Rock River Laboratory, Inc.

Feed & Forage Testing Analysis

Rock River Laboratory has been performing feed and forage analyses for more than 37 years. Over that time, constant instrument upgrades and technological advances have kept Rock River Laboratory at the forefront of analytical services. Rock River Laboratory offers a broad range of NIR and wet chemical tests all designed to assist in balancing livestock and poultry diets. Rock River Laboratory is certified by the National Alfalfa Hay Testing Association and is also ASCA approved. With Rock River Laboratory, you can be confident that your results are always accurate.

Rock River Laboratory is constantly adding to and evolving services to meet customers' needs. Recently, Rock River Laboratory began a new analysis for Total Tract NDFD. This ground-breaking analysis allows producers to accurately predict milk production based on current changes in their rations. 

Rock River Laboratory knows that your bottom line depends on the health of your animals and the quality of their feed and forage. Rock River Laboratory prides itself on offering a broad selection of analysis packages, from feed and water testing to mold/toxin counts and identifications.

Below is are the ABC's of Rock River Laboratory forage and nutritional analysis:

Core Techniques:

  • Wet Chemistry
  • Meaning- we use approved physical, chemical, enzymatic, volumetric, and gravimetric techniques to actually measure core nutrients, vitamins, minerals, or digestion for your sample. 
  • Approach- your sample is dried and ground down to around a ground-coffee size to make sure the sample is uniform. 
  • We then take subsamples of your sample and measure each nutrient separately using different wet chemistry techniques.
  • Application - wet chemistry is the backbone of laboratory analyses and gold standard
  • Useful for research and development programs and when troubleshooting
  • Cost and speed – Cost ranges from $15 to $250 depending on measures requested
  • Turnaround time is at minimum 2 days and may be as long as 2 weeks
  • Near-Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy (NIR)
  • Meaning – we place the dried and ground sample into a small cup with a glass bottom and use a reflectance instrument to bounce near-infrared light off the sample.
  • Approach – the reflected light is measured by the machine and creates a graph that looks like a rollercoaster, with wavelength on the x-axis and absorbance on the y-axis. 
  • We measure (predict) the nutrient and digestion values for your sample
  • The absorbance measures are related to nutrient and digestion properties for your sample
  • The NIR instrument must be calibrated (validated) against wet chemistry nutrient and digestion measures
  • Accuracy can only be as good as the wet chemistry technique
  • Application - NIR is an accepted technique useful for everyday nutritional programs
  • Cost and speed – Cost ranges from $16 to $26 and turnaround time is a matter of hours.

  • Crude Protein (CP, % of DM) - we measure Nitrogen content and calculate crude protein. Protein is important for growth and performance.
  • Protein Solubility (% of CP) - determines how much protein is soluble in a water solution. CP Solubility helps determine rapidly available protein.
  • Available CP (% of CP) - determines how much of total CP is available for digestion and use by animal. Calculated by subtracting ADF bound protein.
  • ADF Bound Protein (% of DM) - measures damaged and tightly bound protein that is not available for digestion and animal use.
  • ADICP (% of CP) - ADF bound protein expressed as a % of CP.
  • Acid Detergent Fiber (% of DM) - fiber measured using an acid detergent rinse.
  • aNDF (% of DM) - fiber measured using a neutral detergent rinse with amylase and sodium sulfite. Fiber content is important because it is a lower energy nutrient.
  • NDR (% of DM) - fiber measured using neutral detergent rinse.
  • Fat (EE, % of DM) - fat measured ether. Fat is a higher energy nutrient and can be beneficial.
  • Ash (% of DM) - measured by burning the sample. Ash is from soil contamination.
  • Lignin (% of DM) - is the woody fiber linkages measured using sulfuric acid. Lignin cross links like a zipper between fiber molecules and is not digestible by ruminants.
  • Sugar (% of DM) - measured by soaking the sample in ethanol and then reacting sugars with certain compounds. Sugar is highly digestible.
  • NDICP (% of DM) - this is the protein that is bound within the fiber fraction.
  • Starch (% of DM) - measured by cleaving the starch molecules into individual glucose molecules and then reading glucose. Starch is important nutrient for animal performance.
  • NDFD (% of NDF) - this means fiber digestibility and is important for nutritionists to estimate how much fiber ruminants can digest. The 24, 30, and 48h mean the length of time the fiber was digested.
  • Calculations - there are many different equations, calculations, and animal-performance predictions for you to use available through Rock River Laboratory.

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