Feed Testing

/Feed Testing
Feed Testing 2017-04-20T15:13:36+00:00

Feed Testing

Testing your feed is essential for any farmer. Testing allows you to make better stock management decisions so you can:

  • decide how much feed to supply
  • identify deficiencies
  • calculate feed rations
  • budget for feed gaps in autumn and winter
  • enable your feed to be sold through Dynamic Hay & Grain

We partner with FeedTest in Werribee, Victoria, to provide a comprehensive feed testing service. Importantly, your feed test includes quality analysis, mineral analysis, mould and mycotoxin screening. Since the 1980s FeedTest has provided extensive testing services, including a calibration database that accounts for seasonal variance. This ensures consistency and accuracy of results. Also, it reduces the need for ‘wet chemistry’ testing which can cause delays.

Why use Dynamic Ag for feed testing?

Our founder, Steve Cotton, owned and operated a feed lab from Hamilton for four years, the second lab to commence testing in Victoria. Furthermore, he has extensive expertise in all facets of feed testing. This includes sampling, analysis, reporting and interpretation of results.

Glenys Downes, our lab manager, worked at FeedTest in Hamilton for 14 years. Together with the team, she pioneered the sampling, testing and analytics methods now currently employed by the Australian Fodder Industry Association and most labs across Australia.

We have extensive knowledge and experience with interpretation of results.

Dynamic Ag is a locally owned and operated small family business. Our help and advice doesn’t stop the moment you receive your results. Additionally, we can assist with sampling the fodder when we are next in your area.

You get independent nutrition advice and guidance so you can:

  • develop a feeding plan for your livestock
  • calculate supplementary feed and pasture budgets
  • develop rations for livestock in containment or lambs in feedlots
  • identify trace element deficiencies and correct them

Also, we can assist you with the sale or purchase of hay or grain.

How to collect feed samples

Collecting feed samples for analysis is easy. Click here for a step by step guide on how to collect pasture, hay, silage and grain for analysis.

Sample kits can be posted out to you at no cost, and include:

  • sample submission form (you can also download the form)
  • plastic zip-lock collecting bag
  • reply paid bag so you can post your sample at no charge

Post early in the week

It is best to collect and post your samples early in the week. This avoids samples sitting in the post office over the weekend. Please, if you are collecting silage samples, keep these refrigerated until you go to town. If possible, drop silage samples into the post office rather than putting them in the red box outside the post office to avoid unnecessary heating.

Submission form

Please include all the necessary details in the submission form. Make sure your name, sample ID, email address and mobile number are included. This will help prevent any delays of your results.

Borrow a hay corer                 

We have three hay corers available to loan to both buyers and sellers. There is no charge to borrow these to take a representative hay or silage sample. However you will be charged postage, if you want it posted to you. You’ll get instructions for the use of the corer together with general care tips. We also have a high torque cordless drill that can be borrowed at no charge. Please contact us to arrange a loan.

Feed Testing results

Results will be sent to Dynamic Ag within three business days of arriving at the lab. From time to time we experience delays with Australia Post, so samples can take a little longer to arrive. If you require urgent results, the lab can prioritise your sample for testing. This costs a few extra dollars and results will be available within one day of arrival. We will email the results to you on the same day we receive them.

What’s included in my report?

Your report will include an extensive range of parameters including dry matter, moisture, metabolisable energy, crude protein, digestibility (DMD & DOMD), fibre (NDF & ADF), sugars, starch, bulk density (grains only) and ash. A more comprehensive analysis can include parameters such as lignins, fats, pH, ammonia, protein solubility, lactic, propionic and acetic acids and macro nutrients. FeedTest now provides CNCPS (Cornell net carbohydrate and protein system) results direct through DairyLand Laboratories in the United States, meaning that dairy farmers, and their consultants/nutritionists can gain access to results ready to be analysed by AMTS or NDS software packages.

Example of results report

How do my results compare to other samples tested?

The quality of your feed and the feed test result is a combination of:

  • growing conditions
  • fertiliser applications
  • stage of maturity when tested
  • the type of sample tested
  • the method of which you obtained the sample for testing
  • other factors

It will vary from year to year. But, comparing your results to the averages can give you an indication if your sample(s) are better than or below average. So, check out the season averages to get an idea of how your product compares.

We offer advice and workshops around growing quality silage and hay. Also, we can assist with deciding on whether to cut cereal crops for hay, whether to graze or whether to strip. Using partial budgets to determine the best solution for crops takes the guess work out of what to do. Call us for more information.

The Australian Fodder Industry Association (AFIA) grading system

The AFIA grading system assists farmers and industry experts understand the quality of their feed. On the bottom of your feed test you will find an alpha-numerical score which is an objective measurement of quality. So, it takes into account the digestibility (an energy) and protein levels of the feed tested. “A” grade hays have the highest energy values, while “D” grade hays and silages have the lowest energy. Importantly, a numerical value of “1” indicates protein levels are above 19% of dry matter (usually reserved for vetches, lucernes and clover hays). Meanwhile, while a score of “4” indicates crude protein levels below 8% for legume and pasture hays and silage and <4% for cereal hays and silages.