Chemistry Department; Plant Science Department
forage testing, NFTA, National Forage Testing Association
Can you be sure that the results that come back from your forage testing lab are accurate? To help you evaluate your lab, ask the questions in this publication. Accurate laboratory analysis requires an organized, plan in the laboratory and properly trained technicians to assure quality data. Concern over laboratory accuracy and repeatability is frequently focused on results generated by near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS). However, NIRS is just one of the methods used by laboratories to test forage samples for nutrient levels. Your concern as a user of laboratory analysis is not in the type of method used but in the accuracy of the information you receive. Answers to these questions will reveal if your laboratory is following proper quality control procedures.
Agricultural Experiment Station, South Dakota State University
Thiex, N.J. and Twidwell, E.K., "How to Evaluate a Forage Testing Laboratory" (1993). Agricultural Experiment Station Circulars. 311.