Silage and Compound Feed

Supplemental animal feeding is an invaluable way of ensuring appropriate animal nutrition. Getting a feed test before buying supplementary feed, or prior to feeding your animals, gives you the information you need to make sound decisions that can help increase your productivity. We have a full range of tests for pasture and forage quality, silage quality and compound feed groups. We can also test your feed for nitrates and microbiological contamination.

Silage Testing

The quality of silage is highly dependent on the quality of the forage harvested and the type of fermentation that has occurred. These factors will influence palatability to livestock, livestock productivity, dry matter losses and the risk of toxins forming in the silage. Even under ideal conditions, loss of at least 8% of the forage dry matter is expected throughout the ensiling process. For a more complete listing of our silage testing options and the associated test details download our silage services offered.

Compound Feed Testing

Compound Feeds by definition are made from many different components, and may be tested through Hill Labs Ag section if the sample matrix is plant-based. This testing service covers grains, meals, pellets, Palm Kernel (PKE) and some food by-products used for animal feed. Understanding the quality and nutrient composition of these feeds is important to ensure that an animal's diet is appropriately balanced. For a more complete listing of our compound feed testing options and the associated test details, download our services offered specifically designed for compound feed testing.

Nitrate Feed Testing

The nitrate component of pasture or feeds is absorbed very quickly into the bloodstream of ruminant animals. When the level of dietary nitrate is high, some of the absorbed nitrate is converted to nitrite, which reduces the ability of the blood (haemoglobin) to carry oxygen. “Nitrate Poisoning” is actually a form of suffocation (anoxia). To ensure that the risk of nitrate poisoning is appropriately managed we recommend using our Nitrate Feed Testing services.

Microbiological Feed Testing

Silage and other animal feeds can be tested for undesirable micro-organisms such as Salmonella and Listeria. The silage making process relies heavily on microbial activity. The presence of many species such as Lactic acid bacteria is desirable to ensure good preservation of the feed. During the silage making process the pH of the silage becomes more acidic due to the action of the Lactic acid bacteria, which should also decrease the levels of undesirable micro-organism's such as coliform bacteria, E.coli and pathogens.  However the silage making process and subsequent storage of silage can create contamination with undesirable bacterial species such as Salmonella and Listeria.

Hill Labs offers analysis for Listeria to help prevent occurrences of Listeriosis in sheep and cattle resulting from the infection of the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The source of the bacterium is often linked to contaminated animal feed. Salmonella and Listeria are reported as present or absent through the use of this quick and easy test.

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What our customers have to say

"We've always found them to be responsive in getting results back and giving advice on problems we might be facing."

Andrew Hutchinson, Technical Manager, Turners & Growers

"We strongly recommend Hill Labs as a sound testing service provider to the honey industry."

Nick Walker, Technical Manager, Egmont Honey

"Their sample registration system has made things simple and seamless - collect, scan and send!"

Mathew Bannister, Compliance Manager, First Fresh New Zealand


As a New Zealand accredited laboratory by International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ), Hill Labs' commitment to quality is tantamount to our overall operating philosophy. We pride ourselves on the quality of our work.