More than ever, properly managing manure has become a fundamental aspect of farm management. To manage efficiently, analyzing manure for its nutrient composition is strongly suggested. By analyzing your Manure, you get a full understanding of the nutrients your ground is receiving.
When preparing for an analysis of your manure, it’s essential to send in a fresh sample for the most accurate reading. Try to time the sample analysis within 90 days or less of applying the manure, so the analysis reflects what you are applying.
Research has shown that 90% of the Phosphorus will be in the solids and about 90% of Nitrogen will be in the top liquid portion of the storage facility. Knowing this will determine how you will want to sample your liquid. If you are agitating before you pump out, then you will want to get a representative sample of all the layers in the storage facility.
Sampling a liquid manure
If you are leaving some solids on the bottom of your storage facility, then you will only want to sample the layers above the bottom liquid layer. Sampling can be done by several different apparatuses, or you can grab a sample straight from the application process. It is recommended to take multiple samples at different points or time intervals and composite all subsamples into a bucket. Thoroughly mix the samples and collect one final representative sample. Collect the sample in a 16oz plastic container with identification marked on the bottle.
Sampling a solid.
Due to solid samples having a wide range of inputs, it is harder to grab a composite sample compared to a liquid sample. To get a good representation of your manure, you will want to collect from several different points. Collect 10-20 subsamples from various points as well as samples from the center of the pile to the outer edge. You want mixed samples as nutrients and moisture levels can vary due to exposure to the environment. Thoroughly mix the subsamples and collect a final sample of your mix.
Midwest Labs requires a minimum amount of sample needed is 500 ml or approximately 8 ounces for liquid or 3 cups for solid. Liquid samples need to be collected in a plastic container, and a lid should be fixed, so it doesn’t open during shipping. Solid samples can be collected in a resealable plastic bag. Mark the sample with the identification of where the sample was collected and then proceed to send to the lab as soon as possible.
It’s important to note: Collection, preparation, and shipping can influence sample quality. Poorly handled samples may not result in an accurate analysis of the manure’s nutrients.
To understand more about your test results check out this article on Manure Fertilizer Values – summary.
Additional questions? Give Rob Ferris at Midwest Laboratories a call at 402-829-9871