​Feed Testing with ARL

Feed quality analysis allows you to determine the value of pasture and supplementary feed, to assist in budgeting for maximum production at minimum cost.

Why test for feed quality?

  • To determine the amount of feed to give your animals, for maximum animal performance and the conservation of your valuable feed stocks.
  • To achieve your targeted milk solid production, live weight gains and animal reproductive performance.
  • To determine the quality of the feed you buy in or conserve.

How do I sample for feed analysis?

To help us provide you with information on the quality of your pasture, silage and other feedstuffs, it is important to take a representative sample of the test material.

For fresh pasture
Sampling fresh pasture for feed quality analysis should follow the same sampling procedure as sampling pasture for nutrient analysis. When sampling from conserved feed such as silage or baleage, combining a number of sub-samples will give you an “average” or representative sample.

For maize
If you are sampling at harvest particularly if you are buying or selling maize silage on a dry weight basis, we recommends that you consult with the ‘Maize Forage Trading Code of Practice’. The code has been developed by industry groups and outlines best practice for weighing, sampling and method chosen (truck, auger or scoop samples from the stack) and the level of accuracy acceptable to all parties involved.

The number of samples submitted to ARL can be reduced further by sample reduction through a riffle box. ARL’s dry matter assessment is IANZ accredited with fully traceable standards as recommended by the code of practice.

For pasture & cereal silage
Core samples are recommended because the edge of the silage pit or bales are likely to have deteriorated to a significant degree in comparison to the core. The silage should be ensiled for at least four weeks and preferably six weeks before sampling, for maize the sample should be ensiled for at least one week.

  • Cut a small hole in the plastic cover of the stack (pit) or bale.
  • Take at least 6 grab samples of about 200 grams each from various parts of the pit and combine them in the sampling bag provided.
  • If you are sampling bales take the grab samples from the centre of 6 bales.
  • Ensure that the grab samples are taken at least 30 cm into the centre of the pit or bale.

If the sample is from silage currently being fed-out, collect samples from silage that has only just been taken out of the stack or from a bale that has just been opened.

After taking samples ensure that you tape over holes in the plastic cover using silage tape to minimise deterioration in the areas the samples have come from.

After taking the sample

Press or squeeze the sample bag to remove as much of the entrapped air as possible, label and seal the bag tightly.

Fill in the submission form and put the samples plus the submission form in the pre-paid courier bag and send them to ARL immediately. Store in a cool place before dispatch, any delay exposes the sample to excess heat and moisture and will affect the analysis. Samples should not be sent to ARL after Thursday to ensure they arrive at the lab on a working day.

Which feed analysis to select?

ARL has a number of feed analysis suites designed to meet your needs. Simply tick the box on the feed submission form which best describes your feed stuff.

Feed testing documentation

Feed and plant testing price list
Feed and plant testing sampling guide
Plant and feed testing submission form