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Livestock production depends largely on the feeding program, and what you should feed your animals will depend on forage quality analyses. Forage quality determines the potential of a forage to produce the desired animal response. It can measure intake, palatability, digestibility, nutrient content, animal performance, and anti-quality factors. During the last couple of years, analytical procedures have improved as well as the knowledge of how to use test results to increase animal efficiency and performance. Interestingly enough and despite these advances, many livestock producers do not yet recognize the potential of forage quality testing as a management tool for their operations. Knowing the quality of the forages you sell or buy is economically sound and should been taken in consideration.
How do I sample forage for quality testing?
Samples of Baled Hay:
Samples of Haylage and Silage at Harvest:
Preparing and Storing Collected Samples:
Proper sampling ensures that the forage analyses accurately reflect the hay, silage, or pasture being sampled. It is important to follow the steps to obtain a sample of forage in hay or silage, or else inadequate sampling will result in less accurate forage quality data analysis.
Source: Karla Hernandez, South Dakota State University
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