A study conducted jointly by FAO and International Analytic Group (IAG) in Vienna, Austria, using data from a proficiency test conducted by these organizations, has demonstrated that there is an urgent need to place quality control systems in, and follow good laboratory practices by, feed analysis laboratories in developing countries.
A proficiency test for various constituents (proximate, macro- and micro-minerals, additives and amino acids) was conducted in which laboratories from Europe (40) and developing countries (73) participated. The data obtained allowed a comparison of the performance of these two sets of laboratories. Higher standard deviation and several folds higher coefficient of variation were obtained for the developing country laboratories.
For developing country feed analysis laboratories the coefficients of variation for chemical composition parameters, macro-minerals and amino acids were higher by up to 9-fold, 14-fold, and 10-fold respectively, compared with those for European feed analysis laboratories. Also higher number of outliers were observed for developing countries (7.6-8.7% vs. 2.9-3.0%).
According to Harinder Makkar of FAO who coordinated this study, “the results illustrate higher need for developing country feed analysis laboratories to improve the quality of data being generated.”
For sustainable development of the livestock sector, generation of sound chemical composition data of feed ingredients and mixed or compounded feed is vital. Unbalanced feeding results in lower profit to farmers, production below the genetic potential of animals, reproductive problems, shorter productive life, poor animal health and welfare, and excessive amounts of pollutants released to the environment.
Some of the possible ways to improve the situation are that governments consider increasing investment for improving laboratory infrastructure and laboratory proficiency. Development of sound training programmes and their effective execution is warranted. Higher donors’ attention to this issue and provision of greater funds for developing capacity of laboratory personnel are needed.
Thursday November 26, 2015/ FAO.