NIR Offers Potential for Feed Cost Saving

CANADA - A researcher with Gowans Feed Consulting says the use of Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy (NIR) to evaluate the nutritional contents of feed ingredients has the potential to reduce feeding costs dramatically, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 22 March 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

NIR is a non-invasive technique that uses light to analyze the chemical bonds in feedstuffs to provide an indication of nutritional content.

Using NIR Technology to Reduce Feed Costs was among the topics discussed yesterday in Morris as part of Swine Nutrition Update 2013.

Dr Malachy Young, the manager of nutrition research with Gowans Feed Consulting says the main limitations of NIR are the cost of the equipment and limited availability of accurate calibrations.

Dr Malachy Young-Gowans Feed Consulting:

With good calibration equations and with the ongoing upkeep of those calibrations NIR technology can be very cost effective. It allows you to do a lot more samples compared to wet chemistry and can be quite accurate, will not be as good as wet chemistry, but can be quite accurate for the tools we want to use it for.

Calibration equations available for our main ingredients are wheat, barley, peas, canola meal, soybean meal, we have calibration equations.

What's unique about the feed evaluation program from Alberta is the energy calibrations are the best probably available in the world as far as calibrations to estimate digestible energy in ingredients which are not available elsewhere.

All our calibrations on DDGS are available, wheat shorts or wheat mids are available and more will be developed as these ingredients become available.

Dr Young acknowledges the accuracy achievable with NIR will never be as good as with wet chemistry but the cost is considerably less and the speed is much faster producing results within 30 seconds of conducting the tests.

He says how accurate the results will be will depend on the accuracy of the calibrations.

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