Increasing Corn Production with Hydroponic and Aquaponic System from the Side of Agronomy

The main feed ingredient for ruminants is forage because it can optimize the function of rumen (stomach). However, the availability of forage is running low due to limited land.

One of the efforts to overcome this problem is by using hydroponic cultivation techniques that can be done using plant seeds. As well as applying aquaponic planting techniques, which is combining aquaculture or the maintenance of aquatic animals with hydroponics, or what is better known as a plant cultivation system with water planting media.

According to Lecturer at the Faculty of Animal Husbandry Universitas Brawijaya (Fapet UB), Ir. Hermanto, MP, through these two techniques not only overcoming land limitations but also solving problems of land fertility, water availability, seasons and labor.

“As animal feed, corn does not contain anti-nutritional substances, from seeds to plant components. Almost all phases of the growth of the maize plant from sprouts to hay have been explored for use as animal feed. ” explained Hermanto

He expressed his opinion in his dissertation research entitled “The Relevance of Efforts to Increase Forage Production of Corn with Hydroponics and Aquaponics Techniques for Ruminant Animal Production Systems”, and has been tested openly online, Wednesday (16/12/2020).

Hermanto conducted research in the greenhouse of Sumber Sekar Field Laboratory and Fapet UB Animal Nutrition and Feed Laboratory, in three stages of experiment. The first stage tested the production capability of maize in five solution media, namely pure water, hydroponic nutrient solution 1000 ppm, 2000 ppm, pond water for tilapia and catfish with a seed density level of 100; 150 and 200 seeds per tray (25 × 10 cm2).

Then in the second experiment, he tested two varieties of corn Bisi 18 and NK Perkasa with a density of 200 seeds per tray cultivated with 1000 ppm hydroponic recirculation, tilapia and catfish pond water.

Furthermore, in the final stage he analyzes all costs arising from the first research and the recirculation equipment used to determine the cost of goods manufactured.

From these studies it can be concluded that the use of nutrient solutions reduces the density of seeds per tray. So, it extends the harvest life up to 35 days and is able to convert seeds into high plant biomass, which is up to two times. However, from a financial perspective, this treatment is not economical because it results an expensive cost of production.

Meanwhile, the nutrient concentration in a suitable hydroponic solution can increase the crude protein content of forage compared to aquaponics. Meanwhile, digestibility is not influenced by nutrient solution or seed density but is more determined by plant age, where the increasing age of the plant will decrease digestibility. This decrease in digestibility is due to the synthesis of crude fiber in plants.

The low cost of production in this study was obtained in the economic category of treatment, namely using fish pond water nutrients, the density of seeds per tray which was tight and harvested in a short time, but the production was dominated by the roots of the plant. (dta/ Humas UB/ Trans. Iir)