Science and Technology

AusScan advances animal nutrition

AusScan calibrations have been one of the most valuable technological advancements in animal nutrition in the past 30 years, according to leading South Australian animal nutritionist Tony Edwards of ACE Consulting.

Mr Edwards recently addressed an AusScan near infrared reflectance (NIR) workshop for Australian nutritionists and feed-mill technicians, which aimed to:

•    Improve industry’s knowledge and understanding of NIR technology.
•    Discuss applications of the technology and improving data management.
•    Demonstrate using AusScan Online.
•    Discuss the future of NIR.
•    Outline how to utilise energy values.

Speaking at the University of Sydney, he stressed that by knowing the digestible energy of grains before feeding livestock, nutritionists could provide more accurate formulations and confidently select the correct parcels of grains for composite diets.

Using least cost formulations and today’s grain prices, he informed the workshop that
1 MJ DE/Kg was worth $25 to $30 per tonne.

He suggested that the undersupply or oversupply of energy in diets had consequences which could further increase costs due to reduced performance of livestock.

Joint venture partners Aunir UK and Cooperative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC) made AusScan calibrations available to customers worldwide a year ago via the Aunir website (

Agri-Torque’s Ivan Ward, who consults throughout the Asia Pacific region on the application of NIR, discussed the use of NIR technology in feed mills, including how in line NIR opportunities provide real-time information and capture nutrient variation.

An excellent case study was presented which demonstrated NIR’s effectiveness in providing rapid and accurate information on product quality measures before acceptance into the feed mill. Workshop attendees learnt the steps required to verify accurate NIR readings, with emphasis on sampling techniques.

Samantha Openshaw of FOSS Pacific gave a live demonstration on scanning whole grains, with insights into sample preparation.

Interestingly, the FOSS machine will combine five scans of the grain sample in one pass, thereby ensuring coverage of the whole sample.

According to workshop facilitator, Pork CRC Manager, Commercialisation and Research Impact, Charles Rikard-Bell, NIR machines have user friendly software and uploading and downloading files to the AusScan website is a quick and easy process.

Chris Piotrowski of Aunir UK presented the future of NIR in industry and the workshop learnt that technological advancements would reduce the size of NIR machines.

“This generated much discussion on the progress made in the development of hand held devices and the corresponding accuracy of the measurements,” Dr Rikard-Bell said.

“Chris also gave a fascinating insight on other uses of NIR machines to verify ingredient uniformity simply by viewing spectra curves, noting that feed mills could get valuable insights into product variability simply by understanding spectra variations.”

It was also now possible to summate spectra files of raw materials to produce a spectra output for a complete feed.

AusScan Online is now available through Elizabeth Owens ( at Symbio Laboratories and Ian Wickham ( at Feed Central.

To create an AusScan Online account, visit Aunir and follow the links. A full list of available calibrations can be found on the Aunir website.

Aunir is a leading developer and supplier of NIR spectroscopy solutions, which cost effectively test the quality attributes of ingredients and products used in the animal feed and flour milling industries across the world.

Pork CRC is a Cooperative Research Centre supported by the Australian Government and a range of stakeholders, including industry and universities, which supports and manages research to differentiate Australian pork as a ‘high integrity’ meat that is welfare-optimal, premium quality, nutritious, in high demand and produced while conserving energy and water, minimising greenhouse gas emissions and minimising cost of production.

Pork CRC

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