Feed sampling is critical to monitoring feed quality and imperative to implementing and evaluating effective feed pathogen control programs. When done properly, feed sampling facilitates accurate analysis of feed and feed ingredient batches and provides valuable information pertaining to feed quality. Furthermore, feed sampling helps producers monitor key feed characteristics essential to optimizing feed utilization, reducing feed costs and supporting animal health, performance and productivity.
Evaluating Feed as a Fomite Requires Mitigation of Sampling Error
Feed sampling can account for 88% of error in detecting pathogens in feed. As previously stated, microbial loads are not evenly distributed in feed. This means that collecting small samples from a single location can result in inaccurate analytical results. Sampling methods can vary depending on the type of feed and sampling intent but should always follow established protocols to ensure accuracy and consistency. The most important thing to consider when developing a sampling program is that uneven distribution leads to uncertain detection.
Every feed ingredient processing and feed production situation is unique. Therefore, before initiating a sampling plan it is critical to understand what information is being collected and what the intent is.
Are you looking to assess uniform application of a feed additive?
Trying to get a comprehensive picture of feed ingredients or feed microbial quality or moisture content?
Every comprehensive sampling plan should include the following best practices:
Ensure that your Sampling Method Meets Sampling Intent
Feed sampling methods vary. They can be random, simple or stratified, and systematic. Compositing is often utilized to make samples for analysis more representative.
To protect against contamination and cross-contamination, samples should be collected aseptically.
Aseptic sampling requires the use of proper sampling materials and hygiene practices. There is no point in collecting a sample that is exposed to contamination during its collection or handling. Feed is a fomite and vulnerable to contamination from people, other feed matrices and sampling materials.
Samples should be collected in a manner that supports the proper representation of the whole entity being sampled.
This means collecting many sufficiently sized samples. Larger sample sizes reduce variability, error, between samples. Collecting numerous samples from various different locations within the same lot or batch also reduces sampling error. Analytics are only as accurate as the samples provided. Reducing the sampling error supports the collection of accurate and representative data.
Sample consistently and regularly.
Sampling in the same way, locations and on a regular cadence ensures that the data collected is comparative. Comparative data enables producers to observe feed quality trends.
Train personnel on proper sample collection and the importance behind sampling technique.
Human behavior is the largest variable in sampling programs. What may seem to be a tedious task holds a high level of importance and it’s important that those responsible for sampling understand why it’s important and how to do it correctly.
Feed sampling is used within feed pathogen control programs to ensure solution efficacy and continuously monitor feed and feed ingredient quality. Proper sampling improves the accuracy of desired results and gives producers more knowledge. Every sampling situation is unique, but following best practices in your feed sampling program is critical to providing a sample that is representative of feed or feed ingredient lot and ensuring repeatable and reproducible results. Controlling feed microbial loads supports animal performance objectives and protects food safety.