Feed Analysis with FT-NIR Spectroscopy

Analyzing Feed & Forages with FT-NIR

Animal Feed

Bruker Optics offers the most comprehensive range of FT-NIR solutions for quality control and formulation adjustments. Samples can be analyzed non-destructively in seconds, saving costs by reducing time and reagent use.

Analyzing by FT-NIR in the lab or at-line close to the production requires just filling an easy-to clean cup with the solid sample and presenting it to the analyzer. Liquid samples like oils or molasses can be analyzed in disposable vials with the same spectrometer.

FT-NIR spectroscopy provides a fast and effective solution for analyzing raw materials as well as finished feeds.

FT-NIR spectroscopy offers a rapid, accurate and nondestructive tool for the analysis of various types of feed:

  • Ruminant Feed (Calf, Dairy & Beef Cattle)
  • Poultry Feed (Chick, Broiler, Breeder, Layer)
  • Pig Feed (Piglet, Weaner, Grower, Finisher, Sow)
  • Horse Feed
  • Aqua Feed

The folowing parameters can be determined in seconds with only one measurement:

  • Moisture
  • Fat
  • Protein
  • Fiber
  • Ash

More specialized parameters like starch and minerals are available on request. Learn more by downloading our application note.


When formulating diets for e.g. dairy cattle, the goal is to maximize the use of forages and then add missing nutrients with additional feedstuffs to guarantee the best feed quality according to the animal requirements. Hence, an accurate analysis of forages for their nutrient content is essential.

A typical forage analysis consists of multiple parameters such as protein, fiber, starch, digestibility, NDF, ADL, ADF, ash and moisture content as well as calculated energy parameters. FT-NIR spectroscopy allows the rapid determination of these and more nutrients in wet and dry forages.

Compared to wet chemical analysis, FT-NIR does not require any expertise in analysis and due to its speed with analysis times of less than a minute, more samples can be analyzed. The faster procedure of analyzing fresh wet forage gains importance for screening especially due to increasing number of samples during harvest.

Choosing the best sample presentation

Depending on whether you test wet or dry forage, the optimum sample preparation will differ. The new MPA II Multi Purpose Analyzer comes with different accessories bor both types of forages:

Analysis of Dry Forages

Analyze ground silage with FT-NIR spectroscopy

Dry forage analysis is performed by drying and grinding of a sample to achieve a homogenized powder which is easily and reproducibly measured in a 50mm diameter sample cup with a quartz window on the bottom. The cup is rotated during measurement enlarging the sampling area for maximum reproducibility.

Analysis of Wet Forages

The standard sample preparation procedure for wet forage is drying and grinding the sample. This is precise but labor intensive and time consuming. Moreover the composition changes due to loss of volatile components and chemical reactions.

However, wet forage is inhomogeneous and requires a suitable handling and sample presentation for reliable NIR results. Here Bruker developed an extra large rotating sample cup for the MPA II with a diameter of 370mm (see above) and a matching weight to compress the forage samples. It allows the easy analysis without any sample preparation.

The measured sample area is 100 times the area of a static sample and thus enables the analysis of such inhomogeneous samples efficiently and with only one filling per analysis.

Further Information

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