Pasture Testing For Optimal Animal Health and Production | Hill Laboratories - NZ


Pasture Testing For Optimal Animal Health and Production

Date: 21 May 2021
Author: Hill Laboratories

It is no surprise that pasture testing is becoming an integral tool for progressive farmers wanting to ensure their livestock are fed well for optimal animal health and production. Whilst quantity of feed is important for fill, quality and nutrient content are critical for livestock performance (feed conversion efficiency) and animal health. 

When pastures are abundant, marginal nutrient levels may still adequately supply the animal’s requirement. However, during feed shortage the same levels will be inadequate. There are also seasonal effects to consider – where nutrients in pastures will vary through a growing season. An example is provided below, from a pasture data study carried out several years ago, showing typically low pasture-magnesium levels through the winter period.


Hill Laboratories Pasture and Feed Test Options

Mixed Pasture Profile (MPast) - highly recommended for all seasons, this profile provides a comprehensive analysis of the pasture's mineral content and includes chloride, crude protein and ME. The profile reports nutrient indices to help assess the risk of metabolic disorders e.g. the Dietary Cation Anion Difference (DCAD). Tests reported in this profile are as follows:

Extended Feed Profile (ExtFed) - provides the tests listed as above but with additional feed quality measures of fibre, soluble sugars and starch. In some conditions, it will be important to test for nitrate-N (NO3-N) to check that the greenfeed offered is not a toxicity risk to livestock.

Please refer to our technical note for further information on pasture & feed test options. Talk to your animal nutritionist, consultant or nutrient advisor to find out more about pasture testing, or order your tests online using the customer portal.

The laboratory provides results as a histogram report that is a general guideline for either plant nutrition or animal health for each nutrient, whichever requirement is highest. An example is shown below.

Additionally, Hill Laboratories has a report format known as the Animal Dietary Mineral Balance (ADMB) report - designed to provide an assessment of the mineral content of herbage, and how well it supplies the animal’s daily requirements according to livestock class and dry matter intake. An example of this type of report is shown below.

To receive the additional ADMB report, please request this on the analysis request form you send with the samples.

For further information, please visit the links below: