A new test is helping pig producers to use feed more efficiently by revealing
the amount of digestible energy in cereal grains. A world first in the
practical application of near infra-red spectroscopy, the test has been
released by Australian Pork Limited (APL), the GRDC and SARDI (South Australian
Research & Development Institute).
The test, which took seven years to develop, is already generating significant
commercial interest, says Dr Ian Johnsson, APL’s general manager
for research and innovation.
Near infra-red spectroscopy (NIRS) involves scanning a sample of grain
before it is fed to the pigs. “It is most commonly used to measure
the crude protein and moisture content of cereals as a basis for payment
at grain receival depots,” he says. The new NIRS calibration will
allow pig producers to rapidly and accurately measure digestible energy
in cereal grains, such as wheat, barley, triticale and maize, from an
imminent harvest, Dr Johnsson says.
It could in future be incorporated into existing NIRS testing programs
and laboratories. “The calibrations will initially be available
to Australian pig producers through the eNIRgy analysis service being
offered via SARDI’s Pig and Poultry Production Institute Nutrition
Research Laboratory.” It is expected the test will be available
more widely from this year.
It is envisaged that the eNIRgy calibrations will be followed by other
tests being delivered through the Premium Grains for Livestock Program.
GRDC RESEARCH PROGRAM 5