Central Testing Laboratory Ltd.
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Jan 10, 2018

Arsenic in Feed & Food

Arsenic (As) is an element found naturally, and is mined from earth’s crust. Arsenic is toxic for humans. Arsenic was found to cause cancer, birth defects, diabetes and heart disease. Therefore, exposure through food and water should be controlled.

Arsenic has been used as a supplement in Swine, Turkeys and Chickens feed, in order to increase weight gain, feed efficiency and improved pigmentation. A compound of Arsenic called Roxarsone which used in antibiotic and anti-parasitic drugs, called Ionophore.

Poultry feed contains Arsenic make a big effect on the soil quality, air, food and water.

Arsenic is used commercially. Pesticides on crops contain Arsenic, wood products treated with Arsenical pesticides. Foods contaminated with high levels of Arsenic, such as; seafood, rice, water, juices, wine and poultry meat. Human consumption of these products with high concentrations of Arsenic is very risky.

Nowadays, many food distributors supply poultry raised without Arsenic, this has been promoted in medical facilities.

One of the methods to detect and quantify Arsenic is by Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS). This is an accurate method that is used at Central Testing Laboratory to measure Arsenic.

January 6, 2021 (adapted from Dec 22, 2017)

Selenium in Animal Feed

Selenium (Se) is an important antioxidant mineral in animal feed, and is known to contribute to the reproduction and immune systems.  In many cases, Selenium is deficient in animal feed. Testing feed for Selenium and making balanced supplementation is required.

Selenium deficiency can cause an animal’s weakness, heart failure, abortions and even death.  When animals consume more Selenium than needed, it causes toxic reactions (the window between deficiency and excess are very narrow).  Selenium concentrations should be often checked in Cattle, Sheep, Goats, Horses, Swine and Poultry.  Cattle, Swine and poultry should consume 0.3 – 3.0 ppm (mg per Kg) head/day, Sheep and Goats should consume up to 1ppm and Horses sufficient feed can have 0.1 ppm Se per head per day.

Injections are commonly used in Livestock to supplement Se.  While others make Salt-Mineral supplement mixes or Feed supplemented with Se to increase frequent intake.  Another common way is to add Se in fertilizer or increase Se concentration in Forages (an organic source of Se).

High concentrations of Selenium in Canadian soils are found in Southern Prairies and Ontario.  Selenium is naturally produced in mining regions.

Selenium is an essential nutrient and is used in commercial food.  Selenium content in food results of the soil where crops are produced and animals are raised. High level of Se is found in Brazil nuts, fresh fish and Shellfish, various Bread types, Grain and Cereals.

Our 3RS test package is for Selenium testing in feed.



Oct 18, 2017

Moisture levels in Hay Bales

Moisture is one of the most important factors in Hay spoilage and loss. The average moisture level in Hay is 15-20%.

Higher moisture levels cause heating or even fires in the bales. In wet hay, Compounds of insoluble Nitrogen are formed and Protein becomes unavailable to animals. Hay losses its quality, TDN (total digestible nutrients) decreases and loss of DM (dry matter).  To know the available Protein, producers can ask for ADIN (Acid Detergent Insoluble Nitrogen).  To determine ADIN, we must first test the ADF (acid detergent fiber) then use the residue and test the crude protein.  The report will show the available protein.  This is an important test, as Protein is often the first limiting nutrient, Heated feed can easily only have only 50% of the protein available to the animal.  So that great deal you got on heated feed, might not be that great.

Increased moisture also creates Mold formation. Spores of Mold (Asperigillus and Fusarium are commonly found) can lead to Mycotoxin development. Feeding animals with high levels of mold and mycotoxin can result in serious respiratory and health problems.  As a general rule, feed forages with less than 10,000 cfu/gr of mold, any higher should be done with extreme caution.  Every herd and breed can differ, some are more sensitive than others.  Also the type of mold is also very important to know.  Aspergillus and Mucor are types of mold that has shown to cause problems in pregnant cows.  Mold growth in hay can start to happen at 15% moisture.  Temperature can also play a role of how fast mold in wet hay can accumulate.   It is important to note that a mold test is a snap shot in time, and that it can easily change over time if the bail stays wet.

Low moisture in hay makes leaves fall off and loosing nutritional values.

The shape of the bale, its size and density (small square bales, large square bales and round hay bales), equipment used, storage conditions, climate and type of the hay are all important factors. These factors will  effect on Moisture levels in Hay bales.

