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The upcoming wheat harvest kicks off the 2016 fall soil sampling season.  We would like to remind members of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association that a membership benefit for the 2016 year is a 10% discount off regular soil test packages.

Soil sampling after wheat harvest is the best strategy to maintain the 3 year sampling rotation, and to afford the best window of opportunity to collect samples and consider results before developing the nutrient plan for the following corn crop.


SGS gladly provides sample supply packaging, and suggests a 3 month supply as a reasonable amount to keep on hand.  We can provide soil sample boxes or bags, plant tissue bags, water bottles for nutrient testing (greenhouse, livestock, and irrigation) and microbiological testing, manure jars, and feed/forage bags.  Please contact the lab for more details, or submit this form to have supplies sent to your location.


When submitting plant tissue samples, please package in paper and submit a minimum of 200 grams of fresh material.  This amount generally half fills a paper lunch bag, and is required to test all of the nutrients and also provides a more representative sample.

For early season testing, the whole plant can be sampled, cutting off just above the ground and exercising care so as not to contaminate the tissue with soil.  A rule of thumb for mid-season is to sample the most recently fully-matured leaf:

  • Usually the 5th trifoliate from the top of a soybean plant
  • Corn testing should have the ear leaf sampled
  • For fruit crops, the last two weeks in July is the optimal period for testing


This year, the first cutting of forage started the last week of May and extended until mid-June. It is clear that weather conditions affect forage growth and quality, although variety and management are important as well. Some areas in Western Ontario received adequate rainfall, whereas others in Central and Eastern Ontario were quite dry in the spring. In addition, cooler than normal temperatures this spring impacted the growth and quality of alfalfa to a greater extent than grasses. Forage quality reports at SGS for mixed first cut show the variability of quality among samples collected in the same year and between years.

It seems that this year weather conditions favorably affected forage quality compared to 2015, with high CP and low fiber content with higher digestibility, which results in greater Relative Feed Value.

Analyzing forages for nutrient content is useful in determining whether quality is adequate, and as a tool for proper ration supplementation. SGS provides many, accurate, and inexpensive analytical packages to assess forage quality.

Click here to view our information for May - June of 2016.

For more information, please contact:

Jack Legg, CCA-ON 
Branch Manager, Agronomist 
Guelph, Ontario N1H 6T9 
503 Imperial Rd. N., Unit 1
t: +1 519 837 1600