One of the most nutrient-rich substances a farmer or gardener can use is manure, but not all manure is created equal.
Manure varied in nutrient content and in contamination levels – contaminated by microbiological pathogens or heavy metals in the environment. Because this variety is significant, it is just as important to test the manure you will be using as it is to test your soil.
Usually, samples of manure are sent to the lab, and then dried by the lab before testing. Their results are sometimes reported in a dry-weight measurement … just something to keep in mind when you receive results back from the soil testing lab.
You can sample manure either before or during hauling. If you sample before hauling, the results can help you to determine this year’s proper application rates. However, this is not always an easy process.
Sampling during hauling will be more accurate since the substances have had the chance to settle. It will also be faster and easier to obtain the samples. However, you’ll only be able to tell what nutrients the plants have already obtained if you gather the samples during the application process. The testing will still let you know what the plants were given in the fertilizer, and it will be a good gauge for next year’s planting.