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MOISTURE – The moisture content within the feed sample is reported as the % loss in weight of a sample as a result of oven-drying to a constant weight at a temperature just above 100C. All the values are then reported on a dry basis on the top line, and an “as is” basis on the line below.
CRUDE PROTEIN - This is usually obtained by multiplying total N by 6.25. Crude protein will include both true protein and non-protein N. Animals can utilize both types to some degree. Because forages that are higher in protein are correspondingly lower in crude fiber, higher protein content almost always indicates a higher TDN (Total Digestible Nutrients) figure.
DIGESTIBLE PROTEIN – The digestible protein is the portion absorbed by the animal. Digestibility is a variable and affects how well a feed will be utilized. Digestible protein may be estimated from standard literature or calculated from ADF insoluble protein.
ADF INSOLUBLE PROTEIN – The protein content found within the ADF is used as an indicator of “unavailable” protein. The crude protein analysis is only a measure of the total protein and can overvalue the protein in feeds that have been damaged by heating. Heat damage occurs in the ensiling process or the dying of grains.
CRUDE FAT - Crude fat is the amount of fat or oil content of a feed, which is extracted by ether. This ether extract contains not only true fat, but fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K, free fatty acids, cholesterol, chlorophyll, lecithin, resins, and volatile oils. In cereal grains most of the ether extract is true fat, but in forage crops, more than 1/2 may consist of other compounds. This is one of the major factors causing differences in the gross energy of various feeds, because fat will yield over 9 Kcal/g while proteins & carbohydrates yield about 5 Kcal/g.
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CRUDE FIBER – The crude fiber is a fraction that contains the other carbohydrates and cellulose, which are insoluble and they cannot be dissolved with alkali solutions or weak acid. This is important because feeds that are high in fiber are less digestible than those low in fiber. Forage crops that are high fiber have lower energy and TDN. Grains that have low fiber have higher energy and TDN.
ADF (ACID DETERGENT FIBER) – The fraction which is not soluble in acid detergent solution. This contains the lignin, cellulose, heat damaged protein, and cutin. This is more related to digestibility than to crude fiber.
ASH – The ash content of the feed is the percentage of mineral matter. This is the inorganic residue that is left after firing a sample at 600 degrees C in a muffle furnace for a specified length until the sample is free of carbon. The nutritional significance will depend on upon the feed that is used.
TDN (TOTAL DIGESTIBLE NUTRIENTS) – This is the sum of the digestible portions of fat, protein, fiber and nitrogen free extract. It represents the approximate energy value of the feed. In the recent years, there is a trend away from TDN for expressing the useful energy of feeds and the energy needs of livestock. Net Energy (NE) is not being used more for this purpose.
NITRATES – Crops grown on soils with balanced soil fertility should not contain enough nitrate to affect animal health or metabolism. However, excess soil nitrogen from unbalanced fertilization or from weather conditions may cause the nitrate concentrations to rise to potentially harmful levels for livestock feeding.
MINERAL ELEMENT CONTENT – Essential mineral nutrients are mineral nutrients that are required to help complete the animal’s life cycle. The level of these mineral elements may be extremely variable in feedstuffs. The soil fertility levels, type of feed, environmental conditions, and many other factors influence the mineral content. At low concentrations, deficiencies can occur. At excessively high concentrations, mineral nutrients can have a toxic effect.
NET ENERGY – NE is the calculated estimate of the net energy available to the animals who are consuming the feed. Simply put, the NE is the gross energy of a feed minus the energy left in the feces, energy lost in gas and urine, and the energy used to work in digestion and heat increments. The energy that remains is called net energy and can be used for gain, maintenance, milk production, work, pregnancy, and so on. Energy is most often expressed in caloric units such as Mcal/lb.