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Certified Forage Testing Laboratories

Laboratory analyses are important for the evaluation of nutritive value in forages. Hay growers and livestock owners are encouraged to use forage testing as a management tool to improve forage production practices and feed efficiency. But how do you know which laboratories provide accurate and reliable results?

The National Forage Testing Association (NFTA) was founded in 1984 not only to address this question but to also improve the accuracy of forage testing among laboratories. The mission of the NFTA is to improve the accuracy and reproducibility of laboratory analyses that are important for the evaluation of nutritive value in forages. Accuracy can only be determined by comparing results to a reference value that can be defined unambiguously. The NFTA uses a certification testing (check sample) program to provide an unbiased assessment of the accuracy and reproducibility among participating laboratories. Proficiency is measured on check sample results of dry matter, crude protein, acid detergent fiber, and neutral detergent fiber.

NFTA is a joint effort of the American Forage and Grassland Council (AFAC), the National Hay Association (NHA), and forage testing laboratories. It is governed by a 12-member board of directors. Six directors represent laboratories, three represent AFGC, and three represent NHA.

Since its formation, reproducibility of lab results among laboratories has dramatically improved. Various lab methods have been reviewed and improved. Over 150 laboratories annually participate in the certification process. Laboratories are evaluated six times a year. Performance grades are provided to laboratories to allow them to better evaluate their testing procedures and methods. The NFTA certified laboratories have proven the ability to produce accurate test results on recognized reference methods.

We have one certified lab in Maryland, that being Cumberland Valley Analytical Services near Hagerstown. Contact information for Cumberland Valley and other labs that routinely process Maryland samples is listed below:

Lab & Contact Address Method
Cumberland Valley Analytical Services
Sharon Weaver (301) 790-1980
Website: http://www.foragelab.com
14515 Industry Dr.
Hagerstown, MD 21742
Chemistry
A & L Great Lakes Laboratories
Julie Bruggner (260) 483-4759
3505 Conestoga Drive
Ft. Wayne, IN 46808
Chemistry
Brookside Laboratories, Inc.
Greg Meyer (419) 753-2448
Website: http://www.blinc.com/feeds.htm
308 S. Main St.
Knoxville, OH 45871
Chemistry
Dairy Tech Labs
Jesse Sanders (717) 295-8748
Website: http://www.dairyconsultantlink.com/dairytech/index.cfm
805 Roherstown Road
Lancaster, PA 17601
Chemistry
& NIR
Holmes Laboratory, Inc.
Gary Horrisberger (330) 893-2933
3559 US Rt 62
Millersburg, OH 44654
Chemistry
Midwest Laboratories, Inc.
Dr. Jerome King (402) 334-7770
13611 B Street
Omaha, NE 68144
Chemistry

The complete list of certified labs can be found at http://www.foragetesting.org.

For more information, please contact:
Dr. Lester Vough
Forage Crops Extension Specialist

University of Maryland