Forage Analysis

Forage Testing

Custom Laboratory provides accurate and precise testing on the following:

  • alfalfa hay
  • grass hay
  • corn silage
  • mixed rations
  • supplements and other feeds.

Forage testing is done in an effort to improve animal nutrition and animal production. Providing adequate nutrition is a key element  for maintaining a healthy, productive and profitable livestock operation. On most farms, hay is a crucial component of the feeding program. Several physical observations such as age of cutting, odor, color and texture can give an indication of hay quality, only a laboratory nutrient analysis can provide an accurate estimate of the true feeding value of hay.

Nitrate Toxicity

Toxic levels of nitrate in livestock feed can cause reduced production and poison unborn and mature animals, causing abortion or death. Read More…

Sampling Procedures

To obtain a sample, we suggest the following guidelines:

  • Take samples at or during hay harvest or delivery. Once hay is stacked inside a barn, it is difficult to obtain a representative sample. For small rectangular bales, set aside three or four bales from each load. These bales can then be grouped and sampled by lot at a later time. Large bales can be sampled in the field prior to removal.
  • Use a hay core sampler, probe or punch designed specifically for sampling hay. Many county extension offices and farm supply dealers have samplers available for loan. Grab samplings of hay in which fistfuls of hay are pulled from bales is not recommended. Neither is submitting flake samples from rectangular bales. Both can give erroneous results.
  • For rectangular bales (large or small) collect samples by inserting the sampler probe 12 – 16″ into the center of the bale at either end. This allows the probe to pass through several bale flakes as it “cores” out the sample. For large round bales, the probe should be inserted 16″ – 20″through the side of the bale where several layers of hay are penetrated.
  • Collect samples from 15-20 small rectangular bales or from 8-12 large round or rectangular bales.
  • Hay should be free of excess moisture from dew or rainfall before sampling.
  • Core samples from each lot of hay should be mixed together and placed in a bag where it can be sealed tightly.