Feed & NIRS Sampling Procedure - Ward Laboratories Inc.

Feed & NIRS Analysis | Feed & NIRS Sampling Procedure

Feed & NIRS Sampling Procedure

There are a wide variety of Feed & NIRS samples we can assist you with: hay, silage, bunk, and grain. Follow the applicable sampling procedure below to ensure precise, targeted nutrition for your animals.

Hay Sampling Procedure

  1. It is important to provide a representative feed sample to produce accurate nutritional information for livestock management. Several staff members at Ward Laboratories, Inc. are Certified Hay Samplers and can guide you through the sampling process.
  2. Define ‘lots’ of feed to obtain a representative sample. A lot can consist of hay baled from a specific field, a stall of corn silage, a shipment of distiller’s grains or a ration mix. Group your feeds as similarly as possible to distinguish each lot. For example, if you have one alfalfa field and another grass hay field you intend to bale, each field will represent a ‘lot’ and should be sampled separately. Do not mix them.
  3. Each sample should be composed of several subsamples to properly represent the lot due to variation in all feeds. The National Forage Testing Association recommends a combination of 20 sub-samples as the sample for laboratory testing of hays and forages. For other feeds that are less variable in nature such as corn grain or distillers’ by-products, 5 to 10 sub samples may be acceptable. Always use a hay probe when sampling baled feeds and a scoop of some type for other feed samples to avoid missing fine materials with hand grabbed sub samples. Subsamples should be taken randomly. Do not target “good looking spots” or avoid “bad looking spots”.
  4. Ensure samples are taken from the outside of the bale or feed pile as well as from 12 to 18 inches inside the lot.
  5. If sampling baled hay, it is best to use a hay probe, which can be purchased from Ward Laboratories, Inc. Producers located near Ward Laboratories, Inc. may borrow a hay probe free of charge.
  6. Once you have obtained your sample place it in a quart size zip lock bag and send it to the laboratory for testing.

Bales: Sample 20 bales from each lot. Core all rectangular bales from the end and all round bales from the twine surface. Mix the samples thoroughly and use the alternate shoveling or quartering procedure to obtain a representative sample for analysis.

Loose hay stacks: Select 4 stacks from each cutting for sampling. Collect at least 3 core samples from the side of each stack, mix the samples thoroughly and use the alternate shoveling or quartering procedure.

Silage Sampling Procedure

Upright silo: Take random scoops of silage while unloading. Mix the samples thoroughly and use the alternate shoveling or quartering procedure.

Horizontal silo: Remove a column 6 inches by 12 inches wide on the open end of the silo. Mix the samples thoroughly and use the alternate shoveling or quartering procedure.

Bunk Sampling Procedure

Take 6 – 8 grab samples from the bunk(s) as the ration is being unloaded. Mix the samples thoroughly and use the alternate shoveling or quartering procedure.

Grain Sampling Procedure

Take 5 random hand samples from the bin or truck. Mix the samples thoroughly and use the alternate shoveling or quartering procedure.

Quartering Procedure

Sometimes when forages and feeds are sampled, the total of the aggregate samples is too large and bulky to send into the laboratory. The total sample size can be properly reduced and still maintain a representative sample.

  1. Mix the entire sample thoroughly.
  2. Pour it into a pile on clean paper or plastic.
  3. Divide the sample into four equal parts (quarters), saving the opposite two quarters.
  4. If the sample is still too large, repeat the procedure until the proper sample size of one pint to a quart is obtained.
  5. All samples should be placed in an airtight plastic bag and submitted to the laboratory for analysis.

Ready to submit your sample?

Download the submittal form and make sure you include your name, address, phone number, sample ID, and desired analysis. Email address is suggested for rapid return on reports.

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