NIR Offers Quick Accurate Feed Quality Analysis

by 5m Editor
17 April 2012, at 6:11am

CANADA - A Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy calibration for barley is providing grain growers and their customers a quick and accurate analysis of the digestible energy content of barley, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy uses light to analyze the chemical bonds in feedstuffs and is typically used to provide simple feed quality analysis of grain and other quality parameters such as moisture content.

An NIR calibration to analyze the digestible energy content of barley, developed by the University of Alberta, in collaboration with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, will be discussed as part of a Canadian Feed Technology Course hosted by the Canadian International Grains Institute in conjunction with the Animal Nutrition Association of Canada this week in Winnipeg.

University of Alberta animal science professor Dr Ruurd Zijlstra says NIR analysis is both quick and accurate.

Dr Ruurd Zijlstra-University of Alberta

The actual analysis itself, once you have a calibration in place, takes one to two minutes so you have to sample in front of the instrument and two minutes later you have a prediction of the energy quality of the next sample of cereal grain that you scan.

Obviously there is time involved in getting the sample to the lab but then, once we have the data in the lab, the computer in the lab is linked up to the Internet so the data can be returned to the person that sent the sample the same day.

The accuracy for predicting digestible energy is about 60 to 70 kilocalories digestible energy and, to put that into a percentage, that's an accuracy of two to three per cent so that is quite similar to the accuracy for a lot of the lab analysis that are based on chemical analysis.

Dr Zijlstra says NIR can be used to analyze the quality of any cereal grain and researchers are now working on a calibration for wheat digestible energy.

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