The effect of soaking on the yield and nutritional profile of hydroponic maize fodder
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This was a comparative experimental study that sought to compare the yield, nutritional composition and shoot to radicle ratio of fodder from seeds soaked for 2, 4 and 6 hours, with fodder harvested from seeds soaked for a duration of 24 hours. The study involved triplicates of four groups of maize seeds, each weighing 500gm of dry seed; the seeds were sorted, weighed into 500gm and then independently soaked at different durations of 2, 4, 6 and 24 hours. The seeds were then placed in a 2 day dark period in a dark jerry can after which they were removed and planted in sauce pans of a diameter of 200mm and a height of 170mm, whose base was perforated with four hole at the base. In these sauce pans, the seeds were placed to a height of 100mm from the base. The sauce pans containing the seeds were placed under a house shade, and the seeds were watered daily with three litres of water at an interval of 6 hours. The fodder was grown for six days, and harvested, and analysed for the yield, nutritional composition through proximate analysis, and the shoot to radicle ratio. There was a significant difference (P=0.019) in the total height of the HMF, which occurred as a result of HMF grown from seeds soaked for a duration of 4 hours having HMF with the shortest total height of 160.811b±13.474 mm, which significantly differed from that of the rest of the fodder from seeds soaked for different durations, as well this fodder also had the shortest shoot height of 128.878b ± 2.846 mm, which was significantly different (P=0.034) from the rest of the of the HMF grown from seeds soaked at the different soaking durations, contributing to the overall reduction in the total height of the fodder. There was no significant difference (P> 0.05) in the weight, shoot, root heights, nutritional analysis and shoot to radicle ratio of the fodder analysed. HMF from seeds soaked for a duration of 2 hours with a yield of; weight 1.232±0.024, total height 180.500±0.983, root height 49.122 ±4.008 and shoot height of 131.378±3.083; a nutritional analysis of %moisture content 74.195±0.179, %dry matter 25.784±0.737, % crude protein 1.700±1.683, %fat 3.300±0.173, %ash 2.028±0.116, %crude fibre 5.100±0.153 and %nitrogen free extract 78.872±1.588; and with a shoot to radicle ratio of 2.723a±0.298 produced quality fodder for a very short duration of time, thus a study into the performance of animals fed on this fodder should be conducted, in order to establish its effectivity as supplementary feed for livestock.