“Information from rumen degradable starch testing can give you confidence that the ration decisions you make will actually perform the way you expect them to,” says Kevin Leahy, nutritionist and technical services manager with Calibrate® Technologies.

Rumen degradable starch testing provides insights on how much starch in a feedstuff is actually digested in the rumen. Different feed ingredients have varying levels of rumen degradable starch.

For example, a herd that Leahy works with in Colorado was looking to make some changes to reduce ration costs. The herd was deciding between dry corn, which had a 70 percent starch level, and hominy that had a 67 percent starch level. The herd ran a rumen degradable starch test to help them make the decision. The rumen degradable starch level came back higher for hominy than dry corn.

“If you were measuring only the percent of starch, on paper the dry corn looked better, but looking at the rumen degradable starch level told us that the starch in the corn wasn’t going to be as available to the cow as that in the hominy and therefore would be less ruminally degradable,” Leahy explains.