of the tray.

Along with the main teal drain, the tray also includes an overflow drain. This second drain might be questionable by some until seeing it in action on 12-03-12 Fodder Production 012the more mature grow trays with root mats that fill the tray and slow down the flow of water to the main drain.

Both drains have easily removable caps that prevent the actual grain from slipping down the drain. As the root mats grow, the drain caps prevent the roots from completely backing up the water in the tray. At harvest, the drain cap is removed from the root mat, and tapped free of roots, then the tray is washed and readied for the next grow cycle.

Drainage is a crucial function in producing fodder mats. Trays with small drain holes get easily clogged by roots as well as the starchy runoff produced by the growing sprouts. Look for grow trays that feature good drainage to assure consistent production over time.

11-27-12 Barley Fodder Production System 005

Good, solid, grow trays are a necessary investment to a well running fodder system. You will want to look for trays that are also durable over the long haul.  Our grow trays are a heavy duty plastic that was meant for commercial growing operations. They are very durable trays and will last quite a long time!

Tray size is also another very important characteristic to look for when designing a DIY system. You’ll want to avoid smaller trays that have limits in the size mats they can produce, because as your production goals go up, this will translate into the handling of many small trays and mean more work and effort in harvesting, cleaning, and re-seeding your trays, spending more time in the fodder room.  Too large a tray translates into fodder mats which can become clumsy and unruly to manage. Our grow trays minimize the daily chore in the fodder room by offering the manageability that comes along with a reduction in the individual trays being used to produced nicely sized, manageable fodder mats.

These grow trays measure: Inside dimensions – 13” Wide x 40” Long x 3” Deep. Outside dimensions –  15″ x 42″

11-27-12 Barley Fodder Production System 001

The design of these trays, allow them to sit level, without any tilting required, on a grow shelf of your choosing.  With the drains at one end of the tray, you can create a DIY system that places the drains over the shelf edge and positioned over a gutter system to direct your runoff to the drain.

For the DIY Fodder producer, these grow trays make a great investment! You build the shelves to support the trays, provide water on a timer to each tray using PVC or garden irrigation supplies you can find at your local hardware store, and provide the gutter drainage to direct the runoff to your drain. The addition of some daylight rated fluorescent lights on a timer will help green up any sprouts you grow.

11-27-12 Barley Fodder Production System 010We can ship these trays anywhere within the continental US.

You can send a purchase request to us via email at for a price quote.

(Be sure to include where the trays will be shipped, for a shipping quote.)

You can also call us to place an order by phone at 360-691-3395.

For all orders we accept Mastercard or VISA via phone.

About David

Making manifest the change I want to see in the world through the hospitality of a humble little homestead campground with yurts and alpacas.
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128 Responses to Barley Fodder Grow Trays… 2020 update: no longer manufactured. New trays under trials…

  1. Pingback: From Seed to Feed in 8 days: Barley Fodder Sprouting Trials | Paca Pride Guest Ranch

  2. Pingback: Barley Fodder Sprouting Trials continued: New Flood and Drain Tray System Installed | Paca Pride Guest Ranch

  3. Pingback: Barley Fodder: From Trials to Production | Paca Pride Guest Ranch

  4. Randy Greene says:

    I was wondering how much your fodder trays cost?

  5. Pingback: Fodder is on the Menu... - Page 2 - The Goat Spot - Goat Forum

  6. Can you let me know what trays cost also, and how long and what concentration do you do the bleach soak, im just starting and having a little mold trouble

  7. jeff petty says:

    your trays look great. I have designed a tray that is nowhere near what you’ve developed and would like to optimize my efforts Thankyou Jeff

  8. douglas says:

    Nice trays but we need much much smaller ones. say 5 1/2 inch by 8 inch. we have 3 rabbits and no need for larger trays.

    • David says:

      For such a micro-fodder system, you can simply try using seedling propagation trays from a nursery supply. But, primarily, most fodder producers are going for much larger daily production goals. There really isn’t a flood and drain tray on the market at a smaller size.

  9. Munene says:

    How much do the trays cost. Can you ship to Kenya, Africa?

  10. flo krohn says:

    do you ship to canada?

  11. Lisa Moad says:

    Please send info on the 10 tray and 20 tray sets. We have 20 alpaca, 8 goats, 3 horses and 3 minis. I feel the 20 is a better choice for us so we have room to grow.

