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NIR can improve formulation of phosphorus in poultry feed

A recent study published in Journal of Poultry science shows how nutritionists can gain from the use of NIR for measuring total and phytate phosphorus in common poultry feed ingredients.

By Richard Mills

The study indicates a potential for precise estimates of phytate P using NIR. This can help nutritionists to formulate and mix feed while lowering feed costs and reducing the amount of residual polluting phosphorus in poultry excreta.

Nirperformance caught up with one of the co-authors, Dr Gene Pesti from the Department of Poultry Science at The University of Georgia to find out more.

He reported a number of positive comments on the paper and that people are generally surprised how little actual data is available. The original study involved the development of NIR calibrations using data for corn and wheat and this work is now being extended with data collection underway for a mixed feed calibration.

When asked about the indirect nature of the measurements and related discussion about accuracy, Pesti is quite clear. “What people are trying to do is to come up with values to use for feed formulation,” he said.  “We are really trying to get an average of what is coming out of the feed bins. So yes, there is some error built in there in the fact that the measurement is indirect, but we just want to know what the average is so that they (nutritionists) know how to formulate. We think we can pin it down real well with NIR.”

Title: Evaluation of near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) techniques for total and phytate phosphorus of common poultry feed ingredients

M. Tahir,  M. Y. Shim, N. E. Ward, M. O. Westerhaus and G. M. Pesti

Journal of Poultry Science, reference:10.3382/ps.2012-02211 Poult. Sci. October 2012 vol. 91

no. 10 2540-2547


The paper describes a study to determine the feasibility of estimating the total and phytate P content of common poultry feed ingredients by near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS). It concludes that precise estimates of phytate P through NIRS should allow nutritionists for more efficient formulate and mix feed, lowering feed costs and reducing the amount of residual polluting phosphorus in poultry excreta.

An abstract can be found here.

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