The influence of the inside diameter of the coring probe on the chemical composition of lucerne hay samples
The obtaining of a representative sample is crucial for the application of an accurate and uniform lucerne hay grading system in South Africa. There is currently limited data available on the effect of the inside diameter of the coring probe on the chemical composition of the lucerne hay samples. A study was therefore undertaken to determine the influence of the inside diameter of a coring probe on the chemical composition of unground lucerne hay samples using the Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy (NIRS) technique. Ten lucerne bales (total 40), randomly chosen from four different grades (Prime, Grade 1, 2 and 3 according to the National Lucerne Trust quality and grading system), were sampled with both a large probe (35 mm inside diameter and 520 mm long) and a small probe (12 mm inside diameter and 450 mm long). The samples with each probe were taken at approximately the same location in the bale. The samples were analysed with the NIRS for crude protein (CP), acid detergent fibre (ADF), neutral detergent fibre (NDF), ash and lignin. The model to calculate the new lucerne quality index (NLQI) from the ADF, ash and lignin, according to the National Lucerne Trust quality and grading scheme was used. Regression analysis revealed a significant relationship (r2) between the results of the large and small probe namely CP = 0.77, ADF = 0.95, NDF = 0.94, ash = 0.92, lignin = 0.87 and NLQI = 0.97. Sampling of lucerne hay with a large and small probe was irrelevant as resulted in similar chemical composition results.
Keywords: Analysis grading, New Lucerne Quality Index, NIRS, quality, sampling