  12. Sandy Dieterich says:

    May I ask how far apart your shelves are? How much space if you rebuilt your system, would you prefer your shelves to be spaced. I’m thinking of air flow as well as light penetration. From the pictures it looks as though you have spaced about 12 inches. I have sent an email for a price quote for the 10 and 20 count quantity orders. Thanks so much. I’ve been following your progress for over a year now. Thanks for sharing.


  13. Chad Myers says:

    I was wondering how much the trays are and how many I might need to feed 20 meat goats. Thanks chad

  14. Cheri Seiler says:

    How much time does it take to produce enough for 50 alpaca and what would the start up cost be.

    • David says:

      50 alpacas would be around approximately 4-5 trays harvesting 100-125lbs daily. (figure 2% per body weight of the herd for daily fodder goals) If I was producing such, the time would be around 25-30 minutes for me in my fodder room with my procedures.

      send an email to info @ pacapride . com and I’ll put together a quote and recommendatioons for system size for you.

  15. Mugambi says:

    Hi David, Thank you for sharing your insights through this blog. I am also from Kenya and I am keen to try out this technology with pigs…would barley sprout fodder be appropriate for pigs? Do the same rations you indicated above apply i.e. 2- 3% of pigs total body weight? Would I need to supplement the fodder with a source of protein…as well as minerals?

    • David says:

      I recommend speaking with your Vet for nutritional recommendations of using a wet feed for any livestock.
      That said, yes fodder can be used to feed pigs at the general rate of 2-3%. Fodder is great as a protein source, but you’d need to still add other items to their diet.

  16. Hi David,
    We are just starting to explore the option of fodder. We have 20 alpaca and little access to quality local hay source…so dry lot conditions much of the time. Please send a quote for your 10 tray and 20 tray system along with any recommendations for a new start up. I’m particularly concerned about where to set the system up…I’ve even seen where people set up in their home where the temp is 70 degrees year round…wondering about a garage or basement as we have no heated or cooled barn/green house. Thanks so much.

    • David says:

      Sent info to your email addy.

      Your concern is well placed about where to set up such a system.
      Climate control of the grow space is the utmost of importance in running a successful fodder operation that produces consistent and repeatable results.
      I do not recommend a greenhouse, in general, because it is harder to control such an environment. (especially if there are other plants growing in it already)

  17. Mary Juelke says:

    A friend of mine just had an alpaca die from fodder. Can you enlighten me as to what could have happened? Mold? chemicals?

    • David says:

      Animals, in general, cannot die from fodder. Barley fodder is simply grains that have been sprouted. The result is super healthy both for humans and animals.

      That said, there is probably more to the situation you described. One possibility I can think of is if such an animal was fed a diet of strictly fodder mats, then, there would be a deficiency in its diet. Fodder lacks fiber, hay provides this important component (so does natural forage). Feeding an animal a diet of only fodder is not a good strategy. They will not get the balanced diet required. It would be similar to a human that just ate sugar only. Their health would pay the price.

      Now, if the fodder mats were not grown and prepared correctly, and molds are present that produce mycotoxins, then over a period of time, this will cause a cummulative toxicity in the animal. This is one reason why it is most imperative to exert proper controls of the grow environment and it’s cleanliness. Fodder production is a sprouting application. It is an application done in a very dense, very short intensive grow cycle. If, in fact, a DIY fodder operation is poorly designed, and lacks certain controls, then, disease vectors are entirely possible.

      However, doing a proper root cause analysis in situations where an animal dies would most likely reveal that it is not the actual fodder that was the cause, but some other disease or toxin vector. A vet performing a necropsy is the next step towards determining what went wrong in such a situation. But as for fodder killing an animal, not a possibility.

      • Mary Juelke says:

        Thank you for your reply about the fodder. I will forward this information to my friend and CSU will let us know the outcome of the tests. We are thinking this animal was given something with mold and caused the animal to bloat and die. We believe that there was some neglect in other areas of care that contributed to this also.

      • David says:

        Certainly if attention is not paid to the operating parameters of growing fodder mats, essentially a sprouting application, then disease vectors can become readily present via molds. Mycotoxin vectors are the risk of a poorly operated fodder room. It is the main reason you’ll see much emphasis on controlling the grow environment temperature, humidity, and dedicated space for operation. It could be if there was general neglect for animal care, then that may also indicate some neglect for operating a fodder system without risk. It is important for all fodder producers to know the risks associated when fodder goes bad. I’ve published another article about what molds may come that I’d encourage you to also read.

  18. Mary Juelke says:

    I too would like to know about what I would need for a herd of 21 alpacas. Where to set it up. space needed. Price of set up.

