Feed International - October/November 2017 - 28
28 ❙ FeedInternational
Forage analysis crucial to
accurate ruminant rations
NIR analysis aids in combating variability, identifying accurate
nutrient, mineral parameters
BY HELEN WARREN
Forage nutrient content can vary substantially, making analysis a critical part of rationing ruminant livestock. Analysis includes the basic parameters of energy
and protein, as well as dry matter (DM) and can be extended to minerals and assessment of hygienic quality.
Without accurate analyses, including forages in rations will be relying on guesswork.
Forage analysis overview
Analytical parameters for forages vary slightly according to type of forage, region and rationing system
being used. However, they are still assessing the same
basic components: DM, energy, fiber, protein and fat.
Ash content, starch, sugars and individual minerals, as
well as more dynamic parameters, such as degradation
values, are also often included in a forage analysis.
Additionally, estimations (or calculations) of potential
intake value, rumen stability values and potential acid
loads are included in some regions.
Near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) has
become the analytical method of choice over traditional wet chemistry in the analysis of many feed materials, particularly forages. It relies on measuring the
amount of energy required to vibrate chemical bonds
between atoms within molecules. Different chemical
bonds require different amounts of energy and that
NIR analysis combats forage
variability by identifying
accurate nutrient and mineral
parameters in dairy rations.
Brian Maudsley | Dreamstime
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ October/November 2017