Submitted to: Sheep Nutrition
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/14/2001
Publication Date: 6/14/2002
Citation: Coleman, S.W., Henry, D. 2002. Nutritive value of herbage. In: Freer M., Dove H.,editors. Sheep Nutrition. New York, NY: CAB International Publishing. p. 1-26. Interpretive Summary: N/A
Technical Abstract: Nutritive value (NV) is variable because of plant genetics, environmental conditions under which they are grown and management practices. It is best assessed using animal trials. However, they are laborious, expensive, and time consuming. Therefore, the need for accurate, rapid, and inexpensive techniques to estimate or predict NV exists. Chemical composition, mechanical resistance, bioassays and instrumental methods all have been proposed, each with advantages and limitations. The instrumental method based on near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) has the most promise and offers the speed necessary for routine analytical labs. The limita- tions are the requirement of a large database of samples or spectra with known NV. Reduced instrumentation costs will be a requirement for wide- spread use, but those costs are indeed in a decline.