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Description: This image shows an esophageally cannulated cow. An esophageal cannula is used to collect samples of grazed forage. This technique is especially useful in landscapes where grazing animals have a wide variety of plants which they might consume. The cow is surgically prepared with a fistula in the esophagus and then equipped with a screen bottomed bag for collection of the diet samples. All surgical procedures are conducted under the proper animal care and use protocols. The cow is typically held in a pen for several hours prior to sample collection so that when they are turned out, they will actively graze. The sample collection procedure generally takes less than one hour from start to finish. Samples are then freeze dried prior to laboratory analysis. This procedure gives a more accurate snapshot of forage quality than clipped samples, especially in landscapes with a diverse plant population.