Over the last few weeks/months I’ve been engrossed in analyses of feed samples (including both raw feed ingredients and commercial mixes).
This data offers us information on not just total energy but also the type of energy (e.g. starch/fat) as well as crude protein and other essential nutrients (minerals/trace minerals).
Typically, nutritionists use “book data” for diet formulation however environmental conditions (e.g. wet weather) can have a marked effect on feed values.
We have also recently sent a bunch of raw feed ingredients away for amino acid and fatty acid testing with some surprising results. Many of the essential amino acids were much lower than "average" which could potentially be an issue for high performance horses that are not on fortified diets.
Our aim is to provide diets to meet nutritional requirements as accurately as possible and as climatic conditions change, feed testing is often a necessity to achieve this.