Potential exists to improve current strategies and methods employed to assess livestock feed ingredient quality. Of paramount importance to any assessment
procedure is representative sampling of the test ingredient. Sampling must be sufficient to facilitate the most sensitive form of analysis, such as that conducted
for chemical residues. Arguably, the greatest proportion of time and effort directed towards the assessment of
livestock feed ingredient quality should be focussed on the sampling process. Recent research has resulted in the development of rapid methods for the direct assessment of the nutritional quality of feed ingredients
for pigs, poultry and ruminants and significant potential exists to improve the use of this technology in commercial animal and feed production systems. Opportunities also exist for the development of multi-
screen ELISA assays for chemical contaminants, while a number of ELISA based test kits are in existence for specific mycotoxins. Quantitative analysis of weed
seeds may be achieved through the use of image analysis, but there is an urgent need for rapid methods for the assessment of natural plant toxins such as pyrrolizidine alkaloids. The cost benefits of assessing
nutritional quality can be clearly demonstrated, but when compared against the risks, analysis of ingredients for contaminants requires more strategic thought.