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Reliable feed and forage analysis can improve your livestock feeding program. Determining the feed value of forage allows you to balance rations more accurately based on nutritive value.
The key to successful forage analysis is taking a good, representative forage sample on the farm. Laboratory analysis can determine the quality of a submitted forage sample, but this will not help you balance rations if the submitted sample does not represent forage actually being fed to your animals. The largest error in forage analysis is improper sampling methods on the farm. You need to take a representative sample of forage from every hay or silage lot. These samples will reflect the variation in forage quality that occurs across your fields and during harvesting.
The following sampling procedures are recommended:
Analysis and Reporting
It is our mission to teach and demonstrate the latest research base in forage testing. Research based feed and forage analysis and reporting systems means we make every attempt to provide the dairy and livestock industry with the “real facts” concerning feed and forage testing. We use summative technology developed by researchers to more precisely predict feed energy contents and offer a UW-Recommended evaluation system which we believe is the best research based system to use. We do not microwave dry our samples prior to analytical evaluation because research has demonstrated the feed and forage protein fractions can be altered from the intense heat associated with microwave drying.
We promote wet chemistry mineral analytical systems because research suggest NIRS may not offer enough precision in today’s nutrient management programs. We promote and use NIRS technology where its utility has been fully researched. Finally, our Feed & Forage Testing Reports are designed to be educational by fully listing proper nutritional terms, abbreviations, units and the analytical methods used to determine them.
Additional References & Resources