Importance of Forage and Water Testing

By Stephen Janak – CEA Ag/NR Colorado County

The 2015 soil, forage, and water testing campaign will end on Friday, November 27th, so make sure to get samples taken and dropped off at any of seven locations in the area. Remember, the discounted prices and our offer to take care of shipping is only good during this campaign. Any questions about the campaign should be directed to our office: 979-732-2082.


Forage testing is a tool that producers can use to ensure proper nutrition and supplementation is provided to livestock during the winter. This year was not great for making hay with high percent crude protein or energy content. Overestimating the nutritive value of hay could mean that livestock are not receiving adequate nutrition. This can lead to low birth weights and poor condition of newborns and cows can take longer to breed again. Underestimating the nutritive value of hay could mean that livestock are receiving more nutrition than necessary, which leads to money wasted on extra hay or concentrated supplement. Forage testing can also help sellers and buyers of hay negotiate fair prices for hay based on quality.


Elemental water testing can be useful for both urban homeowners and ag producers. For every use, establishing a base line of water quality parameters can be helpful when a change in water quality is noticed. This way, new tests can be compared to old tests and correlations can be made to decide what caused the change. For home use, elemental water tests can help pinpoint buildup and scale problems and determine if current levels of salts and metals are safe for drinking. For livestock, it can help avoid problems with salts or sulfate, which can pose significant risks for cattle. Water quality is also important for producers of irrigated field crops. High salt content in irrigation water can lead to salt buildup in soil, which severely limits production. Additionally, high sodium content can lead to soils becoming virtually impervious to water. For more information: 979-732-2082.

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