As a committee of AFIA, the Quality Evaluation Committee (QEC) is responsible for the improvement of proficiency testing of hay and silage in Australia. The need for this committee was highlighted following various meetings held in the mid 1990’s.
Since its inception the QEC has managed issues including details of laboratory methods for testing the nutritional parameters required by the fodder industry. The agreed methods which are updated as required now appear in the manual listed on this web site. This manual also covers sampling, sample preparation, dry matter, crude protein, acid and neutral detergent fibre (ADF and NDF), water-soluble carbohydrates, digestibility and estimated metabolisable energy.
To strive for uniformity in fodder testing, the QEC oversees a series of inter laboratory ‘ring tests’. These involve dispatch of carefully prepared sub-samples of six fodder samples to the participating laboratories on a regular basis. This ‘ring test’ procedure has been and will continue to be a vital mechanism to aid quality control in laboratory testing of fodder.
The QEC also manages numerous standard in vivo standards that are used to calibrate the laboratory in vitro results to animal performance.
The issue of fodder testing methodology is an ongoing process, as new research developments occur and as industry priorities emerge. Laboratories have responded to these factors. For the industry to benefit, a continuing dedication, cooperation, understanding and good-will of all parties is required, irrespective of commercial competition between laboratories and other industry participants.