Literature on the history of NIR and future outlook

marcwoolrych's picture

Good evening,
I am currently writing my master's thesis in which I'm exploring the potential applications of the Internet of Things within agriculture (more specificially within feed mills). I realized that NIR could be playing an even bigger role in future feed mill operations.
My question is to you folks, if you can point out recent articles, which address the history of NIR (preferably related to feed analysis), and how the future might look like in terms of technological advancements. I've read T. Davis (1998), which actually covers the history part but I'm looking for an updated view on the future outlook.
Particularly the future interplay between NIR and IoT would indeed look brighter if the prospects of NIR was significant lower instrument size and cost.
Nevertheless, I've noticed the emergence of the pocket size NIR instrument, SCiO, but I'm rather sceptical in terms of what the producer claims the product to be able to measure. But it could be an indication of what to expect from technological advancements?
What are your thoughts on the future of NIR equipment? Or perhaps similar technologies that might evolve to compliment the current range of options in feed analysis instrumentation.
I apologise if the content of this post is off topic.
Hope to hear from you
Best regards


Hi Marc,
I believe you are already aware that in the feed mill industry prediction of parameters such as total amino acid, digestible AA as well as Energy is being done on web platform. I have also attended a workshop wherein there is a software that integrates the values from NIR, Feed Formulation datas and information of the animals itself to simulate the expected growth of animals.
Anyway, since you are asking for articles please look the works of the persons below which I think fits perfectly on your current needs.
1. Rao S (2012) Practical utilization of NIR technology in poultry feed formulation.
2. Soto C, Avila E, Arce J, Rosas F, McIntyre D (2013) Evaluation of different strategies for broiler feed formulation using near infrared reflectance spectroscopy as a source of information for determination of amino acids and metabolizable energy. J ApplPoult Res 22, 730-737.
3. Undersander D (2006) Uses and abuses of NIR for feed analysis. Florida Ruminant NutrConf, Gainsville.
4. H GrahamA, C PiotrowskiB& MY TanAB Taking NIR beyond feedstuff analysis to enhance pork production profitability
You can easily look them online and use their cited references to look for another source or I can email some of the pdf directly to you.


marcwoolrych's picture

Thank you Kim, useful insights


Hello Marc,
I am not familiar with the word "loT" and at first I thought you were talking about a "batch of a specific product" but then I missed that you meant Internet of Things which refers to "data analytics" wherein in your case, what will be the future of agriculture if those data analysis has been integrated into the business system of feed milling.
I have read an article before that startups which usually sprung in Silicon Valley will shift towards application in agriculture and those who really knows how to create and handle those data (infos) will benefit the most. Unfortunately I did not bookmark the site and so I could no longer retrieve them for you. It was a very good article though.
In any case, based on what I've read farmers uses the infos generated by "system platform" gathered by the "sensors" and convert them to useful data that helps farmers decide when to water their plants, what fertilizer to use ( I assume this was based on soil analysis ) to augment deficiency in soil nutrients  which is no different from the livestock/feedmilling industry or any industry because everyone aims for "efficiency" to save cost and maximize returns.
As I had mentioned in my earlier comment, the animal/feedmilling industry is now capable to use 'real digestible nutrients' which was correlated to the target animals themselves and utilize those data to create an optimum feed diet based on the available raw materials that will deliver the nutrients requirment of animals.
One thing that I may add is that the animal industry technoligical innovations also contributes with the reduction of carbon they produce and I would not be surprised in the future that customer will consider the amount of carbon generated per unit mass of meat when they do purchase their meat. 


ianm's picture

If not the first, at least one of the earliest publications on the application of NIRS in the animal feed industry was J. Sci. Food Agric. 31: 1201-1213, 1980. Since then great strides have been made on the application of NIRS in that industry, notably by the scientists of the CRA-W, Gembloux, Belgium.

(posted by Ian Michael on behalf of Phil Williams)

hlmark's picture

One point is missing the discussion is cost. This never made it into the literature but as far back as the early 1980s, one of the salesmen for Technicon (one of the first companies to provide NIR analysis equipment) had written a program to calculate the Least-Cost Formulation for animal feeds based on the daily prices of the ingredients as well as their nutritional content, so farmers could minimmze the cost of the feed whie staying within the bounds of the accepted values for the various nutiritonal components. Then every morning, he would check the daily prices (from daily radio broadcasts, no internet then!), run his program and tell the farmers in his neighborhood how to formulate the feeds for the various animals of interest (cows, pigs, chickens, etc). The farmers would then pay him for that service. I gathered he made  a nice auxiliary income from that service!

mike's picture

Hello,'s been some several years since I communicated to the forum. I have been immersed and quite busy with a series of new applications and wonder if anyone (Marc?) has some knowledge of the current work on application of depth of NIR imaging in human tissue. Any publications or papers would be interesting since work done in 2010. Thanks, folks.