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Diet formulation for animals requires accurate estimation of feed nutritive value. In order to determine the nutritive value of grass, the moisture in the samples must be removed, with minimum damage to cell structure, and then the dried samples milled, prior to chemical analysis. Generally samples are oven dried. The aim of this study was to verify if differing drying protocols gave diverging results when drying grass samples. The drying protocols investigated were 40°C for 48 hours, 60°C for 48 hours and 95°C for 15 hours in forced convection ovens. Four perennial ryegrass samples were cut to 4 cm from ground level on three occasions in 2012. On each occasion the four grass samples were mixed together thoroughly and divided into four replicates. Each replicate was divided into three sub-samples to give one 100 g-sample per drying treatment. At regular intervals the samples were removed from the oven and the weight recorded. The data were analysed using a mixed model repeated measures procedure in SAS. Time (hours) was used as the repeated measure. A separate dataset of 12 grass samples were dried using both the 40°C and 60°C protocols and then chemically analysed. This dataset was analysed using PROC GLM in SAS. Samples were assumed dry when there was no significant difference in weight between times. All drying protocols gave a similar final dry matter of approximately 156 g/kg. All drying protocols did dry the grass samples adequately as samples dried at 40°C and 60°C were not significantly lighter after 24 hours and samples dried at 95°C were not significantly lighter after 15 hours. There were no differences in ash or crude protein concentration of the samples dried using the 40°C and 60°C protocols. There were differences in the organic matter digestibility, neutral detergent fibre and acid detergent fibre concentrations between the grass samples dried using the different drying protocols.

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Comparing Drying Protocols for Perennial Ryegrass Samples in Preparation for Chemical Analysis

Diet formulation for animals requires accurate estimation of feed nutritive value. In order to determine the nutritive value of grass, the moisture in the samples must be removed, with minimum damage to cell structure, and then the dried samples milled, prior to chemical analysis. Generally samples are oven dried. The aim of this study was to verify if differing drying protocols gave diverging results when drying grass samples. The drying protocols investigated were 40°C for 48 hours, 60°C for 48 hours and 95°C for 15 hours in forced convection ovens. Four perennial ryegrass samples were cut to 4 cm from ground level on three occasions in 2012. On each occasion the four grass samples were mixed together thoroughly and divided into four replicates. Each replicate was divided into three sub-samples to give one 100 g-sample per drying treatment. At regular intervals the samples were removed from the oven and the weight recorded. The data were analysed using a mixed model repeated measures procedure in SAS. Time (hours) was used as the repeated measure. A separate dataset of 12 grass samples were dried using both the 40°C and 60°C protocols and then chemically analysed. This dataset was analysed using PROC GLM in SAS. Samples were assumed dry when there was no significant difference in weight between times. All drying protocols gave a similar final dry matter of approximately 156 g/kg. All drying protocols did dry the grass samples adequately as samples dried at 40°C and 60°C were not significantly lighter after 24 hours and samples dried at 95°C were not significantly lighter after 15 hours. There were no differences in ash or crude protein concentration of the samples dried using the 40°C and 60°C protocols. There were differences in the organic matter digestibility, neutral detergent fibre and acid detergent fibre concentrations between the grass samples dried using the different drying protocols.