Development of near infrared analysis of faeces to estimate non-grass proportions in diets selected by cattle grazing tropical pastures

Coates, David B. and Dixon, Rob M. (2008) Development of near infrared analysis of faeces to estimate non-grass proportions in diets selected by cattle grazing tropical pastures. Journal of Near Infrared Spectroscopy, 16 5: 471-480.


Author Coates, David B.
Dixon, Rob M.
Title Development of near infrared analysis of faeces to estimate non-grass proportions in diets selected by cattle grazing tropical pastures
Journal name Journal of Near Infrared Spectroscopy   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0967-0335
1364-6575
1751-6552
1748-8567
Publication date 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1255/jnirs.815
Volume 16
Issue 5
Start page 471
End page 480
Total pages 10
Place of publication Chichester, W. Sussex., United Kingdom
Publisher NIR Publications
Language eng
Formatted abstract Grass (monocots) and non-grass (dicots) proportions in ruminant diets are important nutritionally because the non-grasses are usually higher in nutritive value, particularly protein, than the grasses, especially in tropical pastures. For ruminants grazing, tropical pastures where the grasses are C4 species and most non-grasses are C3 species, the ratio of 13C/12C in diet and faeces, measured as δ13C‰, is proportional to dietary non- grass%. This paper describes the development of a faecal near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy calibration equation for predicting faecal δ13C from which dietary grass and non-grass proportions can be calculated. Calibration development used cattle faeces derived from diets containing only C3 non-grass and C4 grass components, and a series of expansion and validation steps was employed to develop robustness and predictive reliability. The final calibration equation contained 1637 samples and faecal δ13C range (‰) of [12.27]–[27.65]. Calibration statistics were: standard error of calibration (SEC) of 0.78, standard error of cross-validation (SECV) of 0.80, standard deviation (SD) of reference values of 3.11 and R2 of 0.94. Validation statistics for the final calibration equation applied to 60 samples were: standard error of prediction (SEP) of 0.87, bias of –0.15, R2 of 0.92 and RPD of 3.16. The calibration equation was also tested on faeces from diets containing C4 non-grass species or temperate C3 grass species. Faecal δ13C predictions indicated that the spectral basis of the calibration was not related to 13C/12C ratios per se but to consistent differences between grasses and non-grasses in chemical composition and that the differences were modified by photosynthetic pathway. Thus, although the calibration equation could not be used to make valid faecal δ13C predictions when the diet contained either C3 grass or C4 non-grass, it could be used to make useful estimates of dietary non-grass proportions. It could also be used to make useful estimates of non-grass in mixed C3 grass/non-grass diets by applying a modified formula to calculate non-grass from predicted faecal δ13C. The development of a robust faecal-NIR calibration equation for estimating non-grass proportions in the diets of grazing cattle demonstrated a novel and useful application of NIR spectroscopy in agriculture.
Keyword Faecal NIR spectroscopy
Diet composition
Non-grass
Cattle
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
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Created: Mon, 07 Mar 2011, 14:52:44 EST