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How We Analyse Your Silage

21 October 2016

To ensure the results of our silage analysis are as correct as possible we take care at all stages of analysis:

  1. Each month during the silage season we receive 10 silage samples from the Forage Analysis Assurance Group (FAAG) to check how closely all the labs compare. These are analysed and submitted back to FAAG.  We always perform well against the average value of the whole group.
  1. A daily check sample is run on the NIR machine prior to analysis to ensure the instrument is working properly.
  1. On receipt of a silage sample the paper work is checked against the sample bag to ensure that it matches and then the sample is numbered with a unique Lab ID. This is then double checked by another member of staff and both members of staff sign the sample receipt book.
  1. The silage is then opened, mixed on the bench and, if required, chopped before being prepared into duplicate packets (50 – 100g) wrapped in cling film, each packet is then labelled with the unique ID. These packets are then either refrigerated overnight or (if being analysed that day) placed in our constant temperature room to reach 20C.
  1. Any samples for analysis are put into the constant temperature room and left to get to 20C. By ensuring the instrument and the samples are at constant temperature we are able to ensure the consistency of our results.  We use a temperature probe to check the temperature of our silage packets prior to analysis.
  1. The instrument analyses both packets and produces a mean result. The batch of results is then transferred to our Laboratory Information System by direct data capture.
  1. A visual check is carried out by the Analyst to ensure the results look sensible and then they are approved for reporting.

Willie Gibson, SAC Consulting Analytical Services Department,

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