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Evaluation of green forage intake and digestibility in ruminants using near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) : Developing a global calibration

Decruyenaere V., Lecomte P., Demarquilly C., Aufrère J., Dardenne P., Stilmant D., Buldgen A.. 2009. Animal feed Science and Technology, 148 (1) : p. 138-156.

The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential of near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS), applied to forage and/or faeces, to estimate the in vivo organic matter digestibility (OMD) and the organic matter voluntary intake (OMVI, g/kg metabolic weight [BW0.75]) for a wide range of temperate forages. Two different databases, in terms of forage species and development stages were studied. The first one included two grass species and two forage mixtures for which OMD and OMVI were continuously measured during the grass-growing seasons (spring and summer). The second one contained a large set of grass and legume species and forage mixtures (142 trials) for which OMD and OMVI were measured. Forage and faeces samples were submitted to NIRS analysis and predictive calibrations were developed from forage spectra, faeces spectra, forage and faeces subtracted spectra, and faeces and forage concatenated spectra. Working on faecal spectra (alone or concatenated) enabled us to develop the best calibration equations for both OMD and OMVI estimation. The coefficient of determination (R2) was greater than 0.8. The standard error of cross validation (SECV) for OMD and OMVI was 0.021 and 4.51 g/kg BW0.75, respectively, and the accuracy was similar to that obtained with other predictive methods. With regard to the faecal spectra (second derivative mode), the fat absorbency at wavelengths of 1730, 2310 and 2350 nm was higher when the corresponding forage was highly digestible and ingestible. In conclusion, applying NIRS to faeces is a rapid and easy analytical method that could be an interesting tool for managing grazing ruminants and optimising their performance. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : spectroscopie infrarouge; fourrage vert; ruminant; france; belgique

Thématique : Alimentation animale; Physiologie animale : nutrition; Méthodes de relevé

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