Total Coliform in Water

Safe Drinking WaterWhat level of coliform is safe in drinking water?

I really like the Vermont Department of Health Coliform in Water Webpage. It takes this topic and give you straight-forward water.

(Any levels of coliform in water are cause for concern and action should be taken) – This is really what you need to know when it comes to determining if your water is safe to drink or not.

What type of action should a person take in trying to eliminate coliform in water?

If coliform bacteria is detected in your drinking water supply, visually inspect your system. Look for leaks, unmortered joints, loose caps, ripped vents screens, etc. Attempt to identify any known sources of bacterial contamination in the area surrounding the well. Repair any deficiencies noted.

Once repairs have been made, shock chlorinate your well in order to sanitize the system. (Refer to the handout, “Disinfection” for instructions.) Once the cholorine odor is gone, retest your water. If the bacterial problem continues, even after shock chlorinating several times, consider permanent treatment for your water supply. Treatment options include installing a chlorinator that injects precise amounts of chlorine into your home’s plumbing system when the water is being pumped to the home taps, or ultraviolet light treatment preceded by a filter when appropriate. Water treatment professionals who specialize in these treatment devices can be found in the yellow pages.

Source: Vermont Department of Health

If you have questions regarding your water, have it tested and determine if your water is first, safe to drink and secondly, potential issues which should be monitored or addressed.

For more information on water testing, check out the water analysis packages available at Midwest Laboratories.

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Harvest 2014 – Dealing With Issues

Harvest 2014Harvest time always occurs around October and November time frames, but each year presents its own issues depending upon the weather. It is interesting to see how growers deal with these conditions and always find a way to persevere.

Check out this news story regarding harvest in Illinois and dealing with the wet field conditions.

With record yields, harvest time could stretch well into the first part of November.

Check out this story out of Michigan regarding soybean harvest and how one grower is dealing with a variety of issues regarding harvest.

photo credit: UnitedSoybeanBoard via photopin cc

What is a Soil Health Test?

Midwest Labs Soil Health Test2014 is the year of the Soil Health Test

This test is getting a lot of publicity in 2014.

Organizations like the NCRS are promoting the value of soil health

As world population and food production demands rise, keeping our soil healthy and productive is of paramount importance. So much so that we believe improving the health of our Nation’s soil is one of the most important conservation endeavors of our time. Source USDA NRCS

At Midwest Laboratories we wanted a way to bring conventional soil testing and incorporate them with soil health principles. The Midwest Laboratories Soil Health Test is compromised of three components:

Component One – In-Depth Soil Analysis

The first piece of the soil health assessment is an in-depth soil analysis that will address the chemical aspects of the soil. This test package will include available phosphorus, exchangeable potassium, magnesium, calcium, and hydrogen, soil pH, cation exchange capacity, percent base saturation, organic matter, soluble salts, nitrate, and micronutrients.

Component Two – Solvita 1-day CO2C Test

The second component of the soil health assessment is the Solvita 1-day CO2C test. The Solvita soil respiration test measures the carbon dioxide being released by the soil microbes over a 24 hr period.

Component Three – Haney Test

The third component of the soil health assessment is commonly called the Haney test. This set of tests were developed by Rick Haney. The testing methods use green chemistry, in that water is used as a
natural extractant.

Based on these three components we are able to determine additional nitrogen that is available in your soil that may be credited towards your fertility program.

Source:  Memo 189 Soil Health – Midwest Laboratories, 2014


Check out the report and see how the analysis comes together to give you a better perspective of your soil health.

For more information, check out the brochure and download the Soil Health Brochure

This past week, Midwest Laboratories started to receive a large number of these types of soils. Turnaround time on this complete analysis is 5 days. If you have any questions, please take a minute and talk to one of our client services staff and learn more.

Phosphorus Application to Your Soil

midwest labs soil testingCheck out this video and look at one perspective of how much phosphorus is really needed to produce a higher yield crop.

The big takeaway I took from this video was, you can’t look at phosphorus by itself.

It is critical to look at its relationship to pH, organic matter and nitrogen. It takes a complete look at all nutrients. It starts with the soil test results and understanding how to use that report value with respect to its application.

A number of growers are sending in samples for soil testing, make sure you understand what the reported values mean and more important, how to interpret the information presented and apply it correctly in making future decisions.

Picture Source AGPhd Phosphorus #862 (Air Date 10/12/14)

Midwest Labs Mobile App

Midwest Laboratories released a mobile app for its clients in 2014.

The mobile app allows users the following functionality:

Midwest Labs Mobile App

Get Your Mobile App Today!

  • See when your samples were received at Midwest Laboratories
  • Know when you can expect to see your analysis report
  • View the last 30 days of samples submitted
  • View the .pdf report from your mobile device
  • Contact a Midwest Labs Representative with one click
  • Send an email directly from the app to a Midwest Labs Representative
  • The app is free for Midwest Labs Clients with an Account.

If you do not have a Midwest Labs Account, consider opening an account today to use this mobile functionality.

The app uses the current Midwest Labs Account and password configuration so the only additional setup is downloading the app to your mobile device.

Available for phones and tablet devices.

Midwest Labs App for Android Devices

Midwest Labs App for Apple Devices


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: