AgroCares FeedCares Scanner solution is providing a selected range of parameters for optimal analysis of feed and forage materials. The main feed component and their importance for the animal digestive process are listed and explained below.
1. Main components of feed
2. Roles and implications
- Dry matter
One of the most crucial parameters is a dry matter which is derived from Water (moisture) content. In general, the water content of feed material varies from as little as 60 g/kg in concentrates to over 900 g/kg in some root crops, and a wide range of variation can be observed in forages. Commonly the water content of grass or hay decreases gradually from the young to mature plant, which is also depending on the time of harvesting
In the Agrocares Scanner app, all nutrients (except amino acids and minerals) in wet materials (silage) are usually expressed on a dry matter (DM) basis due to the great variation in moisture content. For dry feed materials, reports are given in values/kg material (as fed). The composition of dry matter determines the nutritional value of the feed. The nutrient content is expressed in DM, which describes how many nutrients are in dry matter.
- Crude Ash
Another important parameter is to determine energy values and distinguish normal ash content from abnormal. Essentially, crude ash describes all inorganic components, including microelements (Ca, Mg, Na, K, Cl, P, S) and Trace-elements (Mn, Fe, Co, Cu, Zn, Se, Mo, I). To calculate estimate energy and calculate non-fiber carbohydrate content the ash content can be used as follows: (NFC = 100 − (NDF-NDFCP) + CP + Fat + Ash)). Because feeding minerals to animals is a common and necessary practice it is important to understand what constitutes a normal ash content in forage or TMR and what constitutes an abnormal ash content. For example, the normal ash content of legume-grass forages is near 90g/kg DM, however, if a 100-180 g/kg DM ash is observed, the legume-grass forages are likely to contain an increasing amount of soil. With Feedcares solution, it is possible to monitor if the forages are contaminated with soil.
- Crude protein
Crude protein consists of 3 parts: true protein, urea, and amino acids. Protein in feed is the supplier of amino acids for the synthesis of proteins by the animal and is a crucial energy source mostly for ruminants. Amino acids can be described as building blocks of the protein. There are approximately 20 different amino acids, which can be divided into two groups: essential amino acids that can only be supplied by feed and non-essential amino acids that can be synthesized by the animal. The figure below explains the protein turnover in the animals. The protein supply plays a very important role in animal products quality (meat, milk, eggs, etc.), body growth and environment. Insufficient supplement protein in the feed will lead to low quality of products and may also lead to health problems for animals. Overfeeding protein to animals will release excess nitrogen into the environment, harming the environment. In general, the crude protein level in the dairy cattle diet is about 15% - 18% of dry matter.
- Crude fat (lipids, fats, oils)
Lipids are considered to be a more complex group of compounds in animal feed that are not soluble in water. Lipids are the energy source for animals since they have a high energy content (9 Kcal/g). For example, carbohydrates and proteins provide only 4 Kcal/g once metabolized. In addition, lipids are also the solvent for vitamins A, D, E and K and the supplier for essential fatty acids. The inclusion of lipids in swine diets are known to affect growth rate and feed efficiency but are also known to affect diet palatability, feed dustiness, and pellet quality. The basal diet for dairy cows is 2% to 3% of dry matter of fat from plant sources (primarily from cereal grains, forages, and oilseed meals). In dairy cattle diets, a too high-fat level (>5% of DM) can reduce the feed intake, fibre digestibility in the rumen and result in milk fat depression.
Carbohydrates makeup approximately 70% of the total ratio and are the main energy source for animals and microbes to grow and/or produce. Carbohydrates are compounds that contain sugar molecules. Which are divided into two parts, non-structural carbohydrates (sugar, starch) and structural carbohydrates (fibre, pectin). The non-structural carbohydrates are making enzymatic degradation possible, for example, starch can be enzymatic breakdown by α-amylase. The structural carbohydrates are the energy supplier for ruminants, but for monogastric animals such as swine and poultry, structural carbohydrates can only be fermented by microbial enzymes in the large intestine. Sugar provides energy to rumen microbes and is considered to increase dry matter intake and ruminal butyrate production which has many ascribed positive effects for the dairy cow. Usually, 1.5-3% of DM is contained in the dairy cow’s diet if not additionally supplemented. Fibre is the predominant fraction of the plant cell wall and is primarily comprised of carbohydrates. The dietary fibre is essential for good health and better performance, primarily due to its effect on regurgitation (cud-chewing), chewing, salivation, rumen pH (acidity) and rumen function.
The crude fibre, NDF (Neutral-Detergent Fiber), ADF (Acid-Detergent Fiber) are part of the analysis with the FeedCares application. Crude fibre measures cellulose and some lignin in the feed material, which is mainly used to calculate the energy content. Neutral-Detergent Fiber is a measure of the total insoluble fibre and includes cellulose, lignin and hemicellulose. It is the common parameter for fibre requirements. Normally, in a dairy diet, the NDF content should be at least 28% of DM, with 21% coming from forages. Higher percentages are acceptable, but it should be taken care of that the nutrient and energy requirements are still fulfilled. Acid-Detergent Fiber includes cellulose and all the lignin (without the hemicellulose). In dairy cows, the ADF content is recommended > 18% of DM. ADF appears to be closely associated with digestibility, and NDF is associated with rumen fill and dry matter intake.