I just saw another thread on hay testing that recommended Equi-Analytical Labs, so I looked at their website which seems pretty user friendly.
I noticed that they recommend a hay probe, which they sell for $120. Are there cheaper alternatives?
I am just a boarder, not the BO, but am concerned about the quality of some late 1st cutting that they just got in but cannot convince the BO of the merits of testing. So I am on my own and would like to make this as economical as possible.
I have heard that some extension offices will loan you a hay probe, but I'm not sure about that.
I'm sure a drill type probe is a lot easier, but my push probe is fine enough for as little as I use it. I duct tape a large ziplock back over the end to collect the sample. Takes some muscle to probe 15 bales, it does get tiring, but takes less than 10 minutes so its not exactly agony. Its very easy to use, sturdy, and seems to have stayed nicely sharp. I've had mine about 3 or 4 years now, I generally sample about 3-5 loads per year.
Where in MD are you? Powl's Feed will do it for it you if you take them a sample they are right over the MD/ PA line
My local Southern States co-op will also pull samples for customers, but in order to get an accurate sample for testing, core samples should be taken from 12-15 bales (assuming they're all from the same crop). That means loading up the truck and hauling them over to the co-op.
If one has a local ag extension office, chances are they may have a hay probe to loan out. Mine does, and it never costs a thing except for me writing my name and ph. # on a piece of paper.