Nitrate Testing

Nitrate testing is a valuable resource for Teton County producers to utilize.  By using diphenylamine in a solution of sulfuric acid, we can perform a qualitative test on forages.  This test is for nitrates in the forages.  By watching for color, we can tell if nitrates are present.  If we find them present, producers can send a sample off to a lab for a qualitative test.  The threshold for livestock begins at 0.15% Nitrate Nitrogen.  This test is quick and simple to perform. 

When sampling, please get a representative sample.  If you have 400 bales of hay, don’t pull from one bale, but take a stalk or two from 30 bales all over the stack.  If you need to send samples in for testing, we recommend a one gallon Ziplock bag.  A full bag will be required by the lab.  If you’d like more information about nitrate testing, or would like to become certified to test your own, please contact us at the Teton County Extension office.

Nitrate Toxicity of Montana Forages