Editor’s note: The following information was provided by Dairyland Labs in Arcadia, Wis.

Starch digestion is one of the most important aspects of dairy nutrition in today’s high-producing herds. Its effects can be seen in nearly every measureable aspect of milk production, including milk volume, milk components, feed efficiency, lameness and reproduction.

Researchers and laboratories have made many attempts to quantify the variables of starch digestion, including In Vitro and In Situ procedures, mean particle size, Degree of Starch Access, prolamin content and vitreousness. Yet, until now, there hasn’t been a commercially available analysis that integrates the major aspects of starch digestion into a single system.

Through the use of gas production, researchers at the University of Wisconsin were able to quantify the individual effects of particle size, fermentation and endosperm type on starch digestion. They then created UW Grain 2.0 which utilizes rapid and inexpensive laboratory procedures for particle size, prolaminand ammonia.

Perhaps the biggest breakthrough of UW Grain 2.0 is the use of ammonia nitrogen. Ammonia in ensiled corn is generated as the protein matrix which surrounds the starch molecules is broken down. This makes ammonia a reliable marker which can distinguish between fermented and unfermented corn, as well as a marker for how much effect the ensiling process has had on starch digestibility. In general, the more intense the fermentation is, and the longer corn has been in storage, the more available the starch will be.

Another new feature of UW Grain 2.0 is the Effective Mean Particle Size (eMPS). This calculated value takes into consideration the physical and chemical properties of your sample and says “your corn will be digested like an average dry corn which was ground to this particle size.” In other words, eMPS integrates the primary factor of mean particle size, plus a secondary chemical factor that influences starch digestibility. Other outputs of UW Grain 2.0 include starch digestion rate (kd), ruminal starch digestion (RSD), and total tract starch digestibility (TTSD).

For more complete information about UW Grain 2.0 visit www.dairylandlabs.com.