Forage Nitrate QuikTest
Many NDSU Extension offices have access to a Nitrate QuikTest, which is a screening tool to assess whether nitrate is in standing forage. Extension agents who have been certified can conduct the test in a field or office setting. Producers should provide a representative sample of at least 20 stems by clipping them to ground level while traveling in a zigzag pattern across the field.
The Nitrate QuikTest is not designed to evaluate nitrate content in harvested forages. The best testing strategy for forages that have been cut and baled is to use a bale probe to collect core samples and submit them to a laboratory for analysis.
If nitrates are present in the sample, producers should delay grazing or harvesting for several days and then re-test. Samples also can be submitted to a laboratory for quantitative analysis to further assist with management decisions.
For more information about nitrate toxicity, contact your local NDSU Extension agent or check out “Nitrate Poisoning of Livestock.”