Near and Mid Infrared Reflectance as Tools for Ingredient Real Time Analyis – Implications for Precision Formulation

North Carolina State University Nutrition Research from 2003. Most feedmills accept that quality control can only be achieved after feed ingredients have been mixed into complete feed and that most parameters, which are assessed, are of little nutritional importance. The resulting problems with variability in feed quality are dealt with by overformulating or producing diets that will not always yield optimal performance. Such diets can reduce profit to the producer and augment nutrient losses in the animal. With the use of modern infrared equipment, it is possible to obtain nutritionally relevant data. This paper describes calibrations for parameters such as digestible amino acids in animal meals, iodine value, energy, free fatty acid content, and other quality parameters applicable to feed-grade fats. Data presented and data available in the literature indicate that calibrations developed for such parameters can provide a wealth of information to the producer. This information can then be used not only for filing claims but also for bin selection of incoming ingredients or even for matrix adjustments. The most appealing of infrared spectroscopy is that many diverse parameters can be quickly assessed by a single scan of the ingredient. For example, the trans fatty acid content and iodine value of fats can be obtained by a non-skilled technician in a matter of minutes after receiving the samples, thus in time to direct where a truck is unloaded. Future developments in infrared technology will even make it possible to install this equipment in line such that continuous nutritionally relevant information can be obtained on feed ingredients.