Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 15, 2006
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The need to assess diet quality and intake of grazing ruminants has been a perplexing problem for many years. The most commonly used method is based on inert markers, one common to the plants being grazed (internal), and the other fed or dosed (external). Marker techniques are laborious and costly, often inaccurate, and interfere with normal grazing patterns. Fecal indexes can be used in a predictive mode to assess diet quality and intake when properly calibrated and monitored. Indices based on discrete chemistry have been proposed. However, near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) offers a more rapid method and has been used as a basis for fecal indices that can be used to predict many characteristics of the diet. The NIR spectrum contains much more chemical information than most discrete laboratory techniques. More recently, prediction of many aspects of the grazing animal and its environment have been proposed. This paper will discuss the historical development of fecal indices based on NIRS.