    • David says:

      For determining your daily fodder production goal for alpacas (other ruminants tned to be similar) use a 2% calculation based upon your total herd livestock weight. For example, if 21 alpacas weighed a total of 2000lbs, then your daily goal for fodder production would become a minimum of 40 pounds daily.

      For a price quote on the grow trays, send an email request to info@pacapride . com
      You may also contact us at Paca Pride Guest Ranch via the contact information on our website at

  19. Mary Juelke says:

    Please send me the cost to stay at your day ranch. We are exploring moving to Washington with our pacas.

  20. Andrew says:

    based on your experience, how soon of a return will there be after the initial investment?

    • David says:

      For me, my return on investment came within the very first season of operation: cutting my hay use by half, eliminating the expense of pelleted grain rations (a processed food product for animals), and the increased health of my herd all meant a significantly lower feed bill. Given the size of my active system (18 trays active vs. the 30 tray capacity), and the fact that most of the fodder room was constructed via bartering and salvage, I had a quick return. In fact, given our experience, we already are increasing our herd size by 4 more animals here in the next couple of weeks.

  21. Conrad Mandsager says:

    We just tried a test with 7 trays (plastic trays purchased at Walmart) and it was a miserable failure. I used organic barley seed ordered through a local feed store. Trays were 24 x 36″ and I drilled drain holes in one end and set them on an angle to drain. Set this up in my basement under fluorescent lighting. Temp was 65 degrees. I soaked 5# of seed overnight in a bleach solution as you suggested for each tray. The germination was very poor — maybe 10%?? The remaining seed then began to smell like it was fermenting and then I began to see mold on it. After 10 days since there was not enough to feed and I was seeing the mold, I moved the whole thing outside on my deck. Seemed to perk up a bit outside, but still smelled bad and was moldy so I threw it all away this morning. My wife thinks I layered it in too thick (1/2″), but I think I got some bad seed. Any ideas as to where I went wrong?

    • David says:

      I’ve got several ideas as to what went wrong. But first let’s talk about determining seed “viability”, so as to be able to rule out the possibility that your seed is actually bad. To do a viability test, take 100 grain seeds, random sample from what you wish tested. Place a few wet paper towels flat in a gallon sized zip-loc bag, then place the grain seeds on top of that and seal the bag shut with a slight air pocket so that the seeds are sitting on the wet towel with an air space above them. Lay the bag flat in a warm spot and watch it over the next 2 days. The seeds will germinate. At the 2 day mark (48 hours) count how many seeds germinated and how many did not. Look for a little white dot at the end of the seed. If you are unsure, you can add another day to the germinating until you can identify root hairs. The number of seeds out of 100 that germinated will be the approximate viability percentage for that batch of seed.

      Now, my guess is that it is not your seed that is bad, but something within your approach during this “proof of concept”. More than likely, it will be the combination of poor drainage and overwatering.

      Bad smells are more an initial indication that your drainage is poor. A drilled hole approach to trays (whether done on one end and tilted, or drilled all across the bottom of a tray) doesn’t drain the starchy solutes out of the tray very well. Upon germination, enzymes work to change starches into proteins. The result is a rich runoff of starchy solutes that are gel-like in consistency. These are easily trapped in trays with drilled holes as the holes are usually the size that allows water to run through, but not the grain; unfortunately that means the hole is still too small to effectively get those starchy solutes out. Accumulation of them in the tray inhibits further germination and is a toehold for fermentation by yeasts to start. When fermentation starts, it’ll smell like beer or bread rising at first, but then bacteria are activated and it turns septic smelling really fast. (Most people trying to create a fodder system by retrofitting flat bottom plastic trays in this manner have a much more difficult time managing their system. It can be done, but in my personal experience during trials doing the same, there are more hurdles to overcome.)

      Another factor could be overwatering. In proof of concept approaches, like yours, this becomes very easy to do, and is also very easy to avoid; but again, it is entirely contingent upon having good drainage as well. Only water such that your seeds are not drying out. If presoaking your seed, instead of watering for the first day after spreading in the tray, simply use a cover on the tray to keep the moisture that the seed soaked up in the tray. Water after the day 2 mark. Then start watering when you see root hairs visible. If your seed seems to be drying out, try using a spray bottle to slightly moisten the tops of your seed. Be sure to spread your seed in such trays thinner rather than thicker: 1/4″-1/2″ max.

