Agricultural material testing
The Government Laboratory provides a testing service for a range of agricultural materials in support of the agriculture sector.
Compositional analysis of soils for agricultural and horticultural purposes is routinely undertaken, including the determination of soil acidity and liming requirement. Hitherto done on behalf of farmers mainly through the Isle of Man Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture, it continues to be available direct to farmers.
Other testing of soils can include looking for harmful constituents such as lead, or to identify parasites such as potato eelworm. In addition we can assess other parameters such as suspected deficiency in minerals and essential elements, or the characteristic trace metal composition of the soil.
Composted organic material is regularly checked on behalf of some producers, measuring a range of parameters for assessment against recognised qualilty standards.
Another routine area of work is testing of animal blood samples in support of livestock farmers, through the Isle of Man Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture, monitoring for any evidence of Brucella bacteria and Maedi-Visna virus infection.
Other agricultural materials that may be analysed from time to time include local limestone to assess its soil conditioning properties, and the composition of hydroponic solutions for intensive greenhouse crop producers.
Fertilisers can be checked for compliance with their labelling and declartions, as can animal feeding stuffs - typically this work may be undertaken for Trading Standards officials checking the veracity of claims or authenticity (genuineness) of materials.