There have been a great number of methods developed to test soils and determine quality. While some of these tests are available for farmers to perform on-site, most farmers send soil samples out to analysis laboratories. As awareness of, and adherence to these practices increases, the demand for soil analyses in contract laboratories also increases. Therefore, there is a need for equipment that can automate soil analyses to meet growing demands. By automating soil analysis, contract laboratories can analyze more samples in less time, allowing faster reporting to farmers.
Terralink Horticulture is a Canadian agricultural supply company that offers environmental testing for water and soil samples. It has recently seen a significant increase in requests for soil pH and Conductivity analysis. Terralink invested in a MANTECH MT-30 Soil Analysis System to automate their testing for pH and Conductivity in agricultural soils, allowing them to meet increasing demands and allow laboratory technicians to focus on other priority analyses. In addition to these tests, Terralink performs a Mehlich III Extraction on their samples which requires a pH measurement before and after addition of an extracting solution. The MANTECH system automates the addition of all reagents, measurements from probes, stirring for specified times, and performs dynamic rinsing in between each sample analysis.
The implementation of the MANTECH system has transformed the laboratory’s operations from a full day of labor-intensive sample preparation and measurement to a simple set-up of the samples on the MANTECH system. Once the laboratory technician loads the autosampler tray and clicks Start, they are free to perform the rest of their daily duties while the MT-30 system performs unattended sample analysis. To reduce the environmental impact of the system, it uses low-cost, recyclable plastic cups that can be found in many local supermarkets. The implementation of the MANTECH Soil Analysis system has not only allowed the laboratory to easily meet their growing demands, but also given them the confidence to continue expanding their operations and finding new customers.
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