Why is it important that grain analysis are made periodically?

Published: 2021-08-18

From time to time we observe drops in production results when farmers start to use grain after the new harvest. Besides mycotoxin contamination and new grain poisoning we also observe deviations in the nutrient content of diets. The cause of this is unproper raw materials analyses used for feed optimization.

It could be old grain analysis from the previous year or average analysis which is not always accurate due to different factors which all have an influence on the quality of the harvest (weather, grain variety, fertilizers, etc.). The reasons can be many: time limitations or lacking motivation to spend money on analyses.
In the feed optimization program it is very important to use the correct and updated values and analysis for particular water content, crude protein, crude fat and fiber. By doing so the feed recipes become more accurate.

It helps to avoid "undesired surprises" related to feed like under-/over-supply of nutrients which will reduce the animal productivity or increase costs and reduce economic efficiency.

If - on the other hand - there is less protein in the grain than expected, a fast correction of the protein value in the formulations ensures that the crude protein level does not fall beyond the desired nutrient norms and will not reduce meat percentage, daily gain, milk production or productivity in general.

Farmers who produce their own feed are more flexible and can more easily get full value of the grain nutrients (especially protein) when they periodically collect the grain samples and send them to the lab so they always have a clear picture of the quality of the raw materials stored in the warehouse or silos. In this way it is always possible to save some quantities of soybean/sunflower proteins.

Grain represents 70-80% of feed mixes and it is therefore crucial to use correct values  to ensure an economically and nutritionally optimal feeding.

If you subsequently dry the grain, remember to inform the updated analyzes to your feed adviser. An example: if grain with 19% water content has been used in the optimizations (from the beginning of harvest) and the grain has been dried down to 15%, this means approx. + 3.5-4.0 FE in the finished feed formulation. There will also be a lower protein level compared to the optimal. This has consequences not only for productivity, but also on the feed conversion.

How to take a representative sample ?

In order to get accurate lab results it is very important to collect representative samples. During the harvest and grain storage a sample of one or two handfuls (0.5 kg) from each truck unloaded should be collected and identified with the number of silo or the warehouse where is stored (if it makes sense to be analyzed separately). When the stock is full, all the samples should be mixed very well and an average sample of 0.5 -1 kg is taken from that. 

This procedure should be applied for each grain variety, even eg. if two different grains were mixed in a silo or in a storage warehouse - in that case it will require a chemical analysis to determine the correct content.

Interested in learning more:

Contact us if you are in doubt on how to make the right samples of your grain.

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