Silage, a fermented feed made from ensiling green forage crops, plays an important role in livestock production, particularly during the winter months when fresh forage is scarce. However, the quality of silage can vary significantly, affecting its nutritional value and suitability for animal feeding. Proper silage sampling is key to accurately assessing the quality of silage and making informed feeding decisions for optimal animal health, growth, and productivity.
Silages Sample Collection for FeedCares:
Ensuring accurate and representative silage samples is crucial to obtaining test results that reflect the overall composition of the entire silage batch. Follow these steps to sample the silage effectively:
Core sampler (or digging tool)
Pair of gloves
Be careful with the sampling location. Never sample from spoiled areas or discarded piles, as this can lead to unreliable results.
For Pit or Bunker Silage:
Identify 10-12 different spots along the length of the pit or bunker in a "W" shape across the silage stack (Figure A).
Use the core sampler to collect samples from locations deeper than 15- in the stack. If the bunker is unopened, cut the plastic sheet to collect the sample. Wear gloves taking samples.
Avoid sampling from the silage surface, areas exposed to rainwater, or those exposed to air and sun. Cut the silage surface out, if needed.
After collecting the sample, reseal the bunker or pit.
Figure A: The locations for sample collection from the silage pile.
For Baled Silage:
Collect samples from at least 10-12 bales, randomly selected from the batch.
Use the core sampler to take samples from the middle of each bale and reseal each bale after sampling.
General Step for Both Types:
Prepare a bulk sample by combining 10-12 samples collected in a large bucket and mix thoroughly. Proceed to the scanning steps immediately after collection.
For optimal results, it is recommended to consistently sample the silage until the entire batch is fed to the animals. This is done regularly, depending on the management practices but ideally prior to feeding the material. Keep a detailed record of the sampling date in your feed management documentation to ensure accurate and organized monitoring of the silage quality over time.
TMR Sample Collection for FeedCares:
When collecting Total Mixed Ration (TMR) samples, the goal is to gather a representative sample of the feed that will be provided to the animals. Follow these steps for an effective TMR sampling process:
1. Equipment: Large bucket and a pair of gloves
Collect samples immediately after the TMR has been distributed in the feed bunk. Along the feed bunk, take 10 individual samples at regular intervals.
Combine the 10 individual samples into a bulk sample in a designated bucket and thoroughly mix the sample.
Proceed to scan the TMR sample immediately after it is collected.
It is essential to collect TMR samples regularly to ensure that the nutrient results align with the formulated values.
By adhering to these guidelines, you can obtain accurate and consistent results when analyzing TMR samples with FeedCares.
How to Scan the Sample for FeedCares:
1. Sample Preparation
Divide your silage or TMR bulk sample into five equal portions.
Take the first portion and place it in the sample tray (the black tray), ensuring a smooth and level surface.
2. Scanning Process
Setup the scanner by connecting it to your smartphone and follow the provided instructions in the app carefully. Make sure to calibrate the Scanner as indicated on the app.
Ensure the scanner makes complete contact with the sample during the scan.
After completing the first scan, discard the portion used and replace it with another. Clean the scanner with cloth and brush between each scan.
By following these steps, you can efficiently scan your silage sample using FeedCares, ensuring accurate and reliable results for effective feed management. Generated reports can be accessed via the app and the portal for comprehensive analysis.