Monitoring the nutritional status of grazing animals using near-infrared spectroscopy Academic Article uri icon


  • The use of near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS), a new, noninvasive assessment tool, enables veterinarians to augment their experience and visual appraisal in situations in which handling animals is neither practical nor desirable. Fecal NIRS, used in conjunction with a computer-aided, nutrition decision support system called NUTBAL (Nutritional Balance Analyzer), is a method of monitoring the nutritional status of free-grazing animals. In 1992, NIRS fecal profiling equations were successfully developed to predict dietary crude protein and digestible organic matter of cattle under free-ranging conditions. Cow/calf producers who have used the NIRS/NUTBAL system for at least 1 year and received advisory input from their technical advisors have reported positive benefits from nutritional monitoring of their herds. Future applications of fecal NIRS may include determining parasite load and reproductive status.

author list (cited authors)

  • Stuth, J. W., & Tolleson, D. R.

publication date

  • August 2000