      Finally a note about pre-soaking. There is a direct correlation between the ambient room temp and how long you can soak your seed. I soak mine for a 24 hour period, but it is in a colder room (between 60-65F). If my room starts getting warmer, around 70F, then you need to drop that pre-soak down, perhaps 12 hours. If it is really warm, then a 4 hour soak could be enough. It’s like making a bowl of oatmeal: if you use cold water it’ll take a long time to reach the consistency desired, but boiling water has it there within a minute. If you are over-soaking your seed for too long a period given ambient room temps (and thus the water temp in the bucket), then you’ll be inhibiting germination rates. Even though you stated that your temp is at 65F, it can vary around the room as much as 5-10 degrees in spots. So, try a shorter soak.

  22. Conrad Mandsager says:

    Thanks for your comments. It seems that I made mistakes on multiple levels. I will set up another test. How much are your trays?

  23. Pingback: Considerations On the Front End of Fodder: DIY or Buy | Paca Pride Guest Ranch

  24. Cyndi says:

    Hi David, Thank you for sharing your insights. I too am just getting started. I am concerned about the initial soak being in bleach water. Isn’t that water bleach and all absorbed into the grain? Do you know if you can use vinegar instead of bleach and if so what the ratio would be? Please give me a quote on 20 trays. Are the drain holes already drilled?
    Thank you

    • David says:

      Hi Cyndi,
      A lot of thought and research went into the decision to use bleach for the pre-soak. I am satisfied that it is the best approach for pre-treatment and sanitizing grain seed. Other options have been used by other DIY fodder producers, including vinegar or H2O2, but I find chlorine bleach is still the top of the list. Here’s why…

      Bleach is a highly unstable and highly reactive substance that breaks down rather quickly in water. In sprouting applications for humans (like the sprouts you see in the grocery store) all those seeds are pre-treated using chlorine bleach. In practically every dairy application chlorine bleach is a requirement for all sanitizing. The good thing about it is that when you are using just bleach and water during the pre-soak, the bleach does not carry through to the grow cycle. This is important because if used only during the pre-treatment, prior to the grow cycle (i.e. not using chlorine as part of regular watering), then the fodder produced still qualifies for organic certification.

      The worry around bleach comes from when we combine it with other substances, like soaps or detergents, then we get the chemical reaction that produces volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and those are very dangerous and impact the environment in a negative manner.

      From my research, I am satisfied that once the grain is placed in the grow tray, they are washed enough from the watering cycles that there is no bleach contained in the sprout. In fact, when the seed is spread in the grow tray, the chlorine in the water has already broken down quite a bit. I also do not believe that bleach is absorbed into the actual grain itself as this would impede its germination. With the little amount we use, 1 tablespoon per gallon of water, any risk is far outweighed by the sanitization benefits gained. Chlorine is well proven out with a very long track record of safety when used in this manner.

      (I’ll send a tray quote to your email address)

  25. Samuel says:

    Where do you buy your trays? Also where do you buy your barley?
    What are the options for bin sizes?

    • David says:

      We sell the grow trays we use. I’ll send a quote and further links to your email address.

      Our barley seed is sourced regionally through feed and seed suppliers in MT Vernon, WA. We recommend contacting your local University Extension Agent for finding seed sources in your area.

  26. Samuel says:

    Also can I buy trays that are not set up with drains?

    • David says:

      The grow trays can be purchased without the drain fittings. When they are ordered with the trays, they do require installation by drilling the preformed location in the tray with a 1″ drill auger hole bit. The trays are vacuum molded plastic and the drain locations are further recessed in the tray.

  27. Brenda says:

    Impressive! This is my first attempt at growing and serving fodder — I’m learning as I go. It is very refreshing to read other’s stories. I am very interested in your trays, just a bit afraid they are too big for my handful of animals. Please do send me information. Thanks so for sharing and teachng.

  28. clive long says:

    i am looking for 96 trays how long and wide are the trays and what price

  29. Brenda says:

    Thank you for all the great information/experience you have shared. I am just beginning to grow fodder for my small herd of goats and sheep (think total 7). Wondering about your trays, seems they would be too large for my small set-up, but someday this spring all mammas (5) will have little ones. Please let me know the price. Thanks!

