Barley Fodder

By: Matt Nelson

Which barley fodder will grow taller? With Soil or Without Soil

Purpose Statement:

The purpose of this experiment was to find out what barley fodder will grow taller; The one with soil or the one without. I became interested in this experiment when my dad started growing it for our cows. The information gained from this experiment will help others by figuring out how barley fodder grows, is space efficient, grows quickly, and is not energy efficient, but is time efficient.


European dairy farmers feed sprouted grains to their cows during winter. Why? To maintain milk production. Barley Fodder can be fed to cows, sheep, goats, horses, and also chickens. When a cow eats barley fodder, it is eating nutrients that are not present in dry hay or in grain. It is also digestible.

When growing barley fodder, the temperature should be 60-65 degrees fahrenheit and the humidity 60-75%. Barley Fodder takes 9-10 days to grow. It doesn’t need soil, but it has to have artificial lighting. It can be rolled up when it should be moved or you can cut it into slabs. Barley fodder can also save money. How? It doesn’t have to be planted like other crops (corn, beans, etc…). Instead, it can be put on shelves and you can put them 2 feet from another tray that is nearly on top of it.


My hypothesis was the barley fodder without soil will grow taller than the one with soil. I base my hypothesis on I have seen just how tall barley fodder without soil can get.


2 See-through Containers/Trays

Barley Seeds

Spray Bottle


A light bulb

Something to hold the tray up to the lig

IV: soil

DV: the height of barley fodder

CV: type of light

CV: type of barley seed


1. Soak barley seed in bucket for 12 hours.

2. Drain water out of bucket and put ¼ cup barley seeds in each tray.

3. Put trays under a light or lights in a location where temperature measures 60-65º F.

4. Keep light on 24 hours a day.

5. Sprinkle water over the barley seed .

6. Repeat Steps 4 & 5 for 7-8 days.

7. Measure height of barley fodder in each tray

8. Take barley fodder out of tray.

9. Feed to animals. (cows, sheep, goats, horses)

Growth From Day #4 to Day #11(Day #1-Day #3 Soaking)

Barley Fodder With Soil Day#7 Day #8


Barley Fodder With Soil=Didn't get as tall as barley fodder without soil.

Barley Fodder Without Soil=Grew taller than barley fodder with soil.

Observations Log:

The barley fodder with soil didn't grow as tall as the barley fodder without soil. The barley fodder without soil grew a little bit taller than the barley fodder with soil.


The purpose of this experiment was what barley fodder grows taller. The results of the experiment were the barley fodder with soil didn’t get as tall as the barley fodder without soil.
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My hypothesis was the barley fodder without soil will grow taller than the one with soil. The results indicate that this hypothesis should be considered correct because the barley without soil grew taller. Based on the results of this experiment, you shouldn't put barley fodder in soil because it will not grow as tall as barley fodder without soil grows. If I were to conduct this science fair project again, I would use fertilized soil instead of just dirt.


Mike Nelson

Diane Nelson

Mrs. Cunningham