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South African Journal of Animal Science

Print version ISSN 0375-1589

Abstract

SCHOLTZ, G.D.J.; VAN DER MERWE, H.J.  and  TYLUTKI, T.P.. A model for assessing Medicago Sativa L. hay quality. S. Afr. j. anim. sci. [online]. 2009, vol.39, n.5, pp. 301-305. ISSN 0375-1589.

A study was conducted to identify chemical parameters and/or models for assessing Medicago sativa L. (L) hay quality, using near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) analysis and Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System (CNCPS) milk prediction as a criterion of accuracy. Milk yield (MY) derived from the CNCPS model, by replacing the average L hay in a complete diet with 168 representative South African L hay samples, was used as a criterion to evaluate and/or develop models for L hay quality grading. The best single predictor of MY was the acid detergent fibre (ADF) content of L hay, which explained 67% of the measured variation. A multiple linear equation (Y = 64.18 - b1ADF - b2ash - b3lignin) explains 96% of the measured variation in MY. The relatively poor performance of crude protein (CP) (r2 = 0.04) and other protein related parameters (r2< 0.25; adjusted-crude protein, ADF-CP, neutral detergent fibre-CP and soluble protein) in predicting MY suggests that protein content of L hay is an unreliable indicator of L hay quality. It is clear that MY derived from the CNCPS model by replacing L hay in a basal diet with others in the South African L hay population can be significantly predicted with high accuracy by the developed empirical model named lucerne milk value (LMV) consisting of only ADF, ash and lignin.

Keywords : Lucerne hay; CNCPS; lignin; ADF; ash; NIRS.

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