Ag Plant Test Changes Coming

The start of a new year is when most businesses look at what they do and make changes where it is sensible to do so. There are a couple of small changes in our Agriculture sector to advise on following this review.

We will be:

  • Expanding the Basic Plant profile to include a Titanium (Ti) test, at no additional charge. This change will be effective from 1/4/24.
  • Discontinuing the plant sulphate-S test due to the very low customer demand making it an uneconomic test to maintain. The lab is also having difficulty in sourcing a regular supply of high quality activated charcoal needed for this test. This change will be effective from 1/4/24. The total Sulphur test in plants is included in the Basic Plant Profile and is the more common test for assessing plant sulphur status.

The addition of the Ti test will be most useful for forage, silage and turfgrass samples, as an indicator of soil contamination. Titanium is a highly abundant element, but most forms of it are insoluble and therefore unavailable for plant uptake. Typical plant concentrations in clean samples are less than 1 mg/kg. Titanium accumulates in topsoils, and any plant samples with soil contamination will show an elevated Ti result. For horticultural vine and tree-crop leaf samples, the reported Ti result will usually be very low and can largely be ignored.

The lab does try to run a water-wash on obviously soil contaminated plant samples, but this is not always fully effective in removing entrenched soil particles and is not feasible on ensiled feeds. An analyst comment will be on the lab reports, to give an idea of the scale of soil contamination indicated by the Ti result – being qualitative terms such as slight, moderate, high and heavy contamination.  Soil contamination will cause elevated test results for trace elements such as iron, cobalt and zinc, and will also affect the Ash, Digestibility and ME results of feeds. 

For more information please contact ag.csm@hill-labs.co.nz

15 Feb 2024

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