What you will need

  • brown paper sandwich bags (available from a supermarket) to hold the samples
  • a stapler (to seal the bags)
  • a pen to label the bags
  • a cooler (“Esky”) in which to carry the samples in the paddock
  • an Express Post envelope to mail the samples to the laboratory
  • a Plant Analysis Request Form (provided by your BioAg Area Manager)

Sampling procedure

Follow the instructions below carefully to ensure an accurate analysis.

  1. To avoid contamination of the samples, wash your hands carefully before you begin sampling. 
  2. Label a paper bag “BioAg Leaf Sample” and your name, the date, the paddock name (sample name), and the crop or pasture type.
  3. Collect 25-30 samples at intervals of 1-2 metres evenly across the block or paddock. The final result should be representative of the plants in the sampled area. We recommend collecting samples diagonally across the paddock or crop avoiding headlands, trees, stock camps etc.
  4. Sample the youngest fully mature leaf of the same species of plant. Do not mix species in the sample. 
  5. From the collected samples, select a 200 gram sample (5 gram dry weight) that is free of soil and sand. This is about one large handful of green material. See the photo for an example of the amount required. Place the sample in the labeled paper bag.
  6. Keep the sample cool by placing it in the cooler immediately it has been collected. As soon as possible, place the samples in the refrigerator. 
  7. Complete the Lab Analysis Request form as instructed by your BioAg Area Manager, including your name and address details. 
  8. “Express Post” the samples without delay to the laboratory recommended by your BioAg Area Manager. 
  9. Mark the package “Samples Under Quarantine”. 
Note: Do not post the samples over the weekend. If you need to keep the samples over the weekend, place them in the fridge and post on Monday

Why leaf sampling?

Your BioAg Area Manager may recommend a leaf or tissue test in addition to a soil test. The purposes of tissue testing are:

  • to identify or diagnose a nutrient deficiency to identify a ‘hidden hunger’ in your crop or pasture
  • as part of monitoring and managing nutritional value and quality
  • as a cross reference tool with soil test data to provide more confidence in data interpretation 
  • as a verification tool to check if a foliar application or system is working.

In some cases, your BioAg Area Manager will do the leaf sampling with you or for you. Use this procedure if you are doing the leaf sampling without a BioAg expert present. 

Example: Approximate size of a ryegrass sample.

Your BioAg Area Manager will receive the results and provide you with an interpretation of them. They will also give you recommendations fo how to address the nutrient issues raised during analysis at the lab.

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