Plant & Crop testing

Plant Testing for the Lifestyle Farmer

Plant materials can be tested for mineral nutrients or feed quality.

About this Testing

Why Test Plants

Plant material can be tested for mineral nutrients, feed quality or agrichemical residues. Our Agriculture Division performs plant nutrient and feed quality testing services.

Plant analysis is a valuable diagnostic and nutrient monitoring tool that should be used to complement soil analysis. A soil test shows what soil nutrients are available to the pasture or crop, while a plant test shows what the crop has actually taken up. In this way, plant tests provide a more reliable assessment of crop nutrient status.

Plant analysis can be used in two ways:

  1. routinely monitor nutrients to help sustain optimum levels and thus avoid nutritional disorders
  2. identify nutrient deficiencies, toxicities or imbalances. Low plant nutrients are often due to low soil nutrient levels, but this is not always the case.

The rate of uptake of nutrients by the plant can be influenced by:

  • rainfall and soil temperatures
  • soil structure, drainage and pH levels
  • interactions of mineral elements
  • the presence of disease or insect pests.


Interpretation criteria are specific to plant species, part of plant sampled and growth stage of the plant.

View Crop Guides for Plant Test Guidelines.



Fertiliser Recommendations

As an independent laboratory, we leave the fertiliser recommendations to competent advisor's who know the property and the farmer's objectives well. Your local Rural Supplies Store may be able to assist with fertiliser options and advice.

Taking a Sample

Appropriate sampling methods must be used for the results to be meaningful. Horticulture, pastoral farming, arable and organic growers have specific requirements for the types of samples taken and tests performed. Sampling instructions are available on a plant species basis in our Crop Guides.


How to Order a Test

Hill Laboratories suggests that you use a fertiliser advisor to oversee your soil and plant testing program. However, you can order a free Soil & Plant Test Kit (including sample bags, a courier bag, sampling instructions and a sample request form) from the laboratory. A free Feedstuff Test Kit can also be ordered.

Guides and Supporting Information

Crop Guides

For more comprehensive information such as nutrient function, deficiencies and toxicity symptoms and what tests to order, please see our Crop Guides.

Technical Notes


Contact Us

Freephone 0508 HILL LAB (44 555 22) or email