Submitting Soils to Midwest Labs

midwest labs soil testingHere are some tips to consider when sending in soil samples to Midwest Laboratories

Make sure proper paperwork is filled out completely

Name, Account, Grower Information, Analysis information, Recommendation Information – Typed information and information submitted online is much appreciated and helps insure fewer mistakes from a receiving standpoint.

Consider opening an account at Midwest Laboratories (Accounts opened during regular business hours will receive their account number during the same business day)

All analysis information is kept under your account number and can be looked up and accessed 24 x7 for easy retrieval. The data can also be downloaded for use with your own Soil/Precision Ag Software.  Also, with your account, you have access to free soil bags.  (Best Choice)

If you do not open an account, consider pre-paying to prevent delays. (Good Choice)

If you chose not to pre-pay, make sure you call and check on your samples to prevent delays in getting your reports out to you. (This process adds additional steps that are really not needed. In addition, your results could be a challenge to access in the future, because they are not associated with a specific account) (Possibility of Delays Increase)

Remember Turnaround time is 2-3 days from the time the sample is received at Midwest Laboratories till you get your results. 

Finally, if you have questions, speak to one of our client services representatives (402-334-7770) or post your question online.  

Growing A Large Pumpkin

Large PumpkinCheck out this story about growing pumpkins.

Darren Christensen shared with me on Facebook that with a soil test, plant test and lots of daily watering and care it is possible to grow an enormous pumpkin.

It’s a great story of dedication that is worth watching! Check it out and see if growing large pumpkins might be something you may want to pursue in the future.

This is a great story of watching your produce closely and providing the proper nutrient care. These type of stories should be promoted more in our community.

Just watching this video really shows the hardwork and dedication toward a goal. Pumpkin growers everywhere across the country are displaying and selling their harvest. The pumpkin business is growing more each year as a

photo credit: hz536n/George Thomas via photopin cc

target=”_blank”>USDA Report, 2013


Am I Done Working on my Lawn

Winterize LawnLast night, I was asked the following question, “Why are you watering the lawn? You haven’t watered for weeks.”

The answer here is that I am working on some final lawn tasks before the cold temperatures set in. In this part of the country, Omaha, Nebraska we are experiencing some warm, dry temperatures for the next 10 days. Highs in the 70’s and lows in the 40’s.

The better question is “How should I winterize my lawn?”

Check out this article, “Winterizing your home lawn so it is healthy next spring” by Sarah Browning, October 19, 2014.  It looks at the areas of Mowing, Fertilizing and Raking

Here are a few summary notes from this article that stuck with me.

photo credit: ConanTheLibrarian via photopin cc


In the past, recommendations were common to raise and lower mower height settings during the growing season, however research has shown very little benefit from this practice, compared to mowing at a slightly taller setting throughout the entire season…Don’t lower your mowing height…


Though “winterizer” fertilizers available in retail outlets often have high levels of potassium and maybe phosphorus, there is no benefit from additional potassium or phosphorus unless soil tests indicate a deficiency

Make sure you get a soil test before buying some expensive winterizer fertilizers to see if there really is a need.


A thick layer of leaves left in place can become wet, matted and smother the underlying grass, making conditions more conducive for snow mold development.

Snow mold is a real issue and should be managed by removing or better yet mowing leaves.


Watch the weather and plan accordingly. Water every so often to keep the ground moist. The first snow is not far away. Begin planning for next spring.

photo credit: ConanTheLibrarian via photopin cc


Kids and Protein Shakes

Protein ShakesProtein analysis is becoming a staple in the food business.

Many food producers, small and national want to know exactly how much protein content is in their product. In addition, pet food producers and smaller scale pet treat producers are also testing their products for protein content.

Today, many people feel they need to supplement their current food intake with specialized protein powders and drinks. However, if you take a close look at the foods you are eating you will see that many foods contain  a good portion of  protein. Check out this list in this article, “Top 10 Foods Highest in Protein” Foods like Turkey Breast, Fish, Cheese, Beans, Eggs, Yogurt and Nuts contain solid levels of protein.

This news story looks at the issue of protein from a young kids perspective and ties this topic together. Watch this short piece and help your kids realize where they can find more protein in their food supply.

Valley News Live – KVLY/KXJB – Fargo/Grand Forks

photo credit: I Believe I Can Fry via photopin cc

Last Minute Stalk Nitrate Testing

Stalk Nitrate Test

Stalk Nitrate Test at Midwest Laboratories, Omaha, NE

It appears 2014 will go down as one of the highest level of stalk nitrate samples received. Growers are taking one last look at their crops to determine how much nitrogen made it into the stalk.


If you are still thinking about stalk nitrate testing, you might want to pull a sample in the next 10 days before it gets too cold. Below is a video which looks at the process of collecting a sample.

Picture Source:

Can Bacteria Live Longer on Airplanes?

Bacteria on AirplanesCheck out this study done by the University of Auburn

For the study, a team of microbiologists and engineers at Auburn University in Alabama simulated travel in the friendly skies. They obtained various parts of an aircraft cabin — seats, upholstery and leather, metal items such as the toilet flusher button, armrests, window shades — in order to test the life of various types of bacteria and see how long it could survive on those surfaces. Source: Deadly germs can live in aircraft cabins for a week

Arm rests and seat back pockets – some places you want to avoid as much as possible.

