How do I know nematodes are an issue in my field?

SCN – Soybean Cyst Nematode analysis is something to really consider with respect to managing your soil.

Greg Tylka of the Iowa State University Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology said one of the main reasons this happened is because of the area soils. “North Central Iowa is the sweet spot for SCN,” Tylka said at a farm field day in Kanawha. “The reason for that is because nematodes love the high PH in soils.”  Source: How to manage soybean cyst nematode, September 17, 2014

Two ways are available to scout for SCN and neither involves “driving in an air conditioned pickup at 70 miles per hour,” GregTylka quipped.Farmers can dig roots and look for little white females in late June, July and August. SCN females are small, about the size of a period at the end of a sentence. Soil samples can be pulled after harvest. Using a soil probe, pull 15 to 20 soil cores per sampling, mix them in a bucket and send them to a private soil-testing laboratory that does SCN testing or to ISU’s Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic. Source: Pretty easy to keep low SCN low, difficult to bring high levels down, September 19, 2014

The most accurate way of determining whether SCN is present in a field is to have the soil tested in a nematology lab for the presence of SCN eggs. Sampling efficiency and laboratory cyst extraction are not 100 percent effective, however, and a significant number of SCN eggs need to be present in the soil for lab detection. Source Diagnosing and managing SCN, September 10, 2014

Nematode Analysis

Check out our website for price information regarding the variety of nematode analysis offered at Midwest Laboratories

The following video gives and excellent overview of how to collect a soil sample for SCN Analysis.

Collecting a proper sample also plays a critical role in determining a proper population count for nematodes.

If you have questions, contact a representative at Midwest Laboratories today. 402-334-7770

Ethanol Production in Brazil

Ethanol | BrazilIs this report a sign of some big changes with respect to ethanol production in Brazil.

Check out more in this story,  Brazil Study Shows 30 Ethanol Mills Near Bankruptcy, Valor Says By Vanessa Dezem,  Sep 29, 2014 

Only 25 percent of Brazil’s flex-fuel cars were filled up with ethanol last year, down from 82 percent in 2009, as the fuel has become relatively more expensive than gasoline when performance is taken into account, research firm Datagro said in a report in December.

Currently, ethanol production is being prioritized over sugar production. As a result, many sugar plants are closing because of decreasing production.

That low global sugar prices aren’t allowing production-cost recovery is forcing the beleaguered Brazilian sugar sector to be trimmed. According to Brazilian sugarcane sector organisation UNICA, 44 factories have hut operations since 2009. Source: Making ethanol from cane juice to trim sugar surplus, Kunal Bose September 29, 2014

Picture Source

Is corn oil extraction changing the quality of DDGs?

corn oilCheck out this article, (Oil Extraction Method Affects Feeding Value of Corn for Poultry | September 24, 2014)   it makes some great points regarding the advancements of corn oil extraction which might be having adverse effects on the quality of DDGs (Dried Distillers Grains).

“They are doing some further extraction to get more of the corn oil out of distillers grains,” says Marcia Shannon, University of Missouri Extension swine specialist. “So we’re getting a little bit different product out of those ethanol plants.”

Ms Shannon says the swine and poultry industries need to be aware of the source, extraction methods and crude fat level of their distillers grains.

There are three main types of distillers grains: traditional, with more than 10 per cent crude fat; low-fat, with five to nine per cent crude fat; and de-oiled, with less than five per cent crude fat.

Ms Shannon says that low-fat distillers grains will probably have lower energy content. Producers should get a sample analysed or talk to their source to find out what kind of extraction methods are being used at the plant.

Source:   Oil Extraction Method Affects Feeding Value of Corn for Poultry | September 24, 2014

Picture Source:

Fall Soil Sampling and Testing

Free Soil BagsAre you looking for a laboratory for your soil testing needs?

Today, precision agriculture, (precision ag) is the hot topic. Many growers and companies are looking at the value of soil testing data and applying it to the way they manage their soil nutrients.

There are many questions that people have this time of year and hopefully this article will answer some of those questions.

Where can I get free soil bags?

ANSWER: If you have an account with Midwest Laboratories, you are able to order free soil bags online or through email or a simple phone call. This is one of the benefits to having an account. An account with Midwest Laboratories can be done in a few steps. Complete the form, email the form to info(at) and you can have your account number in hand during regular business hours.

Where can I purchase soil probes?

ANSWER: You can purchase soil probes on the Midwest Laboratories eStore with a credit card or with your Midwest Laboratories account by simply calling the main number, (402)334-7770 and you will receive an invoice for your purchase.

Can I talk to an agronomist or field person about precision ag: (mapping, which tests to run, what do the soil test numbers mean, how  can I get data into my program)?

ANSWER: Yes – Midwest Laboratories has two agronomists on staff and six field representatives to help answer questions regarding soil testing and precision ag topics.  Check out this resource page for the names of people in your area more information.

How long does it take to have soil test results available?

ANSWER: Midwest Laboratories provides 2-3 day turnaround on soil sample analysis once the samples arrive at Midwest Laboratories.

What soil testing packages are available?

ANSWER: Check out the following soil analysis with price information on the Midwest Laboratories Soil Testing Page.

Is “Soil Health” testing an option?

ANSWER: Yes – Learn more in this document, Midwest Laboratories Soil Health Assessment. Turnaround time is 3-5 days for this complete, in-depth analysis.

I still have questions about soil sampling and soil testing, can someone help?

ANSWER: If the answer to your question is not listed above, please let our client service team know so we can get you the answers you are looking for.  We are people who want to answer your questions.

Please call 402-334-7770 and ask to talk to a client service representative.


Please email your question to – This email address is seen by over 15 people and someone will answer your question.


Submit your question online on our Midwest Laboratories Contact Us Page. You will receive a response back, same day,  during normal business hours.

I Have a Question About Testing Where Do I Go

Answering Testing QuestionsEveryday, clients have questions about laboratory tests for a variety of reasons.

Here are some examples that we see quite a bit each week. A number of these may seem really basic and I have provided answers to all of them. Obviously, if you want the best experience, you should call and talk to a representative at Midwest Laboratories. Check out these questions and see that you have options to help you manage your time in getting your questions answered.

Soil  Testing

Can Midwest Laboratories add zinc to my soil testing package?

What do the numbers on a soil report mean?
ANSWER: Check out Interpretation of Soil Analysis Brochure

How much will it cost me to test four samples?
ANSWER: Look at Soil Testing Fees

Does Midwest Laboratories offer a discount for a large number of samples for testing?
ANSWER: Talk to one of the Client Service / Field Staff

Food Testing

Can  Midwest Laboratories run the same method I use at another laboratory?
ANSWER: Send us the analysis method to see if Midwest Laboratories can run your analysis method.

Feed Testing

Can Midwest Laboratories setup my account so I can submit paperwork already pre-filled with contact information and list of tests run on a regular basis?
ANSWER: Yes – Consider setting up a project which allows you this flexibility

Environmental Testing

Does Midwest Laboratories provide sampling supplies for sludges, wastewater and drinking water testing?
ANSWER: Yes – Talk to a representative today and setup supplies to be shipped to you on a regular basis: weekly, monthly or quarterly.

Options Available to Submit Your Questions

Today, questions are answered by phone, 402-334-7770 and email info(at) and online through the Contact Us Page.

Answering questions is a vital part of our business and we take this topic very seriously. We have a staff of 15 people that answer questions on a regular basis. Know that when a question is submitted to Midwest Laboratories, the question is reviewed and assigned to the best resource available to answer that particular question. We feel this is the best way to address client questions.

At Midwest Laboratories we are continually reviewing processes to help make them more efficient and easier for clients. If you are looking for answers, consider contacting Midwest Laboratories. You will receive immediate feedback during regular, day-time hours.

Which Water Test Should I Select?

How to Select a Water TestThe best response to this question is the following. It really comes down to what you need the analysis for. Many people contact Midwest Laboratories for their water testing needs. Most of the time, we address water issues regarding a consumer’s home or their livestock. These issues could range from just peace of mind in knowing the water source is safe or it could be with respect to an issue of kids getting sick or livestock being sick.

Below are a list of some of the most popular water testing packages. Midwest Laboratories also conducts testing for public drinking water supplies office buildings, churches, dental offices, restaurants and other businesses. Check out a list of watering packages on the main Midwest Laboratories Website.

In addition, we can

Are you looking to sell your home?

The FHA Loan is your best selection.

W5: FHA LOAN*       $90.00

Total Coliform
Fecal Coliform

Are you looking for a water test for your livestock to make sure it is a safe water source?

Livestock Suitability Analysis on the Midwest Laboratories eStore


Nitrate Nitrogen
Total Dissolved Solids (by calculation)


Are you looking at a water test to see if your current drinking water supply at your house is safe? Consider this domestic suitability analysis.  If you need supplies, contact the laboratory, (402-334-7770) or order online to expedite the process.

Check it out on  the Midwest Laboratories eStore 

W3: WATER QUALITY*     $60.00

Total Coliform
Total Hardness
Total Dissolved Solids (by calculation)
Nitrate Nitrogen

If you are considering water testing, also make sure you know how to collect a responsible water sample. The following document, water sample submittal instructions will help you with respect to collecting a sample. If you have any questions, please contact a representative from Midwest Laboratories.

photo credit: slightly everything via photopin

When and How to Harvest a Pumpkin

Harvesting PumpkinsThis time of the year, (September to October) pumpkins are the crop that people begin to look at and purchase.

In addition pumpkin patches are opening up this week, (example: Vala’s Pumpkin – Gretna, NE and will continue to be open till the end of October. Is it too early to harvest a pumpkin? What should you look for when you select any pumpkin for purchase.

Check out this video made by the “Wisconsin Vegetable Grower” and learn what to look for with respect to knowing when the pumpkin is ready for harvest. Second, listen for the tips in properly harvesting the pumpkin to insure it stays fresh for weeks.

What other steps would you add with respect to harvesting pumpkins?

photo credit: jjjj56cp via photopin cc

Getting answers to laboratory testing questions

lab testingI decided to write about this issue because some people were telling me that they were finding it hard to find a particular laboratory to work with. It was taking a long time to answer analysis questions, setup an account and get proper directions for sending a sample.

When businesses or companies are looking for a laboratory for a specific test, typically they go online and perform a search. If I was put in the same position, I would probably do the same thing. Some items to consider when looking for a laboratory. Make sure you are getting up-to-date answers to your questions. The information you receive should be current, September 2014 information.

In addition, you should look at the laboratory website and make sure you can easily find a person’s name, contact information and a company address. All of this information will save you time and a lot of frustration.

Finally, I would call the laboratory. You should be able to reach someone right away during normal business hours. This shows that the company cares about servicing the needs of clients right away.

At Midwest Laboratories, client service is at the forefront of service. To serve you better, a staff of associates is in place to help answer your questions. These people are categorized based on the people they serve so they have a strong knowledge of the industries that they serve.

Agriculture – Stacie, Lyndsay, Steffanie, Ashley, John M
Environmental – Heather, Rob, John M
Feed/ Pet Foods – Sue Ann
Foods – Sue Ann, Erin
Fuels – Heather
IT/Website- Aaron

These people serve as the front-line for client support. When you call the 402-334–7770, you can be sure that your call will go to one of these people and will be answered right away.

Your time is limited and we want to be able to maximize that time and give you the information you need in an efficient, timely manner.

Do you have the Midwest Labs App?

Midwest Labs Mobile AppEarlier this year we announced the roll-out of the Midwest Laboratories App for

Android Phones and Tablets and Apple iPhone/iPad devices respectively.

Last week, Apple made their big announcement about a new iPhone Version and iWatch. Android continued to promote its reliable technology. This week, I want to bring attention to the VALUE that the Midwest Labs App can bring you.

The Midwest Labs App uses a clients’ current account number and password and allows the user to see the following information:

Follow your samples – (Received / Expected Completion) 

Pull up samples from the past 30 days. 

See  report number with .pdf report information

Questions – Call or email directly from app

….All of these actions can now be done while you are on the go

photo credit: GONZALO BAEZA via photopin cc