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ARS Home » Plains Area » El Reno, Oklahoma » Grazinglands Research Laboratory » Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #330999

Title: Taking NIRS to the field

item Starks, Patrick - Pat

Submitted to: Eastern Analytical Symposium
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2016
Publication Date: 11/14/2016
Citation: Starks, P.J. 2016. Taking NIRS to the field [abstract]. In: Eastern Analytical Symposium. Symposium on Analytical Chemistry Open Doors, November 14-16, 2016, Somerset, New Jersey. p. 2-3.

Interpretive Summary: Abstract only.

Technical Abstract: Forage nutritive value (i.e., forage quality) impacts livestock health and performance, but determining the quality of forages for grazing animals is difficult. In the 1970s, development and application of bench-top near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) techniques to assess forage quality proved to be a great leap forward, as it replaced the more costly, labor-intensive, and less timely wet chemistry procedures used in proximate analysis. However, even with this advancement, NIRS evaluation of forages still required manual sample collection and preparation, the analytical results lagged sampling dates, and results were (and remain) point-based. Therefore, we evaluated the possibility of “taking NIRS to the field” to rapidly assess the nutritional landscape of grazing livestock via hand-held spectroradiometers (which we refer to herein as remote sensing). In this presentation we describe: 1) experiments designed to test the feasibility of quantifying selected forage quality indicators, 2) application of remotely sensed crude protein to determine timing of supplementation for grazing beef cattle, and 3) application of remote sensing to assess relative feed value of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.). The final part of the presentation will address plans to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) coupled with inexpensive spectroradiometers to provide field to landscape level assessments of forage quality.