All together researchers tested six different types of bacteria. They found MRSA could last for up to 168 hours on the back pocket of an airplane chair, while E. coli survived on average for about 96 hours on the material from the armrest. Experts say the dry air found in airplanes means they’re an especially hospitable place for bacteria to live. Source: Deadly germs can live in aircraft cabins for a week

The dry air in the cabin contributes to the extended life of bacteria on airplanes. Make sure you always use proper hygeine and try limit contact with your hands and face.

photo credit: via photopin cc

Mycotoxins Explained

MycotoxinsWith the wet fall weather hampering harvesting efforts around the country, mycotoxins could be a major concern to growers.

The following video looks at the various types of mycotoxins.

If you need a mycotoxin analysis make sure you know what type of analysis you are receiving. Many laboratories use the strip test methodology which acts as a screen and can determine the presence of mycotoxin. If you need a more thorough analysis consider the following analysis at Midwest Laboratories.


Aflatoxin (B1, B2, G1, G2)
DON (Vomitoxin)
Fumonisin (B1, B2, B3)
Ochratoxin A
T2 Toxin
Full Screen

Normal turnaround time is 5 days. Rush analysis is available. If you have questions, please contact a representative at Midwest Laboratories. 402-334-7770 | info(at)

Picture Source: Ear Rots and Mycotoxins –

Lawn and Garden Soil Explained

Lawn Garden TestCheck out this video and consider adding some amendments to your soil this fall.

The video does a great job of explaining the benefits of adding organic amendments to your soil. The video will also give you some options to consider with respect to your soil testing results.  The video only lasts a couple of minutes and it really has some good explanations.


If you are considering soil testing, look at going through a laboratory. With a lab analysis, you will have a good understanding of the makeup of your soil. In addition to soil pH, you will be able to identify areas like potassium, phosphorus and organic matter.

If you are looking at testing the soil in your lawn or garden, consider purchasing a soil sampling kit online at the Midwest Labs eStore. If you have other questions, talk to a Midwest Laboratories Client Service Representative today. (402) 334 – 7770

photo credit: Peter Kurdulija via photopin cc

Best Practices for Keeping Phosphorus on Your Field

Fall Phosphorus ApplicationI really enjoyed reading this article, Tips on best management practices to keep P on the field- October 8, 2014

The article makes some points with respect to analysis and application of Phosphorus.

Avoid overloading soils. Utilize current soil tests that have been performed within three years and follow Tri-State fertilizer recommendations. Where soil test levels are above 40 ppm Bray P1 or 58 ppm Mehlich III-ICP, do not apply additional phosphorus in the corn-soybean rotation. These levels require no additional fertilizer, according to the recommendations. Fertilizing soils above these levels increases the risk of phosphorous in runoff and tile drainage. Source:  Tips on best management practices to keep P on the field- October 8, 2014

Strive to build soil quality. Soil condition is a mitigating factor. Increasing water infiltration by reducing compaction and improving soil structure will increase water retention, nutrient cycling, crop rooting capacity and crop yield. Drainage and soil pH provide a foundation for other practices such as cover crops, drainage, residue management, controlled traffic and soil amendments. Source: Tips on best management practices to keep P on the field- October 8, 2014

Finally, the article refers to the  The Ohio Phosphorus Risk Index, Remember the issues earlier this year with Lake Erie and Algae Blooms. Phosphorus run-off was one of the contributors to this particular issue. Take some time and learn how the State of Ohio is addressing this issue. Read more in this article,  “News: On-Field Ohio: Rewriting Ohio’s Phosphorus Risk Index to Keep Nutrients and Water on Fields” April 24, 2014

In addition, check out this video which provides an explanation of the program.

Another example of how soil testing results can help determine your next actions when it comes to fall fertilizer applications. Learn more on the Midwest Laboratories Website. Soil Testing Turnaround time is 3 days once the sample is received. An account can be setup in minutes. This account allows you access to free sampling supplies like soil bags. Shipping labels, soil probes and boxes are also available to clients.

Can I Just Drop Off Samples at the Laboratory?

Midwest LabsMany people in the local Omaha area may not know this, but a number of people each day drop off samples at the front door of Midwest Laboratories. Just this week, I have seen samples like the following:

  • water samples from city public water systems
  • feed samples
  • stalk nitrate samples
  • soil samples
  • diesel samples
  • manure samples
  • food samples
  • well water samples
  • oil samples
  • livestock water samples
  • domestic water samples

The point here is that consumers and businesses are welcome to stop by Midwest Laboratories, fill-out sample paperwork and drop off their samples for analysis.

In addition, people have the opportunity to also pick up supplies. Typically in the fall, people often pick up supplies in the area of soil sampling:

  • soil bags
  • boxes
  • soil probes
  • return shipping labels
  • lawn and garden kits

Other popular supplies that people pickup at Midwest Laboratories in the fall include the following:

  • water coolers
  • water bottles
  • nematode kits
  • manure bottles and coolers

The point here is that Midwest Laboratories is opened 7.30am  – 5.30pm, Monday through Friday and people are welcome to stop and drop off samples or pickup sample supplies.

If you have questions about services or supplies, please contact a client services representative at Midwest Laboratories, 402-334-7770