Forage Sampling Instructions

The accuracy of analysis will only be as good as the sample submitted. Collecting a representative sample of your forage is the most critical part of the analysis process. If the sample collected is not representative of the batch it is unlikely to reflect the nutrient content accurately and therefore may not be a reliable basis upon which to make key dietary decisions.

The gold standard in terms of taking forage samples is using a forage corer, however, where this is not available, you can take samples by hand as follows.

Sampling hay by hand

  1. Choose ideally at least 10 bales randomly from a batch of hay (a batch is defined as hay that was harvested at the same time out of the same field and under the same conditions). If more than one type/batch of hay is sampled, place each into a separate labelled plastic bag.
  2. Open each bale and take 3 handfuls from each bale (one from the centre and two a third of the way into the bale each end).
  3. Include everything that you have collected in the sample and place into a clean bucket/bag.
  4. Thoroughly mix the samples and place into a plastic sealable bag.
  5. Label the bag with the date, type of hay and owner’s name. Also note the testing required.
  6. Send straight away to: Practical Equine Nutrition, 1 Samsons Cottages, Battlegate Road, Boxworth, Cambridge, CB23 4NH

Sampling haylage by hand

  1. Choose bales randomly from a batch of haylage (a batch is defined as hay that was harvested at the same time out of the same field and under the same conditions). If more than one type/batch of hay is sampled, place each into a separate labelled plastic bag.
  2. Collect core samples from several individually wrapped bales from the same batch. Remember to seal any puncture holes in the wrapping with multiple layers of airtight tape (try and use these bales reasonably soon to try and eliminate any damage from the puncture).
  3. Place samples in a clean container and mix thoroughly. Then empty the sample into a plastic sealable bag.
  4. Label the bag with the date, type of haylage and owner’s name. Also note the testing required.
  5. Send straight away to: Practical Equine Nutrition, 1 Samsons Cottages, Battlegate Road, Boxworth, Cambridge, CB23 4NH

  Sampling grass

  1. Using scissors collect grass from 10-20 random areas of a field (not to exceed 40 acres).
  2. To best represent grass that is likely to be consumed, clip at 2cm from ground level and avoid sampling roughs/latrine areas/gateways etc.
  3. Collect all samples in a clean container and mix thoroughly. Put the sample in a paper bag.
  4. Label the bag with the date, type of haylage and owner’s name. Also note the testing required.
  5. Send straight away to: Practical Equine Nutrition, 1 Samsons Cottages, Battlegate Road, Boxworth, Cambridge, CB23 4NH

Please note you will need to provide separate samples if you order more than one type of analysis. 

Guide total weight required as follows:

Hay/Haylage Basic test/Hygiene test only: 200g per sample

Hay/Haylage Comprehensive Nutrient/Mineral: 800g per sample

Grass: 800g per sample

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