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Have you done your pasture tissue testing?

October 19, 2020

With spring very much upon us, now is an opportune time to be out taking pasture tissue samples and soil testing to help inform your pasture nutrition strategy.

APAL can determine the current nutrient status of your pasture by testing plant tissue (usually leaves or petioles). Our plant analysis provides a clear indication of plant health and of the availability for nutrient uptake through the roots and leaves.

To help farmers better manage their pastures and livestock nutrition, APAL has just commissioned a new inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) instrument. This instrument is able to better detect cobalt and selenium so you know whether or not you need to be feeding supplements to your livestock.

Used correctly, plant tissue testing is a highly cost effective and strategic monitoring tool for maintaining plant health and optimising your pasture production. An essential part of the process is diagnosing and correcting existing nutrient problems.

According to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (WA), plant tissue testing is recommended because it:

  • is the most reliable way of confirming micronutrient deficiencies, and commercial tests can measure all the common plant micronutrients at one time
  • can monitor the effect on plants of a nutrient management program and soil fertility
  • can identify emerging deficiencies before they reduce yield
  • can identify luxury or toxic levels of nutrients
  • can be used to adjust or calibrate soil test results of the major nutrients for the site.

Some of the most important elements which are monitored from pasture tissue testing are copper, zinc, manganese, sulphur and phosphorus, according to Sheep Connect SA.

Pasture soil sampling shouldn’t be overlooked either.

According to Meat & Livestock Australia, soil testing will reveal important attributes of soil fertility which may influence pasture species selection and fertiliser requirements.

Read more about boosting pastures with soil analysis in an APAL update from earlier this year.

Use APAL’s Farm2Lab app and APAL Online to track your sample and get results in a timely manner, enabling you to make better management decisions.

Find out more and get in touch on the APAL website.