Accurate, real-time description of available energy in cereal grains

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development acting through the South Australian Research and Development Institute

  • Project code: PRJ-002973

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Thursday, May 1, 2008

  • Project completion date: Monday, February 28, 2011

  • National Priority: CME-Priority 3-Contributing to efficient and secure chicken production systems


Cereal grains used by the poultry industry are known to vary widely in available energy and protein content which is often reflected as variation in bird performance because standardised ingredient values are used for ration formulation. In addition, the true available nutrient content of many grain parcels down graded for human consumption is unknown, for example pinched, high screenings, frosted and germinated grains. Rapid or real-time techniques for measuring the AME content and AME intake of grains for birds would greatly assist the purchase of grains at appropriate prices and the accuracy of feed formulation that should result in a marked reduction in variability in nutrients supply across formulated batches of feed. It is well recognised that the more samples that are included in an NIR calibration, the more robust the calibration will be, particularly when testing new and unusual materials.

This project aims to improve the accuracy and usefulness of near infrared reflectance (NIR) calibrations developed under the Premium Grains for Livestock Program (PGLP) administered by GRDC through collection of data on physical, chemical and nutritive properties of 80 cereal grain samples. The majority (50) of these grains will be sourced from commercial companies, while the other 30 samples will be provided by the Pork CRC which has evaluated these grains for pigs. This will ensure that the calibration applies to the widest range of grain samples, particularly those that have been weather damaged and for which there are not many samples in the original sample set.

Testing of samples submitted by industry (by NIR, using current calibrations and also in vivo), will provide nutritionists with first hand experience of the usefulness of the new tests for decreasing time to bird harvest and improving the efficiency of grain use.


Chicken Meat

Research Organisation

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development acting through the South Australian Research and Development Institute

Objective Summary

To evaluate and further refine NIR-based tests for available energy in cereal grains and to assess (and expand) the potential value of these tests as a tool for the routine evaluation of feed grains in the Australian chicken meat industry by:
­1. Analysing (NIR screening and analysing for AME content (MJ/kg) and AME intake (MJ/d) with and without enzymes) additional grain samples submitted by industry, this data to be provided back to the submitter and to be used to improve the accuracy of the current calibrations;
­2. Allowing industry nutritionists to assess, at first hand, the usefulness of the NIR calibrations in their own operations, and establishing their interest in routinely using NIR in the future.
­3. Establishing a mechanism for providing the NIR tests in the longer term.