Pigs get the benefits on new eNIRgy test

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.