Oklahoma State University

Forage Quality/Testing

Forage Quality Testing

Tractor Baling Hay in Field

Forage testing provides forage and livestock producers with quantitative measures of forage quality. The results from forage testing are used to calculate ration formulations, estimate feeding value, and establish market price for hay sales.

 

The Oklahoma State University Soil, Water, & Forage Analytical Laboratory (SWFAL) measures three principal forage quality values: crude protein (CP), acid detergent fiber (ADF), and neutral detergent fiber (NDF). These three values can then be used to calculate other quality parameters such as digestible protein, total digestible nutrients (TDN), and net energies for maintenance, lactation, and gain.

 

 

 

Collecting Forage Samples for Analysis - Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service - PSS-2589

Hailin Zhang, Director, Soil, Water, and Forage Analytical Laboratory
Daren Redfearn, Forage and Pasture Management Specialist
John Caddel, Extension Forage Agronomist

Forages furnish essential energy, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fibers in livestock diets. Many factors (e.g. variety, maturity, growing conditions, handling practices, etc.) affect forage quality prior to the time it is fed. As a result, predicting forage quality values from standard books often grossly overestimates or underestimates feeding value. A better way to determine feeding value is to have a representative forage sample tested by a laboratory that uses proven and accepted methods of forage analysis. The first and most important step in obtaining a meaningful analysis is to collect a representative forage sample. This fact sheet describes proper methods for collecting representative samples. If one is not willing to properly sample their forage, the benefits of forage testing will not be realized.

 

Forage Quality Interpretations - Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service - PSS-2117

Daren Redfearn, Forage and Pasture Management Specialist
Hailin Zhang, Director, Soil, Water, and Forage Analytical Laboratory

High quality forages are crucial for the livestock industry. They furnish essential energy, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fibers. In fact, diets of most domestic livestock consist principally (if not entirely) of forages.

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