Services for Livestock Farmers
Feed & Forage Testing
Dairy producers use feed and forage analysis information extensively in their dairy ration formulations. In order to most effectively formulate dairy rations, producers should have feed samples analyzed for the standard minerals, crude protein, and acid detergent fiber. In addition, neutral detergent fiber should be determined on all forages and crude fat on all feeds containing added fat. Energy values will be calculated on most feeds and forages from the crude protein and acid detergent values.
Beef producers should request the standard minerals as well as crude protein and acid detergent fiber, which are necessary for the calculation of the total digestible nutrients. Special circumstances may dictate further analyses.
Poultry producers are usually interested in the nutrient levels in finished or complete feeds. This includes the standard minerals, crude protein, crude fat, and soluble sodium. Knowledge of sodium levels in feeds can be useful in tracking down causes of some behavior problems and digestive disorders such as cannibalism or wet feces.
Swine feeds are usually analyzed for the standard minerals, crude protein, and acid detergent fiber (used to predict metabolizable energy and crude fiber contents). Analyses are most beneficial when used as verification that the ingredients in a feed were properly weighed and mixed. Because there are many feed ingredients that one can mix and because nutrient availabilities vary greatly among ingredients, all analyses, except corn-soybean meal based feeds, need some individual interpretation to be most useful to the feeder. For feeds based on corn and soybean meal, the analyses should help provide good predictions of feed adequacy.
For horses, the crude protein, crude fat, and acid detergent fiber should be determined. These values are necessary to calculate the energy levels of the feed. The standard mineral analysis is more valuable with a complete or manufactured feed than individual feed ingredients. The net energy values for maintenance, growth, and lactation are based on formulas derived from ruminant data and can only be used to compare feedstuffs for the horse.
Instructions for taking feed and forage samples can be obtained from the lab or your local county Extension office. The sample submission forms are available on line at http://www.clemson.edu/agsrvlb or at the county Extension office. Proper sampling is essential to ensure results that are representative of the quality of the feed or forage.
You will receive by mail or email an analysis report for each sample analyzed. For dairy, beef, horse, and poultry feed samples, the results are reported on an as-sampled and dry-matter basis. For swine feed samples, the results are reported on an as-sampled basis. Your county Extension agent will help you interpret your results and design your feeding program.
Benefits of Soil Testing
Soil testing is a service provided as a management tool to help in decisions related to fertilizer and lime applications for pastures and hay production. It provides a scientific basis for maintaining adequate soil fertility levels and proper soil pH values to help attain optimum yields of good quality forage. By testing the soil and following the fertilizer recommendations, a farmer will ensure that the forage is competitive with weeds, thus reducing herbicide costs, and guard against the environmental hazards and expense from excessive fertilizer applications.
Instructions for taking and submitting soil samples for analysis by the Agricultural Service Laboratory are found on the soil bag. Record Sheets are available on line at http://www.clemson.edu/agsrvlb or at the county Extension office. Proper sampling is important to ensure representative soil test results and proper fertilizer recommendations. In general, we recommend annual sampling for hay crops and sampling every 3 years for grazed pastures. The intensity of land use should dictate your sampling schedule.
Results and Recommendations
Upon completion of the analysis, a report with the plant nutrient levels and fertilizer and lime recommendations will be returned to you by mail or email. Recommendations will be made for the crop(s) listed on the Record Sheet and will include comments on cultural practices or other specific recommendations for the crop(s) to be grown. If you have any questions regarding the results or recommendations, your county Extension agent can help you.
Animal Waste Analysis
Determining the plant nutrient content of animal waste is the initial step for utilizing manure for crop production. Manure analysis is necessary because the nutrient content of manures is highly variable and not predictable. Application rates of the manure should be based on the nutrient content of the manure, the nutrient status of the soil, and the nutrient needs of the crop.
The sample submitted must be representative of the manure to be land applied if the analysis is to be of value. Samples should be taken as close as possible to the time of application. If rainfall or manure additions alter the manure, another sample should be taken. Consult the lab or your county Extension office for sampling guidelines.
Results and Recommendations
Results are reported in pounds of nutrient per ton for solid manures and pounds of nutrient per 1,000 gallons for liquid manures on an as-sampled basis (at the moisture content of the sample delivered to the laboratory). A calculated estimate of available nitrogen will appear on all reports. Provided with the manure analysis, soil test information, and the crop to be grown, your county agent can assist you in determining the proper application rate of manure.