Hay Testing your hay/haylages
To be useful, a forage analysis report should be based on a representative sample from a single “lot” of hay. (A “lot” is hay from one field which has been cut, handled, baled, and stored under uniform conditions.) The sample should be a consolidation of cores taken from 15 to 20 bales. Finally, the sample should be analyzed by a laboratory whose accuracy has been certified by the National Forage Testing Association (NFTA).
Forages can be analyzed by two methods. Traditionally, laboratories processed forage samples through a series of chemical procedures to determine the various components important in animal nutrition (protein, fiber, minerals). Recent technological advances allow labs to measure these same components using Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy (NIR). The new NIR techniques use light to quickly determine the nutritive value of hay without destroying the sample. Since NIR is calibrated with data from traditional chemistry techniques, both methods give accurate and similar results.