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HydroGreen offers solutions

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

On June 9, during the Wyoming Stock Growers Association 150th Anniversary Celebration and Convention, HydroGreen Marketing Manager Danielle Davis and Director of Sales Dennis Dynneson discussed HydroGreen, a company building equipment called Automated Vertical Pastures to grow fresh forage for livestock indoors at commercial scale, with Livestock Health Committee members. 

HydroGreen Founder Dihl Grohs was inspired to develop the first model in 2010 due to the need for a low-maintenance feed growing system in drought-prone areas, such as South Dakota where Grohs farms. Today, HydroGreen systems can also be found on dairy farms and cattle ranches throughout the U.S. and Canada.

“HydroGreen is not about fancy technology,” said Davis. “It’s about simple equipment solving real problems – it’s automated machines growing fresh forage in an indoor environment on the farm.”

How it works 

The company can customize the set up depending on the size and goals of an operation. 

“The equipment can grow fresh forage in just under six days with a fraction of water used to grow alfalfa or hay on cropland,” she shared. “There is a huge water savings [with these systems], and they produce a very efficient, nutrient-dense forage.”

For example, one of HydroGreen’s customers in Utah noted his 80-acre pivot in about five days will use as much water as three HydroGreen machines will use in a year, she explained. 

“This is not to replace grazing, buying or farming feed, it’s to give producers another resource for consistent feed on the farm, and to reduce dependance on buying feed from outside sources and drought-related risk,” she said. 

HydroGreen customers are mostly using wheat to produce forage, but it’s also possible to use barley or rye. HydroGreen’s sourcing team works with producers to test and utilize the grain in their region producing the highest-quality fresh forage. Harvested fresh forage can be stored for a short time, but it’s best to be fed within 24 hours, she noted. 

In a controlled, indoor environment, grain is passed through the on a conveyor belt where water and LED lights sprout and ferment the grain to produce the forage. The grain goes from the grain bin to the conveyor, and then the watering process begins with a push of a button. It then goes through the cycle and on day six, producers have fresh forage. 

“It’s a very simple and easy system – one person can take care of it,” added Dynneson.

Nutrition and
health benefits 

The forage grown through HydroGreen is high in glucose and has the right level of starch, Davis mentioned. 

“Glucose is simple sugar and it’s easy to digest,” she explained. “It’s a really efficient feed – do more with less.” 

At six days, the forage has the highest level of glucose with the lowest level of starch.

The results of a variety of beef and dairy trials have shown a positive impact on animal performance, including increased feed intake due to palpability, rate of gain, milk production, conception rates and significant methane reduction, which are all attributed to efficiency and fermentation. 

Size of facilities 

“The potential for large operations is big,” Davis said. “We have spent the time to optimize equipment helping producers achieve the tonnage they need and better manage feed input costs, volatility and drought.” 

The company offers a small and large machine – producers can choose how many machines they have in their facility based on the need of their operation, and can build a new structure or use an existing one. In HydroGreen’s smaller machines, high pressure water cuts the forage at harvest, and in the larger machine, a shredder cuts the forage. Once harvested, the forage can be transported onto another conveyor belt, into a feed truck and out to herds.

“Whether you have 100 head or thousands of cattle, HydroGreen is a solution,” she said. 

The company has a dealer network and sits down with each producer to calculate their return on investment.  

“It’s really about production efficiencies and operational flexibility,” she concluded. “HydroGreen solves big problems and creates market opportunities.” 

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Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to 

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