Near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) of 924 fresh temperate forages were used to develop calibration models for chemical composition – crude ash (CA) and crude protein (CP) – organic matter digestibility (OMD) and voluntary intake (VI). We used 110 samples to assess the models. Four calibration strategies for determining forage quality were compared: (i) species-specific calibration, (ii) family-specific calibration, (iii) a global procedure and (iv) a local approach. Forage calibration data sets displayed CA values ranging from 52 to 205 g/kg of dry matter (DM), CP values from 50 to 280 g/kg DM, OMD values from 0.48 to 0.85 g/g and VI values from 22.5 to 115.2 g DM/kg metabolic body weight (BW0.75). The calibration models performed well for all the variables except for VI. For CA, local procedure showed lower standard error of prediction (SEP) than species-specific, family-specific or global models. For CP, the calibration models all showed similar SEP values (11.13, 11.08, 11.38 and 11.34 g/kg DM for species-specific, family-specific, global and local approaches). For OMD, the local procedure gave a similar SEP (0.024 g/g) to specific species and global procedures (0.027 g/g) and a lower SEP than the family-specific approach (0.028 g/g). For VI, the local approach and species-specific calibration showed lower SEP (7.08 and 7.16 g/kg BW0.75) than the broad-based calibrations (8.09 and 8.34 g/kg BW0.75 for family-specific model and global procedure, respectively). Local calibration may thus offer a practical way to develop robust universal equations for animal response determinations.