Egyptian Endurance Riding Association

Barley sprouts
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EERA's new project: Barley sprouts for horses

The thing that makes sprouted grain so good is that the grain is a complete feed which includes the exceptionally vital enzymes that are killed in hay making process or any other process for dry grain storage or feeding. It is those enzymes that stop the sugars becoming toxic to the animal that eats them, instead they are turned into healthy energy.


Nutritional Benefits

The main benefit of sprouted fodder in comparison to feeding grain is “improved protein, starch and sugar” (CROPP Cooperative’s “Sprouted Dairy Fodder” Technical Bulletin #10 by Dr. Sylvia Abel-Caines). Nearly all of the starch present in the grain is converted to sugar by sprouting, which is better utilized by the rumen than the dry grain. This reduces acidosis problems, as the rumen pH stays more stable without the constant input of starch.

“Mineral and vitamin levels in hydroponically-sprouted barley are significantly increased over those in grain; in addition, they are absorbed more efficiently due to the lack of enzyme inhibitors in sprouted grain. Sprouts provide a good supply of vitamins A, E, C and B complex. The vitamin content of some seeds can increase by up to 20 times their original value within several days of sprouting.” (“Sprouted Barley Fodder” Technical Bulletin)

Jim Kern of Fodder Feeds pointed out that “when a cow eats fresh sprouted fodder, it is eating digestive enzymes that are not present in dry hay or in grain. It is highly digestible and nutritious.”

There is very little dry matter in sprouted barley fodder (17%). Thus, a farmer feeding it must also provide dry hay, but the hay does not have to be of highest quality.



Benefits of Sprouted Fodder

There are many benefits to be found from using fresh barley grass and spouted grains that has been organically and hydroponically grown. When barley is sprouted, it releases many vitamins and minerals as well as converting hard to digest starches in easily digestible proteins. Some of the benefits include: 

  • Increased nutritional value in the feed
  • High digestibility
  • Vitamins & mineral saturation
  • Phytate reduction for pH normalization
  • Enzymatic activity increase
  • Increases in Omega 3, amino acids, natural hormones
  • Availability of fresh green feed 365 days a year - all season access.  





Benefits associated with feeding Barley sprouts;

  • Properties known to reduce the incidence of ulcers, inflammatory laminitis, tie-up, compaction & colic
  • Reduce recovery time after hard work
  • Exceptional growth rates in yearlings
  • Stimulates appetite, especially during conditions of heat stress
  • Fed daily, maintains a horse’s well being by aiding the digestive process and supplying protein and high levels of cool energy. This allows a horse in work to maintain the bulk essential for an extended campaign
  • Improvement in general appearance and coat condition
  • High in digestible fiber, which is digested into volatile fatty acids & is readily absorbed into the bloodstream as a source of energy
  • Sprouts contain higher concentrations of the freely availably minerals important for animal nutrition, compared to grain prior to sprouting
  • Helps replace essential fluids lost in work and increases hydration, especially in regions where heat causes excessive loss of fluids from sweating
  • Provide essential amino acids and vitamins which encourages early breeding (D Cuddeford. PhD Royal School of Veterinary Studies)
  • Improved behavior
  • Higher milk production in lactating mares

Supplying fodder as a supplemental feed each day will result in many benefits, including:

  • Less recovery time required after hard work
  • Reduced instance of colic, ulcers and inflammation
  • Earlier and more consistent heat cycles
  • Improved hoof health
  • Improved behavior and temperament
  • Higher energy levels
  • Improved coat gloss and appearance

Benefits to Livestock and horses :

Fodder is a more natural feed and is comparable to the forages the digestive systems of livestock and horses were designed to process. Due to its increased digestibility and the availability of nutrients, there is a wide range of benefits to feeding fodder over grains and concentrates. Not only will your animals be healthier and have a better quality of life, they will also be more productive and profitable. Benefits to all animals include:

  • Faster weaning and less stress on mothers and youngstock
  • Less manure due to increased digestibility of fodder
  • Boosted immune system
  • Increased longevity and lifespan
  • Earlier heat cycles
  • Improved fertility
  • Stimulated appetite during heat stress
  • Better behavior and temperament


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