Some studies of sprouted fodder as a primary feed source have focused on an apples-to-apples comparison of the dry matter content of fodder vs. hay or grain. A criticism which has been leveled at fodder is that during the sprouting process, it loses about 25% of its dry matter as starches contained in the seed are burned as energy to fuel germination. The implication is that you’d be better off just feeding your animals the grain and skipping the sprouting process.
Lost in all of this is the concept of bioavailability. Anyone who’s ever taken a close look at farm animal dung – and you know who you are – can tell you there’s a lot of undigested hay and grain that get’s passed right through. Not only is it a lot of wasted feed and money out the…whatever, it’s manure that has to be picked up and spread around or disposed of which is time, labor and money.
Sprouted fodder, on the other hand, is proven to be highly digestible. Whatever dry matter is lost in the germination process, is more than made up for in terms of what actually gets digested. Barley grain for example is about 30% digestible, but by sprouting for 7 days, digestibility is increased to as much as 90%.
Much of the dry matter in grains are starches which can lead to a lower pH and acidosis in ruminants. Sprouting converts starches to more easily digestible sugars.
Not only do we see gains in more digestion and less manure, but fresh fodder contains enzymes and vitamins which aren’t present in dry hay and grains.
Sprouted fodder also tends to alkalize the body, resulting in healthier livestock, lower veterinarian bills and better outcomes.