Reasons Why You Should Feed Test Your Pasture?

If you thought your pasture was mineral deficient and could be limiting your animal’s production and you could correct it, would you? Here are the reasons why you should feed test your pasture.


Importance Of Feed Testing For Livestock Production

Bronte Lloyd (BAgr) – Nutrien Ag Solutions Animal Production Specialist

Bronte Lloyd is an experienced Animal Production Specialist with Nutrien Ag Solutions. She expresses her view on pasture testing in this article.

As an Animal Productions Specialist, my role involves giving my clients the best nutrition and animal health advice to improve livestock production. This includes completing hundreds of property visits all over Queensland. Many properties I have visited have never done pasture tests before or know what their country may be deficient in.

Pasture testing is easy. When I am attending properties in places I haven’t been before, I will collect at least 2 pasture samples straight away. From a nutritional standpoint, a pasture sample can help determine any underlying deficiencies that may be present. Knowing that most of Queensland is phosphorous deficient this is seen quite regularly.

Things To Consider When Feed Testing

However, there are many other mineral deficiencies that could be playing a large role in production losses. In the animal’s body, many minerals interact with one another either improving or impairing absorption.

Therefore, one mineral in excess can impact the absorption of another, no matter how much is fed in the diet. From the pasture sample, I know exactly what is present in the pasture and what may become an issue in the animals.

I use values such as the protein, energy, neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and minerals like phosphorous to determine the best supplementation plan going forward. The NDF is one of the main figures from which I can determine the animal’s intake. From this figure, I can calculate how many kilograms of pasture an animal can consume in a 24hr period.

Once I know the animal’s intake, I can then determine what and how much of each of the minerals the animal is consuming. From there I can design the best supplement to complement this mineral intake and ensure maximum production.

Grab one of our testing kits from here.

How Often To Perform Feed Tests?

Pasture sampling is quite simple and should be done throughout the year as seasonal changes occur. I suggest for my clients to sample at least three times a year.

Once we have tested multiple times, we can determine the yearly profile of the pasture and make management decisions based off these results. If we know when our pastures are going to be at their best and worst, we can ensure we are making the right decisions with livestock and supplements.

Fresh pasture testing isn’t the only time I use Feed Central to get a full analysis on feed. I also use it to test rations and ration components such as hay and grain. Knowing the makeup of our raw materials allows me to construct a balanced full feed ration. Knowing that pasture sampling is a simple and easy process it’s definitely something that should be considered in all livestock businesses.

Note: Feed Central recommends submitting these samples as soon as possible after collection, keeping the samples cool to prevent degradation and provide accurate results.


  • Neville Janke

    Neville Janke is a qualified agronomist and Horticulturist with over 20 years of experience guiding farmers in the Agricultural and Horticultural industries. With this experience, Neville has been helping long-term users of Hay and grain to experience the Feed Central way of sourcing quality Feed for hungry cattle.

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