  30. Georgia says:

    Hi David, Thank you so much for sharing all of this valuable information. I have been reading a lot on the internet about people’s trials with fodder, your website is one of the more informative and helpful. Also, your replies to people’s questions in the comments are very helpful, thank you for taking the time to explain, I am benefiting. Currently I am preparing to purchase the equipment for my own small scale fodder operation. This will be for 20 laying hens and 3 growing bunnies to start with, I hope to increase to 20 laying hens, 6 adult rabbits and a couple lambs or a sheep this year. I know the need for fodder will fluctuate with the seasons, as the hens and sheep will be on pasture. Would you send me a quote for 10 trays? Coming from Ferndale, do you think shipping would be cheaper than the gas to drive to your ranch and back – if I were to pick up? I am still collecting information before making the decision on design, thank you!

    • David says:

      Hello Georgia,
      Thank you for the comment.
      I have forwarded a quote to your email address.
      All orders drop ship directly from the manufacturer upon placing an order, so they would ship right to you, typically within 7-10 business days of processing your order.

  31. Hello David.
    First five trays on the go today. will start another five tomorrow. Ended up with a faulty valve timer controller, which will be replaced next week. should be up to 25 trays per day by end of February
    Thanks for the help.

  32. David,

    I need 240 of your trays, would you please quote me on this amount? Also could you tell me how much the shipping would be to area code 27965?

    Thank you
    Tom Wisenbaker
    Carolina Horse Center
    Poplar Branch, NC 27965

  33. Lee Gibby says:

    Please send me a quote on 10 trays. We have 70 does (rabbits).
    I’d like to harvest 2 trays per day, so I may need more than 10?
    Also do you have DYI plans available that have details on your shelving and watering systems.
    Best regards,
    Lee Gibby

  34. Frank says:

    Please quote 20 trays and 160 trays shipped to 82725. Also looking for DIY plans for fodder system. Thanks

  35. Carlos says:


    Such an informative site, I’m learning and learning. I’m very new at this and the more I read the more I want to start this line of work.
    Send me an email and point me in the right direction.
    Thank you

  36. Bruce Carson, in Rigby, Idaho 83442 says:

    I would like to set up a small system, to feed three horses, I was thinking about 14 trays with fittings.

  37. joseph says:

    Thanks for the generous and precise information on the hydroponics fodder system.Apart from the trays and the seeds, what are the other major items does one require for the entire fodder system.Also please send me the quote for 200 trays plus the shipping requirements in Kenya.

  38. joseph says:

    And just please to add a little bit , do you need to add nutrients solution to the water and for how long should the water be recycled back in to the system.

    • joseph says:

      David,according to your experience, how much tilting is required of the trays for an ideal flood & drain system

      • David says:

        Using our flood and drain approach with these specially designed trays requires NO tilting. The trays sit flat on a level shelf with the drain fittings hanging over the end of the shelf over a gutter system. NO TILT REQUIRED.

        The advantage to this is the establishment of a true flood zone across the entire length of the tray. That flood zone stays consistent during the grow cycle. This means that in later day’s growth, the root mat will lift the seed bed up, and out, of the flood zone. This gives you leverage over mold control.

    • David says:

      We do not recycle water in our system. We also do not use any nutrient solutions, just plain water. Each tray is watered individually from other trays and also drain separately. There is no shared water between trays.

  39. Carolina says:

    I sent you a request for a quote for the trays. I live in the desert and am wondering about the “climate control”. I was hoping to install the trays outdoors even though it gets pretty warm around here. What are your recommendations? Do I need to cover the trays to keep moisture in (our humidity is usually in the single digits year round)? Any info regarding growing fodder in the south west would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • David says:

      Email sent with quote.
      I recommend a dedicated space for a sprouting application. Not only for climate control, but also for cleanliness of the air and environment. Sprouting is possible under many conditions and circumstances, but some will require more hands-on to assure smooth operation than others. Sprouting in a warm environment requires cooling of the air or molds will become prevalent. Growing outside, or in a greenhouse, is not the best solution.

  40. joseph says:

    Please David i haven’t relieved the quote you promised on my email.

  41. Hydrose says:

    Now much do the tray 100 nos cost can you hip to kerala cochin india

  42. joseph says:

    Hi David , i~m experiencing some flying small black insects hovering up and down the loaded trays especially at day 3 may be because of the smell coming out as a result of partial fermentation.Do you experience the same and if so, is there a repellant or something I can do about it.THANKS

    • David says:

      Try simply hanging a fly strip in your grow space. Fruit flies or tiny gnats are attracted to the starchy and fermenting conditions. It is also important to focus on cleanliness of a grow space along with isolation and containment of a grow system. A dedicated room for growing fodder is the best way to prevent unwanted elements from contaminating your grow space. Prevention is a much better strategy than treatment in most fodder problems. With tiny flies, cleaning your space, removing the trays that are infested, and hanging some sticky strips may be your solution.

