Analysis suites for grassland

Grassland, forage crops, maize       

Analysis gives valuable information required to manage crop and livestock production in an efficient, cost effective and sustainable way.

Soil analysis provides fundamental knowledge on the chemical, physical and biological status of a soil. This information is used to manage the soil and to develop an effective Nutrient Management Plan that optimises both forage dry matter production and forage quality in terms of both feed value and mineral supply. 

Organic materials (manures, slurries, digestates, etc.) are a valuable source of crop nutrients. For efficient nutrient management planning it is important to know the nutrient content of organic materials applied to the land. This is likely to vary significantly from book values and it is therefore worthwhile having the organic material analysed.

Forage analysis is used to either monitor the performance of the nutrient management plan and make targeted applications to address in-season nutritional limitations or to assess the value of conserved forage so any required adjustments can be made to the following seasons nutrient management plan.

Grassland analysis packages are tailored to provide the best information for arable crop management. Analysis reports provide interpretations of the results compared to benchmark levels and gives recommendations, where appropriate, to address any limitations.

What to analyse?

Most of the work, and cost, of analysis is in the sampling and in the transport of the sample to the laboratory, once the sample has arrived it makes sense to get as much information as possible.

Soil analysis

Animal Health Soil (Se) (AHSa)

This is the best analysis package for grassland or forage soil samples as this gives the nutrient levels for plant nutrients, but also includes the analysis of additional nutrients that are vital for the health of livestock.
Parameters included: P, K, Ca, Mg, S, B, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Zn, Na, Co, Se, CEC, pH, Lime Requirement

Other soil analyses

There are also a wide range of other soil analyses available, more information on these can be found here.

Leaf analysis

Animal Health Leaf (AHL)

This is the best analysis package for forage samples as this gives the nutrient levels for all twelve plant nutrients, but also includes nutrients that are vital for the health of livestock.
Nutrients included: N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, B, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Zn and Na, Co, I, Se

Other leaf analyses

There are also a wide range of other leaf and tissue analyses available, more information on these can be found here.

Forage Analysis

Fresh Grass or Grass Silage (L4c or L4a)

There is a choice of two forage analyses packages for either fresh grass or grass silage
Parameters included (L4c): DM, CP, NDF, Buffer Index, NO3-N, ME, D-Value, Sugars
Parameters included (L4a): DM, pH, D-value, NH -N, ME, Sugars, C.P, Ash, 3 NDF, Oil A, Acetic Acid, n Butyric Acid, Tot Ferm Acids, Lactic Acid

Organic materials

Complete organic (SA7c or SA7d)

This package is suitable for both solid and liquid materials and provides a full picture of the nutrient content of the material to be applied.
Parameters included: Total N, Ammonium-N, Nitrate-N, P, K, Mg, Ca, S, Cu, Zn, Dry Matter, pH

Heavy metal

Heavy metal contamination (SA8)

The contamination of produce with heavy metals may pose a risk to human and/or animal health. This analysis package provides a check for any possible levels of contamination.
Nutrients included: Pb, Ni, As, Cd, Cr, Hg, Cu, Zn

Potato analyses

Sampling procedures

Soil analysis

As a general rule, fields up to 10 Ha (25 Acres) in area can be sampled as one unit, providing each field is uniform e.g. with regard to soil type, past cropping, lime and fertiliser usage. Fields created by hedge removal are unlikely to be uniform.

Individual samples, whether of soil, leaves or fruit, should be taken along a carefully well planned route across the field. The ‘W-pattern’ sampling path is adaptable to most shapes of field.

Start away from the gate, and avoid all areas which are not representative of the field as a whole such as head-lands, hedges, ditches, footpaths, fences, telegraph poles, sites of bonfires, fertiliser, lime or manure dumps.

Large fields, and fields which are not uniform, should be subdivided and each part sampled separately. Use a clean auger, hand trowel or spade (preferably chromium plated or of stainless steel). Carry a plastic bucket.

We recommend at least 20 sampling guidelines samples, taken at regular intervals along the sampling path. Do not skimp on this number, even in small fields or areas.

At each of the sampling sites, take a sample to a depth of 15 cm (6”) for arable or 7.5 cm (3”) for grass, and place in a bucket. Thoroughly mix all samples, avoiding spillage.

Tissue analysis

Select a sampling path as described previously. At each sampling site take several leaves at the same stage of development* preferably the first fully-expanded leaves working away from the growing point. Take leaves only, not stems or roots. Avoid bruising or tearing the leaves, and do not include
leaves showing pest, disease or other damage. Avoid dusty or soil contaminated plants. Mix the leaves thoroughly, and take approximately 200 g or two handfuls. If the leaves are wet, blot them dry with clean absorbent material.

Take care when sampling for copper, zinc and manganese to avoid sampling leaves that have recently been sprayed with fungicides as they may be formulated with these elements and so give misleading analysis results.

Sampling equipment

If you need any sampling equipment or packaging please conplete our contact form with details of what is required.

Analysis enquiry form
Analysis enquiry form

Interested in analysis ?

If you have a question for our analytical team, if you need sampling supplies or advice on how to take samples please use this form to contact the laboratory and someone will get back to you directly.

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Related publications

Our Analytical Team have written a series of useful analytical buletins and other publicatons.

View or download publications as PDF documents