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Comparative Study
, 101 (11), 9971-9977

Technical Note: Comparison of Dry Matter Measurements From Handheld Near-Infrared Units With Oven Drying at 60°C for 48 Hours and Other On-Farm Methods

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Comparative Study

Technical Note: Comparison of Dry Matter Measurements From Handheld Near-Infrared Units With Oven Drying at 60°C for 48 Hours and Other On-Farm Methods

D M Donnelly et al. J Dairy Sci.

Abstract

This study compared dry matter (DM) predictions of 3 handheld near-infrared spectrophotometer (NIRS) units (Moisture Tracker, Digi-Star Inc., Fort Atkinson, WI) to conventional oven drying at 60°C using 2 alfalfa and 2 corn silages. In addition, on-farm DM methods [microwave, Koster tester (Koster Moisture Tester Inc., Brunswick, OH), and food dehydrator methods] were also compared. Corn and alfalfa silages (1,600 g) obtained from the University of Wisconsin Dairy Cattle Center (DCC) and the Arlington Research Station (ARS) were analyzed for DM daily for 20 d. Two NIRS calibration methods were also tested within each unit. The DM predicted from the factory-preset calibrations was NIRf. The adjusted DM prediction was NIRa, where the average difference between oven-dried and NIRf determined on duplicate forage samples for 3 d before the experiment was used as a bias adjustment for all subsequent DM determinations. The average predicted DM from the 20 scans was recorded as the forage DM. The process was repeated 3 times with each NIRS unit. Two 100-g subsamples of each forage were also oven-dried for 48 h at 60°C daily in a forced-air oven. Oven DM of ARS and DCC alfalfa silages were 37.3 ± 1.1% and 48.5 ± 1.9%, respectively (mean ± standard deviation). Oven DM of ARS and DCC corn silages were 34.7 ± 1.2% and 37.4 ± 0.5%, respectively (mean ± standard deviation). Dry matter determinations from NIRf were on average 3.5 units higher than the oven DM values. The NIRa DM predictions were on average 1.7 DM units lower than the oven DM values. Additionally, differences among the 3 NIRf probe results were detected (43.1, 40.7, and 41.3% DM, respectively), but all other results were similar between probes. Determinations of DM by the microwave and food dehydrator were also similar with the 60°C, 48-h oven method, whereas the Koster tester was lower than the oven. The handheld NIRS units more accurately predicted DM content of the alfalfa silage but were not as accurate with corn silages when the factory preset calibrations were corrected for bias.

Keywords: dairy cattle; dry matter; near infrared.

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