  43. Wilfredo says:

    Hi David,

    Im starting a fodder project based in the Dominican Republic. I have 5 beef cattles in which i will be feeding barley too plus hay etc. Im still in the process of gathering as much information on fodder and any other hydroponic system out there. But your system and video were outstanding. I read some of the coments and replies below about a not tilting system , but do you have a video or some guide on how can i build your system with the pipes and all, because i was just a lil confuse when you easily took the trays out i was like ” where does the water goes in the trays” . Please let me know because i would like to receive a quote on 10 to 20 trays but with the potential of expanding to more once i figure out how your hydroponic system flows. Thank you in advance .

    • David says:

      I will send a tray quote and more info to your email address.

      The drain fitting ends of the trays sit off the edge of the shelf they are on, and over a gutter system which leads the runoff water outside the room.
      Simply lifting the tray end over the gutter allows me to slide the tray out easily. The irrigation line descends into the tray from above it, so when the cleaned tray is slid back into place, the irrigation line also falls where it should. No connections or attachments to the trays.

      In the video of our trays in action, it’s the white pipe that acts like a gutter for the trays, draining the water away. When irrigation turns on and water flows, the action of the barley seed sitting against the drain cap allows the water to back up within the tray enough, even as the tray starts to drain, to reach a designated flood zone. It’s a very short water cycle; 2 minutes with my current 1/6hp pump.

  44. Monica Joy says:

    So glad I came across your site. Could you please give me a price for 10/20 trays. Not sure how many I’ll need. I have 2 TWH’s, 5 peacocks and about 50 chickens. I’m going to add 3 rabbits. So if I calculated right I should need about 60# of fodder. So that’s a little over, or about, 2 trays.
    So do I need to have 16 trays in my system? Thanks for your help. Monica, Hubbard Lake, MI

    • David says:

      Quote and further info sent to your email address…

      • Monica Joy says:

        Hi David,
        Thanks for the tray quote. I just want to try a small batch of barley and see how it goes. I’m not quite ready to commit the space/room needed for my system. I bought some barley at the local grocery store in the bulk food section. Will this seed work or is there something special about a seed from the feed store? Thanks for your contiud help.

  45. David says:

    As long as the seed you bought is “viable”, then it should work! If it has been “hulled” or “pearled”, then no, it will not sprout. Be sure to buy cereal grain seeds that are sproutable and with the hulls intact.

  46. Dorrer Sébastien says:

    Hi, foremost, THANKS for all the sharing and videos, also the replies you give here and which contain a lot of informations and precisions.
    Im in France and here i have never found someone who practice the fodder, so big thanks, for sure the most great blog i have found.
    I have found the same trays that you use, but could you list all the accessorries/mateials you use for the irrigation and drainage ?

    • David says:

      The irrigation is provided by standard garden irrigation supplies found at your local hardware store: a water timer (mine runs a 9 volt battery), ½” drip irrigation distribution line, and ¼” tubing branching off the distribution line for each tray. Larger systems may require the addition of small water pumps to add pressure to the system. Drainage can simply be rain gutters or, as I like to salvage, some retrofitted sewer pipe cut to become gutters which drain water out of the room.

  47. Amy says:

    Can you send me a price for your trays, please. Also do you have plans you could send me on your DIY system. I have been studying this for over a year now and am looking to do this to feed our cattle. We have a small herd of 10 right now but would like to get up to a breeding herd of 30. Do you have any suggestions as to who I can talk to about getting the seed we need? I am going to start with the seed and feed stores and local grain elevators. Hopefully this will produce what we need. Thank you for sharing all the information you have gleaned from your own fodder production, it helps so much when you’re a small rancher and can’t afford the turn key fodder systems. I am trying to read everything you have on your site and all the comments as well. A lot of info given, thanks again!! Keep up the good work!

  48. Pal Adino says:

    Hello I need a little help. I am in Colombia and I am trying to setup up a fodder system to supplement the feed of calves for fattening. I have read a viewed many internet videos and pages regarding barley fodder and yet almost no one list the specific type of barley they are using. Barley is not a native product in Colombia, it is imported for the most part and double the price in the USA at the ton price. What I want to know before running some tests is what specific type of barley are we talking about? … does it have to be seed quality barley or is there a cheaper type? This is very important. I really could use some help understanding what I need to look for. thanks

    • David says:

      Thank you for a very good question!
      It is one I receive a lot!

