Feed Analysis

Animal feeding impacts on many areas of agriculture: productivity, environmental emissions, water pollution, land use, animal health, product safety, product quality and animal welfare. Every sector of the livestock industry, the associated services and the well being of both animals and humans are influenced by animal feeding. Proper animal feeding is the supply of a diet balanced in all nutrients and free from deleterious components, at a level that meets the production objective, considering the animal’s physiological state, and generates animal products that are safe for human consumption. The availability of accurate, reliable and reproducible analytical data is imperative for proper feed formulation. Also only reliable data can lead to the generation of sound scientific data.

Reports received from international experts visiting animal nutrition laboratories, engaged in analysing feeds and feed ingredients in developing countries, highlight the need to strengthen quality assurance systems in these laboratories. As suitable quality assurance systems are not in place, the laboratory personnel are unable to evaluate the quality of the data being generated. Various ring tests conducted in developed countries have shown an unacceptable variation for some analyses being routinely determined in feed analysis laboratories. Similarly evidence received from the feed industries in developing countries on the reliability of feed analysis data suggests this is inconsistent, therefore, an urgent need to produce a document covering quality assurance systems was realised.

The current document has been developed and prepared by a panel of nine experts. The emphasis is on the basic analysis used for determining the nutritional value of feeds and feed ingredients. The document gives a comprehensive account of good laboratory practices, quality assurance procedures and examples of standard operating procedures as used in individual specialist laboratories. The adoption of these practices and procedures will assist laboratories in acquiring the recognition of competence required for certification or accreditation and will also enhance the quality of the data reported by feed analysis laboratories. In addition, ensuring good laboratory practices presented in the document will enhance the safety of the laboratory workers, protect the environment from laboratory-discharged pollutants and increase the efficiency of laboratories. The document will also provide a strong base for laboratories on which they can develop a system which will meet the requirements of international standards. It will be useful for Laboratory Analysts, Laboratory Managers, research students and teachers and it is hoped that it will enable workers in animal industry, including the aquaculture industry, to appreciate the importance of proven reliable data and the associated quality assurance approaches. This document, through increasing skills and knowledge of laboratory personnel and researchers, will also result in quality assurance systems becoming an integral part of the functioning of a feed analysis laboratory. It will assist countries to initiate the process of getting their feed analysis laboratories accredited to international standards.