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How to Get Maximum Yield from Dairy Cattle Using NIR

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How to Get Maximum Yield from Dairy Cattle Using NIR

Analyzing forage used for feed assures utmost nutrition 

The nutritional content in forage, silage and roughage has a massive impact on a dairy farm’s bottom line. The forage being fed to the cattle directly affect milk production, growth rates and reproduction rates on the farm. Nutrition balancing is also important to beef cattle production for maximum weight gain. You can make the most of the feed, and therefore the cattle, with the SpectraStar® XT and its Forage Analyzer package from Unity Scientific®.  

Near infrared (NIR) instrumentation has been an essential component of forage analysis for over 30 years. NIR analyzers can provide a complete nutritional profile including dry matter, fiber fractions, protein, carbohydrates and lignin, along with calculated parameters such as net energy of lactation (NEL), in about 30 seconds. In general, data from high-quality NIR analyzers is nearly as accurate and much more precise than the same data from the wet lab reference method but is provided in a fraction of the time and expense. 

Forage lab managers and directors, along with University Animal Science programs, can reap the benefits of analyzing ground forages, hay, silage and more with the Unity® SpectraStar. Without this top-of-the-line NIR instrument, these labs struggle to get timely results to nutritionists and farmers, while juggling the large number of laborious individual assays needed daily at forage labs.  A properly calibrated NIR will replace a room full of wet laboratory instruments, producing high quality data with a fraction of the input.  The workload on the wet lab can be reduced to periodic monitoring and calibration updates if needed.   

Large dairy operations can also see significant improvements in milk production through frequent testing of the forage fraction on site.  Forages show significant variation in nutritional profiles based on environment, source, and seasonal variation, thus various sections of a bunker or stored ‘ag bags’ can vary widely in nutritional value. On-site testing allows ration optimization based on the forage currently being used at the mixer stage for precise and consistent nutrition. 

Unity Scientific provides these advantages and more. The SpectraStar is the highest performing NIR instrument on the market. In a single 30-second test (and one small sample), you can analyze all forage parameters—such as DM, protein, crude fiber, ash, sugars, NDF, ADF, energy (calculated) and moisture—on the most accurate and repeatable NIR instrument available. Ready-to-use complete forage calibration packages from Aunir and the NIRS Forage Consortium provide out of the box operation on a wide variety of forages and silages.  Custom calibrations can also be created with the recently updated Unity UCal™4 software, with expert assistance and training available.   

In addition to these benefits, the ROI is unmatched, as well. The advertised cost of running forage samples via wet chemistry is about two to four times the cost done by NIR. The cost of all the instruments that NIR replaces is several times the cost of the SpectraStar, not to mention the cost of consumables and hazardous waste disposal and the lab safety modifications that are required to run these tests.  

For more information on the benefits and applications of the SpectraStar, Forage Analyzer and/or University Analyzer packages, please fill out the contact form below and one of our experienced NIR experts will reach out to you.