Moisture can be determined by drying oven, or by NIR which has proven to be quite accurate and reliable.   Moisture for all forages at CTL goes through a 3 step process, first the sample gets dried at low heat overnight(moisture received), then it gets ground, then the ground sample gets analysed for a final moisture count either by oven or NIR (moisture analyzed).

Moisture content is very important in Hay Bales. It should be checked & controlled before harvesting, while harvesting and after the hay is baled!  This will ensure ultimate quality for your livestock.


Sep 19, 2017

Nitrates in Forages

High levels of Nitrate in Forages is known as causing toxicity problems to livestock. Different animals react differently to Nitrate concentrations.

Many factors effect on Nitrates level in plants; Nitrogen Fertilizer makes Nitrate available to plant by the soil, When plant is stressed by the weather (hot dry winds, hail, frost, cool & cloudy). When moisture gets higher in the bales, it causes Nitrates to be converted to Nitrites (which are ten times more toxic than Nitrates). Herbicides and plant diseases can cause high Nitrate levels as well.

We report Nitrate levels, at Central Testing Lab. Ltd. 0.0 to 1.0 (% of Nitrate in Forage):

Forage with less than 0.5- Safe level

Forage with 0.5-1.0- Caution (reduction in weight gain, lower milk production and other physical signs)
Forage with 1.0- Toxic level, high Nitrate feed (death occurs, abortions)

Almost all forages contain Nitrates. Knowing the Nitrates level and making balanced rations will reduce your potential problems in livestock operation.

We can help you with Nitrate Testing!

July 18, 2017

NDF & ADF in Nutrition

The levels of NDF & ADF are critical due to its impact on animals’ digestion, energy levels, performance and productivity.

NDF- Neutral Detergent Fibre – it is the structural component of the plant, therefore predicts intake. NDF values increase as the Forage matures. The higher NDF, less forage can be consumed by animals. You would want to choose forages with lower NDF. However, too low NDF level might cause stomach upsets.

ADF- Acid Detergent Fibre – The least digestible plant components by livestock. The lower ADF levels, the higher digestible energy.

Knowing forage quality will bring success to your Agricultural business!

June 14, 2017

Water Testing

When considering buying a house in rural areas, you’ll find that all wells and water systems are different. A water test is required for bacteria and water quality for Minerals & hardness is also recommended.

Once you’ve purchased your home, it’s important to perform regular testing on your well water. Seasonal or annual testing is a good idea.

We can walk you through the process by providing you the containers, instructions on collecting water sample and we have variety of packages to choose from.

May 4, 2017

Compost/ Manure Testing

Compost can be used as natural fertilizer for plant nutrient needs. It’s common for farmers to use manure as part of their compost.

There are two things to consider when applying application on Agriculture fields: Testing the compost, the manure or the combination of both, as well as testing the soil after was applied with application.

We’ve created packages that  provide you with the important elements to look for in a compost / manure sample.

Apr 10, 2017

Fertilizer Testing

Central Testing Laboratory has been offering fertilizer testing for many years.  More and more producers are checking the quality of the fertilizer they use.  It is an important and expensive input.

As weather, soil conditions and diseases change it is putting more stress on Agriculture production. In order to feed the growing population and  maintaining the soil fertility, farmers use fertilizers. Fertilizers mostly contain Nitrogen, Phosphorus & Potassium. They make plants healthy, stronger, assisting their development & growth. Before applying Fertilizer, it’s important to know the right timing and the proper concentration. Contact us for Fertilizer testing, we can analyze dry or liquid, also all types of manure and composts.

Mar 07, 2017

Gluten- Allergen Testing

What? Gluten is a mix of two proteins: Gliadin and Glutenin. Gluten is mostly found in Wheat, Barley and Rye.

Why? Gluten sensitivity affects individuals & causes digestive disorders.

We use R – Biopharm  testing Kit for Gluten allergen test on food products, such as: Soy, Millet, Quinoa, Buckwheat, Chocolate, Coffee, Cocoa, Huzelnut, Spices, Chestnut flour, Meat & Sausage

Feb 02, 2017

Falling Number

What? This test measures the Alpha-Amalyse level in grain samples (mostly Wheat, Rye and Barley). The enzyme breaks down Starches in the seed, while reducing grain’s quality. Wet harvest may cause high activity of Alpha- Amalyse which leads to poor quality of flour.

Why? The importance of testing falling number is mainly for baking and milling purposes. If grain does not meet certain level of falling number, the grain is discounted or rejected for milling and downgraded to Livestock feed.