Eurofins Agro UK has launched a method of feed testing new to the UK and Ireland that, it claims, can give more accurate results compared with current testing methods.
Traditionally in the UK, fresh samples of feed and forage are analysed while wet, but the moisture can cloud the clarity.
However, using this latest method samples are dried and ground before being scanned by near-infrared spectroscopy (Nirs).
Speaking to Farmers Weekly at UK Dairy Day, Eurofins Agro UK managing director Isobel Daley said:
“We dry and grind what’s sent to us into a powder-like state, giving a much more homogenous sample, which in turn yields much great accuracy.”
Another shortcoming of wet Nirs, she added, was that only three databases are available to allow the comparison of three forages: grass silage, maize silage and wholecrop. This means crops falling outside of these parameters, such as Lucerne, are compared with inappropriate databases, which can cause inaccuracies.
“The UK is very unusual. Typically, elsewhere, for a decade samples have been tested using the dried and ground technique.”
Therefore, she said, samples tested using the dried and ground technique could be compared with Eurofins databases globally to increase the breadth of samples that can be analysed, including oats and peas, TMR and concentrates.
Ms Daley said if the lab didn’t have enough samples to give an accurate analysis of the sample received, then they would resort to using another method called wet chemistry, which is more time-consuming and expensive, but is seen as the ‘gold standard’ test. Using this method nutrients are isolated using chemicals.
Pricing and timing of results
Testing costs £40/sample, although prices may differ if samples are being sent to the laboratory through feed companies. Results will typically be available within 48 hours.
For more information, phone Eurofins Agro Testing UK on 0845 604 6740 or email firstname.lastname@example.org