Friday, 6 November 2020
Test to build the best view
In recent times, farm nutrient inputs and outputs have had a spotlight placed squarely on them. There is a requirement to be efficient and measurable in nutrient use within farming, both from an environmental and a farm business perspective.
By undertaking testing across soil and herbage on a property, a comprehensive picture of the macro and micronutrients available on a farm at any given time can be obtained. This information can then be used to ensure that only the required nutrients are supplied, both in the right place and at the right quantity.
Analytical Research Laboratories’ (ARL) laboratory Manager Will Bodeker says that while soil testing provides the base information for fertiliser plans, there is much to be gained in the way of micronutrient status by accompanying soil tests with herbage testing.
“Using both soil testing and plant analysis in conjunction with each other will provide a more complete picture of the overall nutrient status, which can then be used to aid in management decisions,” he says.
Soil testing establishes the nutrient status of the soil, but doesn’t indicate whether plants grown in the soil will be capturing all of the nutrients available since other factors such as soil compaction, soil temperature and water logging can affect nutrient uptake and plant growth. Plant analysis or herbage testing, on the other hand, indicates whether the plant is taking up the right amount and correct balance of nutrients for optimal production.
“This is a very useful tool in assessing trace element status for pasture, arable and horticultural crops, and animal production”
As well as indicating whether your plants have the right amount and balance of nutrients for optimal production, plant testing is also a useful tool for the following reasons:
- To provide a guide on the critical nutrient concentrations required for optimal crop production and quality for individual crop types at certain growth stages
- To determine trace element nutritional status and fertiliser requirements of annual and perennial crops
- To determine the mineral concentrations of animal feed (particularly herbage) to ensure maximum animal production
- For diagnosis of plant health problems, including trace element deficiencies and nutrient toxicities
- To monitor the effectiveness of a fertiliser programme
As with all testing services, ARL provide the most current crop-by-crop interpretative information available. This helps ensure the information from tests can be readily used in farm management decisions.
Trust your test results to the experts
ARL offer an extensive range of soil, plant, feed quality, water and effluent analysis – everything required to build the nutrient supply and management picture of a property and manage the health and productivity of soil and crops
ARL’s testing services are concentrated exclusively on the agricultural sector. This gives them their competitive advantage when compared with other labs, who may be testing everything from Covid-19 to methamphetamine contamination.
“We have experts at ARL who understand the testing workflow, how to get the most from the high-tech instrumentation involved and the implication of the results produced,” says Will.
In over 40 years of testing, they have built some impressive expertise in the field of high-quality cost-effective sample analysis.
“Our modern laboratory, state-of-the-art instrumentation and well-qualified staff make ARL an industry centre of excellence.”
While ARL are 100% owned by Ravensdown, they operate completely independently from the parent company. The fully accredited and high-tech testing laboratory is dedicated to providing critical information to farmers and growers, so they can plan and manage their decision-making as accurately as possible.
ARL is an IANZ (International Accreditation New Zealand) accredited laboratory (ISO 17025) and a member of the New Zealand Association of Consulting Laboratories and ASPAC (Australasian Soil and Plant Analysis Council).