White River Lamb Company

Hydroponic fodder fed to lambs at White River Lamb Company.

  • Challenge - Expensive hay costs
  • Solution - Three and a half Full-Size Standard FodderPro 2.0 Feed Systems
  • Application - Lamb farm
  • Location - Scio, OR

When Joe and Ellen Nieslanik decided to relocate from northwestern Colorado in August of 2012, they purchased a 155-acre farm in Scio, Oregon and started White River Lamb Company. As they discovered the carrying capacity of their newly-purchased land, they realized they were overstocked and needed to purchase alfalfa hay when winter arrived. At $300 per ton for quality hay for their herd, the Nieslaniks soon realized they would have to come up with a solution to this costly problem. "We knew we had to find an alternative," Ellen says, "so we began investigating the fodder system."

Nieslanik explains that not only were costs hindering their ability to provide quality hay for their sheep and lambs, but it was nearly impossible to get large hay trucks to the farm during the winter months because of the wet conditions of their land, and dry storage was a challenge as well. This problem, combined with the high cost factor, began the Nieslanik's research and led them to purchase three and a half of FarmTek's Full-Size FodderPro 2.0 Feed Systems. "We heard about the systems from an old neighbor in Colorado who had been investigating alternate feeding systems and did some reading on our own," Ellen explains. "We ultimately chose the FodderPro 2.0 Feed Systems from FarmTek mainly because of price," Ellen states. "The systems are working out well."

When explaining why they enjoy their fodder systems, Ellen says, "We like the price, the independence of not relying on outside sources for supplemental feed, and we can decrease our feeding costs without compromising nutrition and remain grass based. Since they are still fairly new to the systems, Ellen says "We will need a little more time to tell, but we are doing a gain test on our lambs and will know more soon. After the first test period of 3 weeks we have found our lambs are gaining ½ pound a day with 3 pounds of fodder and free choice browse. They look great! And if you didn't look outside and see the brown fields you'd assume they were on lush green pasture, and it's all due to the fodder."

Offering advice to those who may be considering a fodder system, Ellen says this: "Remember this is a process, from constructing the system, to maximizing production to training your animals to eat it." As they continue with their fodder systems, the Nieslaniks hope to see cost savings and health benefits in their herds. "This is a process," Ellen says, "and it doesn't all happen overnight, but we believe in the concept!"

Keywords : Fodder for lambs Reduced hay costs

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