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Rain Hail or Shine Grains Gain with AusScan

by 5m Editor
22 December 2010, at 9:25am

AUSTRALIA - With prolific weather damaged grain in eastern Australia, drought affected grain in WA and some light-weight barley in Queensland, livestock producers, particularly pig farmers, are turning to AusScan, technology commercialised by Australia’s Pork Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), to rigorously assess grain before feeding.


Commercial grain testing laboratories now have the AusScan NIR calibrations, so producers need to specify that they want an AusScan analysis, according to Pork CRC AusScan Project Manager, John Spragg.

Pork CRC AusScan Project Manager, John Spragg said he was confident that available energy determinations for weather damaged grains, using the AusScan near infrared (NIR) calibrations, would provide more meaningful data than that generated from the metabolisable energy (ME) estimation equations.

“The difficulty with field samples is not having a control non-weather damaged grain for comparison, whereas the Premium Grains for Livestock Program (PGLP) artificially created weather damage by germinating grains and stopping germination at various stages via rapid drying. The PGLP dataset includes weather damaged field samples.“

Established in 1996 as a jointly funded grains and animal industries project, PGLP arose because of rapidly increasing demand for grain by intensive livestock industries and concern about a reliable supply of grain meeting their particular quality specifications.

Original PGLP data demonstrated that weather damage could provide inconsistent effects on ME.

PGLP experiments suggested that during the early stage of germination the energy content of sprung grains for animals was not decreased and, in some circumstances, energy increased compared to sound grain. However, as the degree of germination progressed, energy levels declined below that of sound grain.

Mr Spragg warned that livestock producers need to be aware of mycotoxins that may develop in weather damaged grain: “When storing weather damaged grain, it’s essential to ensure the grain is fully dry before storing.“

He explained that AusScan cattle ME and sheep ME calibrations were from in-vivo feed and were not estimates based on chemical composition.

“These calibrations and those for pig DE and broiler available ME have included shot and sprung wheat, barley, triticale and sorghum, so we’re confident our available energy determinations for weather damaged grains using AusScan NIR calibrations will provide more meaningful data than that from ME estimation equations,“ Mr Spragg said.

The calibrations also included small, light-weight grains with higher screenings.

“Commercial grain testing laboratories now have the AusScan NIR calibrations, so producers need to specify that they want an AusScan analysis,“ he said.

While the Pork CRC, on behalf of all livestock industries, had actively promoted use of the AusScan technology, Mr Spragg said he believed this year was one in which the technology revealed its true worth due to the large range in grain quality in the market.