Forage Lab supports producers, researchers

Linda Benedict, Bogren, Richard C.  |  9/23/2010 12:19:54 AM

The LSU AgCenter Forage Quality Laboratory at the Southeast Research Station provides feed and forage analysis for Louisiana and Mississippi forage and livestock producers. The lab also performs forage quality analyses for research conducted in Louisiana and cooperative projects in Mississippi.

The forage laboratory has analyzed samples submitted by Mississippi producers and researchers since a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and LSU AgCenter in 1992. That agreement has stimulated collaborative work and information sharing among researchers in both states.

The lab is certified by the National Forage Testing Association, which gives producers and researchers added confidence in the results received. Results are used to formulate diets for dairy, beef, horses and other livestock. Many hay producers also rely heavily on the lab to provide the basis of marketing hay according to nutritive value, said Kun-Jun Han, a forage agronomist at the station.

The laboratory annually analyzes around 1,500 producer samples and about 900 research samples. It is equipped to provide both near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy and conventional wet chemistry testing. Samples can be analyzed for dry matter, neutral detergent fiber, acid detergent fiber, crude protein and important minerals. Additional analyses, such as in vitro true digestibility and soluble nitrogen concentration, also are performed for many research projects.

Typical producer samples received for analysis include total mixed rations, mixed concentrate feeds, silage, haylage, hay, byproduct feeds and fresh forage samples. Besides the standard feed analysis for protein and energy values, the forage lab provides mineral analysis services to producers and researchers.

Accurate feed analyses allow for diets more precisely balanced to meet animal requirements, which in turn could improve animal performance, increase profitability and ultimately reduce nutrient loads in the environment. Please contact Laura Zeringue for more information.

Rick Bogren

(This article was published in the summer 2010 issue of Louisiana Agriculture.)

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