Dried & Ground NIRS
In the UK and Ireland, forage and feed analysis is usually performed on fresh samples using a method called wet or fresh Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS). There are inherent flaws in this process which result in inaccuracy and inconsistency. We’ve pioneered a technique using Dried & Ground NIRS which gives unmatched accuracy and repeatability.
In both NIRS methods, a sample is irradiated with near-infrared light. The resulting reflection, the spectrum, provides information on the sample’s composition. Dried & Ground NIRS offers numerous advantages which result in greatly increased accuracy and repeatability. We are also able to provide an extensive list of parameters, many of which are unique to us. Giving you extra insight and advantage.
A wide range of materials can be analysed using this approach. This includes silages (including grass, maize, lucerne, barley, oats, peas, mixed), fresh grass, hay, haylage, total mixed ration, feed maw materials and concentrates.
The Dried & Ground NIRS approach gives the following advantages:
- Homogeneity: Drying and grinding the sample gives a more homogenous sample. It also hugely increases the surface area that can be scanned. Analysis of homogenous samples with a large surface area yields more reliable results.
- Accuracy: The moisture in a fresh sample acts like a “fog” when performing NIRS analysis. Drying the sample removes this moisture, leading to a more accurate analysis.
- Calibrations: Over 60 forage and feed type-specific calibrations are used, allowing us to compare like with like which greatly increases the accuracy of results. Calibration databases are updated daily with wet chemistry results and contain thousands of NIR-spectra. So as forage varieties evolve over time and as climate change takes its toll, our calibrations stay super-accurate. Our mathematical model, local calibration, powers this process and allows us to reliably derive many parameters.
- True ash: As part of our process we give you the True Ash content, measured by classical methods. Crude ash is not measured by NIRS as this is not a reliable way to predict levels and inaccuracies are caused by soil contamination. We measure it directly by taking a sub-sample which is then turned into in a muffle furnace at 550°C.
- True dry matter: We also give you the true dry matter, measured by classical methods. Dry matter is not measured by NIRS as this is a common cause of inaccuracies. We dry the sample overnight before milling. Weighing before and after drying gives us the true dry matter of the sample.
- Sample preservation: Unlike fresh samples, a dried sample does not degrade over time. This allows us to store your sample material in our archives so it is available for further analysis in the future if you require.