About NIR4 Farm

How does it work?

The Spectrometer is an NIR (near infrared reflectance) device. This produces a beam of NIR light, directed at the sample. The NIR energy causes the chemical bonds in the sample to vibrate at characteristic frequencies. The light that does not get absorbed is detected by the spectrometer and an absorbance spectra is created. The Aunir calibrations then convert the spectra into quantified data for each nutrient. This data is displayed on both the NIR4 Farm screen and the web portal. 

Is NIR4 Farm for farmers or advisors?

NIR4 Farm is for both farmers and advisors. Advisors benefit by having a mobile means of forage analysis in their hand, enabling them to have more meaningful discussions with clients regarding nutrition. Farmers benefit by having the means to accurately analyse forage regularly, helping ensure that the correct nutrition is being fed, maximising the chances of improving performance.

Can I use it in the rain?

Use in the rain is not recommended. Instead, sample the clamp face and then carry the sample to a dry area to carry out the analysis.

What support is available?

NIR4 Farm has a dedicated customer support desk facility for its customers which operates during business hours. This is access by calling 08000 90 22 44 (free unless ringing from a mobile). Out of hours, please email support@nir4farm.com.

What parameters does it measure?

NIR4 Farm analyses dry matter, crude protein, D value and ME, starch, sugar, NDF, ADF, pH and lactic acid.

What feeds can I use it on?

NIR4 Farm is pre-loaded with calibrations from Aunir to enable analysis of grass silage, maize silage, wholecrop silage, and fresh grass.

Can I archive my analysis results over time?

Yes. Once the forage has been scanned and the NIR4 Farm product is in WiFi range, the results will be automatically uploaded and saved onto the results web portal. This allows you easy access to all of your forage analyses. You will also be able to look at graphical trends in nutrients for each set of results.

Who owns the data?

AB Agri Ltd will own the data produced by NIR4 Farm and held on the web portal. No personal data is held.

Can I send the results to others?

Yes, farmers can send analyses to their nutritionist advisor. Advisors can send results to their farmer clients.

Purchasing

How much does it cost?

There are 3 parts to the cost of NIR4Farm: a one-off cost which covers the purchase of the equipment, the first year’s licence fee and 50 free tokens.

After the first year, customers are required to pay on ongoing licence fee, this covers the licencing of the equipment and provision of up-to-date calibrations. (If the licence fee is not paid, the system will cease working).

Each analysis uses a ‘token’. Tokens are loaded onto the NIR4 Farm device and then used as silage is analysed, one analysis using one token. After using the 50 free tokens, further tokens need to be purchased. 

How do I buy tokens?

Please call the NIR4 Farm helpline and more tokens can be added onto your account. This process will be completed electronically.

How much do the tokens cost?

Please consult your distributor for details of token pricing.

What return on investment can I expect?

Nutritionists sampling 250 silage samples per year should find that NIR4 Farm provides a lower cost alternative to a lab-based service. It is also a means by which to improve dialogue with customers.

Changes in silage nutrient content can negatively impact cow performance. Based on monitoring just dry matter changes, dairy farmers with 250 cows or more would likely find that NIR4 Farm pays for itself within 3 years. 

What else do I get with the package?

NIR4 Farm comprises a tablet (preloaded with the NIR4 Farm app), spectrometer, web portal access, 50 tokens and the 1st year licence fee. The equipment is contained in a robust case.

How do I get one?

Contact either AB Vista or Premier Nutrition, the distributors of NIR4 Farm.

What is the lead time for delivery?

You can expect your NIR4 Farm to arrive within 6 to 8 weeks from placement of order.

What maintenance arrangements are there? What happens if it goes wrong?

NIR4 Farm customers will be able to utilise a UK support service via phone and email to provide help if customers are experiencing issues with the equipment. 

Is NIR4 Farm under warranty?

The Spectrometer and Tablet device will be supplied with a 12 month warranty as standard, with an option to purchase further warranty at the end of this period for the Spectrometer.

What do I do if I drop it or break it?

If the spectrometer fails during the warranty period, it will be fixed at no cost after it has been returned to us for inspection. Out of the warranty period, repair can be arranged at the cost of the customer. Extended warranties are available for customers to purchase after Year 1.

Accuracy

How accurate is NIR4 Farm compared to established lab NIR providers?

For the key nutrients with NIR4 Farm analyses, the precision is extremely good and in-line with what would be found on a lab-based instrument.

How does the accuracy compare to wet chemistry?

NIR is a proven technology and used across the industry as an accurate, rapid means of analysis. Your usual silage analysis is likely to be undertaken by NIR.

Are the calibrations regularly updated?

Yes, part of the licence fee covers automatic updates to the calibrations. When you are in WiFi range, any updates will be automatically loaded to the NIR4 Farm device. We will contact you prior to releasing an update.

Is it FAAG-approved?

The current version of NIR4 Farm does not use the FAA Group's calibrations. However, we are members of the FAA consortium and work closely with them to achieve the objectives of standardised forage analysis.