      When it comes to a sprouting application like this, we have little concern over variety or type of barley. Our biggest concern is “Viability” of our seed to germinate and sprout.

      Whether it is 3-row or 6 row barley, winter or spring wheat, etc. doesn’t necessarily make a difference to us during such a short duration grow cycle.

      That said, there are different seed “quality” levels. For example barley labeled “FEED quality” will likely have a lower germination rate than barley labeled “SEED Quality”. Many times, feed quality barley will be cheaper and will contain more immature berries from the grain as the intent for such is that it would be used crushed, cracked, or whole in livestock feedstuffs; and not necessarily sprouted. My last purchase of barley was labeled “FEED quality”. I accept that there will be a slightly lower germination rate, and more seed left behind unsprouted with this batch, but during this past year of using it, I’ve still been able to produce some really good fodder mats that meet my needs perfectly.

      In areas were barley cannot be located, wheat is a close second. In warmer environments, like the tropics, corn can be considered to sprout maize grass. For a sprouting application like this, try to find “cereal grains”, by default they are larger in size and fit a fodder production operation better. There may be some grains grown in Columbia that might be more suited to your needs that you can trial. Here in the PacNorWest, Barley is grown in our region and accessibility to a supply of grain is key to a fodder production operation. If I cannot find barely, I ask about wheat (again any type of wheat will do, as long as it is “viable”).

      Some other thoughts when looking at seed sources. “Field Run” or “Combine Run” is generally the cheapest, and can be found directly from the farmer. It is also going to be dirtier, necessitating good pre-sanitization protocols. Ask about ‘Viability” first and foremost. If seed is labeled “FEED Quality” test a batch for viability first, before purchasing larger quantities. Do not ever buy seed for sprouting that has been treated with any type of fungicide or looks like the seed has a red/pink dye on it (usually indicating a fungicide).

  49. Dareen Byler says:

    Hi, I’m in Montana and have been following your efforts to grow fodder off and on for awhile. My fodder does well for awhile and then it doesn’t grow well. Frustrating as I don’t change anything in the process. I am currently using garden hydroponic trays, 2# per tray. These trays are difficult to clean and time consuming, plus they don’t hold up at all well. Your comments on holes drilled in the bottoms are most correct as cleaning all that starchy stuff off the trays after it has accumulated and hardened for 6 or 7 days is a challenge! I do not see a very close up picture of how your system works and would like to as I am wasting time and energy, not to mention money in growing poor fodder. My system is set up in my laundry room, does have a door that closes but I have no idea what the humidity of the room is. Temps I can control somewhat with a closed door and close down the flappers on the wall heating units. I would love to see a diagram of your system to see if I could make a smaller version for my space. Also, need the cost of your trays, both for one and for 10. I need about approximately 75 to 100 pounds of fodder per day (2500-3000 pounds of animal weight), so I would need to design a system to manage that. Any assistance you might have in the design would be wonderful. Thanks again for your excellent blog and allowing all of the benefit of your experiments.

    • David says:

      Thanks for your comment! If you can send an email request to, we’ll have a quote for trays sent to you.

      Here’s a link to a photo album on our Facebook Page that gives a few more close-up pictures of our production system:

      I believe what you are faced with, from reading your description, is a common problem with DIY fodder producers. I receive lots of similar phone calls where it seems everything starts off well enough but then tends to slowly and progressively go downhill. This degradation over time is the result of cumulative effects building up. Sometimes a system’s design can actually cause this as well, only to be compensated by the operator for keep the system in that ideal “pocket of operation”. In your instance above, I’d say the combination of location (a laundry room) and air filtering (or lack thereof) could contribute to the buildup of mold spores which eventually reach a tilting point towards establishment, even in newly started trays. Keep in mind that sprouting grain in this density for fodder mats acts as an excellent room filter for anything in the air, which for household locations means that all your mold and yeast spores will eventually end up at your sprouting system. System containment can help with this, but air flow and air filtration become critical.

      There are also seasonal differences which will contribute. In general, sprouting in the winter is much easier to control than in the summer since there tend to be a lot less mold spores in the air. So, while temp control is your first order of defense, air circulation and filtration should be considered along with limiting any other “mixed use” applications (like laundry) which can be a vector for contamination.

