Sample Collection

 

 

PASTURE OR FODDER SAMPLING

Before you start, ask us to send you an APAL pasture test kit that contains the submission form, sample bags, reply paid envelopes and sampling instructions. Call us on  (08) 8332 0199 , email us at info@apal.com.au, or fill in our soil test kit form!

Careful sampling is critical for reliable results

Avoid contamination

Be alert for any factor that can contaminate the sample. We are measuring elements in parts per million so even small amounts of contaminant can significantly alter the results - e.g. perspiration from hands can artificially inflate sodium and chloride levels. Always use clean hands or preferably clean disposable gloves to sample plant tissue or a stainless steel corer in the case of hay or silage. Collect fresh plant tissue into a paper bag to prevent from going mouldy during postage or a ziplock plastic bag for grains or dry/ensiled plant tissue.

Representative sampling

Select representative areas of the paddock, pasture, fodder or grain store to sample. If you are assessing a problem area, it can be useful to send in an extra sample from an adjacent productive area for comparison.

Sample the following in separate sample bags:

  • Different paddocks, pastures or plant species (eg lucerne & ryegrass)
  • Pastures with different fertiliser or treatment histories.
  • Pastures at different stages of growth or fodder conservation.

In general sampling avoid anything unusual, but especially DO NOT sample:

  • spoilt feed / fodder / grain unless for diagnostic purposes
  • ensiled feed that is less than 6 weeks since ensiling
  • within 50cm of the surface in pit silage as it may be oxidised
  • leaves sprayed with fertiliser in the previous 2 weeks.
  • near the edge of the paddock.
  • headlands of cultivated paddocks where double fertilising may have occurred.
  • areas that appear significantly different – take a separate sample from these.
  • plant tissue contaminated by soil.
  • from dung or urine patches.

Sampling procedure

 1) Hay

  • Sample at least 10 bales of hay using a corer (see below for supplier) or 20 grab samples before mixing & subsampling. Submit 300-400 grams for analysis.
  • Label the bags clearly with your name, sample name, plant /crop/fodder type and stage of growth.
  • Fill in the information sheet with your postal details and any information about the crop/pasture/fodder tested that will help us with our recommendations.
  • Put the paper/plastic sample bag(s), information sheet and payment into the APAL reply paid envelope and post to us.

2) Silage

  • Sample at least 10 silage wraps using a corer (see below for supplier) or 20 grab samples before mixing & subsampling. Submit 300-400 grams for analysis
  • When using APAL or other plastic postal bags, it is a good idea to allow air movement into the bag by snipping off the corners or making some small holes in the sides if submitting a green or moist sample
  • freeze a silage sample before posting to minimise oxidation and deterioration of the sample during transport
  • Label the bags clearly with your name, sample name, plant /crop/fodder type and stage of growth.
  • Fill in the information sheet with your postal details and any information about the crop/pasture/fodder tested that will help us with our recommendations
  • Put the paper/plastic sample bag(s), information sheet and payment into the APAL reply paid envelope and post to us.

 3) Pasture

  • Wear disposable plastic gloves when collecting plant samples (not latex or powder coated gloves).
  • Collect the pasture material in clean paper bags or plastic ziplock bags in the case of dry feed material
  • If leaves are wet at sampling, collect in a clean plastic bag and then remove the excess moisture by air drying before transferring to the paper bags
  • Take a pasture sample across the area in a grid or on a zig-zag sampling path and record for future re-sampling
  • Label the bags clearly with your name, sample name, plant /crop/fodder type and stage of growth.
  • Fill in the information sheet with your postal details and any information about the crop/pasture/fodder tested that will help us with our recommendations.
  • Put the paper/plastic sample bag(s), information sheet and payment into the APAL reply paid envelope and post to us.
  • When using APAL or other plastic postal bags, it is a good idea to allow air movement into the bag by snipping off the corners or making some small holes in the sides if submitting a green or moist sample

 Please contact us if you have any questions about these procedures.

What part to sample

In general the youngest mature leaf (YML) is selected for testing in most green species.  Alternatively, at least 20 grab samples of same are required.

Lucerne

  • Sample at a vegetative growth stage and collect the top 150mm of 20-30 plant tops.

Pasture

  • Take a general sample of the top portions of the plants as an animal would graze. Avoid taking roots and soil – scissors may be needed.

Contact us at APAL if you need more specific instructions for a particular plant, crop or fodder reserve.


(Hay / Silage Probes can be purchased from Kelspac Services Pty Ltd (03) 55772624)  The probes fit onto an electric drill and take core samples from hay or silage bales)

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