Contact Info

Blackland Research & Extension Center
720 E. Blackland Road
Temple, TX 76502-9622 
254-774-6150 fax
8am - 5pm Central, Weekdays

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Other Information:

Hay or forage tissue samples for NUTBAL

We often get questions about whether hay and or forage tissue analysis results can be used  as the diet quality input for NUTBAL.    

The short answer to this question is yes... 

However, there are some very important considerations that need to be considered before this option is chosen. 

First of all, NUTBAL was designed to be used in conjunction with fecal NIRS analysis.  The idea is that fecal samples represent what the animal had consumed.  Hay samples and plant tissue samples represent what is on offer to the animals which is not always representative of what the animals actually ate due to their ability to be selective when eating.    

Probably the most important consideration when using hay and forage tissue results would be the to identify the method used to calculate the digestibility of the forage.  Most forage testing labs report % TDN (Total Digestible Nutrients) as the energy and/or digestibility measurement of the hay or forage tissue.  NUTBAL uses Digestible Organic Matter (DOM).  DOM is an in-situ digestion procedure and in the development of the NUTBAL decision support system,  it provided more consistent predictions of actual animal performance when compared to TDN. 

TDN can be converted to DOM if TDN is calculated from proximate analysis of digestible Crude Protien, Crude Fiber, Nitrogen Free Extract and Fat (ether extract).  However, many of the commercial forage testing labs calculate TDN from estimate equations from that use only one or two of the constituents to predict the others.  When TDN is calculated this way, the conversion to DOM does not work as well and may cause problem when using the values in NUTBAL.      

So, the bottom line is yes your can use results from laboratory analysis of hay and forage tissue samples, but discretion should be used when evaluating the output of NUTBAL when TDN is used.  Please feel free to contact us should you have any additional questions.  Information on TAMU’s forage testing lab can be found at the link listed below.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Soil, Water and Forage Testing Laboratory                  

Attention CSP ANM 17 Participants

CSP Letter 2012

Option 1: NIRS Results and NUTBAL Report $35.00 per sample

This option includes NIRS fecal analysis (crude protein and energy of forage consumed)  and a online NIRS/NUTBAL PRO system report for multiple profiles.  Users can choose between online system access or have the results and report sent directly to them via email, fax or regular mail.

Option 2: NIRS Results and NUTBAL Advisory $70.00 per sample

This option includes NIRS fecal analysis (crude protein and energy of forage consumed)  as well as an advisory written by one of our staff providing recommendations to meet desired production goals. Delivery of the advisories will be via email, fax, or regular mail.  For samples with more than three profiles,  a fee of $ 10.00 will be assessed for each additional profile.  Please allow for extra time for completion of option 2 as each advisory is written on an individual basis.