  50. Pingback: Hydroponic fodder as a more natural feed compared to traditional forage | Agriculture

  51. Richard Wood says:

    Do the trays you use have a flat bottom or are they ridged like most greenhouse trays? Secondly, I have smaller trays that I’d like to use since a full tray the size you use is way more than I can use in a day for the few rabbits I have. I’ve looked around for flood and drain valves to install in existing trays and found several. Is there a brand or supplier whose valves you prefer?


    • David says:

      These trays have a distinct design feature of raised bottom sections, surrounded by lower channels, which lead to an even further recessed drain fitting. Because of this design, our trays sit flat and level on a shelf to establish a true flood zone that is equal across the length of the tray, while still allowing good drainage with a good flow rate. The drain fittings are designed to work with these trays, so trying to retrofit just the drain fittings to other flat bottom trays tends to be a challenge because the fitting will not be flush with the bottom, thus not draining completely as they would when installed on our grow trays which recess it.

  52. Richard Wood says:

    So, how would you suggest setting up a flood and drain system for a much smaller production than what you’re doing?

    • David says:

      Read my other article entitled “Considerations on the Front End…” It’ll give you some insights on comparing approaches. My approach is geared towards fodder production goals of 25-500+lbs, primarily for livestock operations that are still too small to purchase an expensive commercial turnkey system, yet have goals large enough that want to avoid handling a myriad of smaller trays on a daily basis. For goals smaller than 25lbs per day, there are numerous DIY approaches that can use anything from muffin tins to the 1020 seedling propagation trays, the caveat is that you’ll probably end up with more “hands on” management vs. the automation that my approach enables. At such small production levels, i.e. less than 25lbs per day, you could even explore the use of 5gal buckets to sprout within. These other approaches move away from a true flood and drain style irrigation approach, and this give rise to other management challenges to assure consistent results. There are many ways to ‘skin the fodder cat’, just remain aware of how much user compensation and management each approach takes as you do your due diligence to find one that fits your needs.

  53. Pingback: Fodder Production: Further tips for successful sprouting | Paca Pride Guest Ranch

  54. Frank Abate The Abate Goat Farm says:

    I would like a quote on your stuff. I am in Alabama Thank You

  55. Mashael says:

    How much 500 trays will cost? I want 30 inch by 15 inch if that is possible . Can you ship to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia?

  56. Heidi says:

    I am looking for info on how much 96 trays will cost.

  57. MAROUF POPOOLA says:

    I read your response at your blog and i am so happy to have come across an inventor like you. Thank you for sharing.
    We have a local farm in Nigeria where we raise 50 Pigs and we feed them dry feeds. They are in the range of 60 and 80 KG in weight. When i came in contact with your write up, I want to change their feeds to Wheat grains fodder system confirming that it is economical and double nutrient.
    My questions are: How many kilograms of Wheat grains will i soak in the water that can feed 50 Pigs per day? how many trays will i need for the system? and is it possible to ship the complete system to Nigeria? What is the to tal cost?

    here is my email LORDPOPOOLA@YAHOO.COM
    Thank you for your help.
    May the universe bless your hustle.

  58. David says:

    Send an email to for prices and further information.

  59. Roger says:

    How often do you water your trays?

    • David says:

      We water 4x per day: 8am, noon, 4pm, and 8pm.
      Given our pump and system size, each watering cycle is 4 minutes long.
      No watering during the simulated 8 hour night when lights are off.

  60. ola says:

    hello I have sent mails to your address and got no reply I am ola and I will like to buy some trays as I am currently In South Africa Pretoria. Please kindly reply me on as soon as possible

    so I can get quotations and place my orders to be delivered.


  61. Pingback: This Barn has a Secret! | Paca Pride Guest Ranch

  62. Genene says:

    Hello David, Thanks again for sharing your awesome system information. Would you please email be a price quote on the trays? I haven’t finished exploring all of your blog & videos yet but I’m wondering if you have some detailed information available for building racks & drainage, etc., like yours?

  63. Olivia Boardman says:

    Need price on trays looking for 30 total and would be shipped to gig harbor wa

  64. Lacey Crumbling says:

    What’s the price for 10 trays?
    Shipping cost to York Springs, pa?

  65. Randall Gant says:

    I am very interested in your fodder trays! Please send me a price list.

  66. Lourdes Sivilla-Moriarty says:

    This is so awesome. Please send me quote of how much trays cost. Thanks.

  67. Desiree Scott says:

    I was wondering if you have finished the trials on your new trays and was wondering what a 20 pack of trays shipped to Burns, Co would cost.

    • David says:

      Trays are available directly from the manufacturer now. We no longer distribute with bulk discounts. See Am Hydro’s website.

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