In agriculture, as in many other sectors, time is money. Is there a way to accurately analyse livestock feed while saving time and money? Here we look at the on-demand results of dairy feed analysis. Si-Ware Systems tells us more about fast feed analysis and efficiency on-farm.
Si-Ware Systems recently announced a partnership with Dairyland Laboratories. The partnership will combine Si-Ware’s NeoSpectra technology and Dairyland’s feed testing expertise for fast feed analysis results, instant decisions and improved feed quality assurance.
In a nutshell, Dairyland’s feed testing and NIR expertise, together with NeoSpectra Scanners, will allow users to capture and review feed composition on-demand to allow in-field decision-making and variation control. Accurate analysis of moisture can be made in real-time, the company says, along with trends and changes in quality which can be seen. The in-field solution enables users to analyse more feed samples in less time, allows quick adjustments to feed changes and optimises harvest timing.
“We’re offering the NeoSpectra platform, which incorporates our portable FT-NIR Scanner with predictive testing models from industry experts,” says Ralph Hewitt, Si-Ware’s VP of Global Sales.
“The feed analysis solution we are bringing to market through partnering with Dairyland Laboratories provides farmers with rapid data on their feed quality. This includes test data on in-field measurements of dry matter, crude protein and neutral detergent fibre (NDF) in ingredients such as corn silage, alfalfa, corn grain, grass, corn distiller’s grains, soybean meal and corn gluten feed. Having this data in the field ensures ingredients can be used in the best way possible to manage herds.”
In terms of feed analysis and a quick turnaround time to get results, this solution fares equally as well or better compared to laboratory analysis results, which farmers usually have to wait a few days to access. The portable solution offers in-field insights in minutes and allows farmers to, for example, analyse more samples in less time and adjust feed quickly, saving not only time but costs, too.
“Analysing dry matter in real-time allows dairy farmers to know how many nutrients they are feeding at any given time. It allows them to detect quality changes and trend them over time to ensure they can optimise their feed rations,” Hewitt states.
Hewitt further notes that the NeoSpectra portable analysers can test for moisture/dry matter, protein, starch, acid detergent fibre (ADF), NDF, fat and ash in a variety of ingredients, and the accuracy is comparable to a laboratory benchtop NIR.
In this regard, accuracy can be equated to efficiency, and on-farm efficiency is synonymous with a well-performing operation and high-performing livestock. The fact that results can be seen instantly helps maintain a farm operation’s success. “Even at 4.00 am when [farmers] are mixing their total mixed ration, the NeoSpectra Scanner detects trends that will negatively impact feed quality, allowing the dairy farmer to make feed changes quickly,” Hewitt says.
According to Hewitt, the NeoSpectra Scanner and the prediction models from lab partners like Dairyland Laboratories help manage a dairy cattle nutrition programme that can improve the health and reproductive performance of dairy cows and can improve milk production through better use of ingredients to hit nutrient targets. Some testers on the market are only capable of providing rudimentary dry matter information, but the NeoSpectra Scanner allows users to see the full range of nutrients (dry matter, crude protein, moisture, NDF, and many others) so they can formulate feeds that lead to better performing dairy cows.
The livestock sector plays an important role in ensuring food security in the future as the world population expands. The backdrop is the many challenges facing the livestock industry, from climate change to sky-high feed prices, feed quality and availability. Therefore, keeping a farm operating as efficiently as possible is a necessity if we want to continue a viable operation. Real-time feed analysis can play an important role in exercising efficiency on-farm and maintaining a profitable business.
The Dairyland partnership, announced on the first day of the 2021 World Dairy Expo, is Si-Ware’s first lab partner arrangement in the US. The in-field solution will be available from January 2022.