When John Taberna first started Western Laboratories, farmers were only concerned about the nutrient content of manures. They also wanted to know how the NPK values of manure compared to fertilizer.
You should thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water after collecting the sample.
Manures contain far more than just nutrients. Manure has life, stimulates life and increases the water-holding capacity of the soil. Manure stimulates organisms to release bound nutrients from the soil. Now that fertilizer costs are increasing more people are looking to manure. The problem with manures is that they contain salts and too much of a good thing can kill a crop. This analysis indicates the pounds of nutrients per ton as spread. Manure should be part of your program but not the entire program by itself.
How to Collect Manure, Compost and Lagoon Samples
The easiest way to collect manure and compost is to cover your hand in a plastic grocery bag or use plastic disposable gloves, collect the sample by reaching into the pile, remove a small amount and place the sample into a plastic zip lock bag. Go to several locations and follow the same procedure.
We need approximately two to three large handfuls for a good sample. Mark the bag with a Sharpie type marker, fill out a submission form and send to Western Laboratories. The turn around time is approximately 48 hours from when we receive the sample. Collecting a lagoon sample is much like collecting an irrigation water sample. Triple rinse an empty drink bottle and screw type lid in the lagoon water, then fill the bottle. Tightly screw on the lid, wash and dry the outside of the bottle so you can write the identification onto the bottle, fill out a submission form and send to Western Laboratories. For submission forms for this testing, click HERE.