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Factor Driving Interest among Pork Producers

by 5m Editor
16 April 2012, at 7:32am

CANADA - A research scientist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development says the speed with which feed ingredient quality can be assessed using Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy is the main factor driving interest among pork producers in the technology, Bruce Cochrane writes.

A Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy calibration developed by researchers with the University of Alberta and Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development to predict barley digestible energy will be among the developments discussed next week in Winnipeg when the Canadian International Grains Institute, in conjunction with the Animal Nutrition Association of Canada, hosts a Canadian Feed Technology Course.

Dr Mary Lou Swift, with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, notes NIR is commonly used within the grain grading system to evaluate protein and moisture and in many laboratories around the world to evaluate ingredient and forage quality.

Dr Mary Lou Swift-Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

Near Infrared or NIR as we commonly call it is a tool actually similar probably to X-rays.

It uses the principles of light energy to indirectly measure the amount of materials like protein, starch, fat, et cetera that are in feedstuffs and forages.

The interest has been spurred on by the fact that NIR is a rapid evaluation method.

Within 30 seconds you can scan a sample of barley or wheat and obtain up to 60 different values so it saves a lot of time in terms of what chemistry and in money.

I think that is really spurring on, especially with the development of specialized equations like digestible energy or digestible fibre that can be used to count the pennies I think when it comes to formulating animal feeds.


Dr Swift observes now that we have the ability to analyze digestible energy, interest in the technology has grown exponentially.

She notes some estimates range as high as eight dollars per pig that can be saved if energy can be accurately assessed in barley.