Skip to main content

Validation of Rapid In-Field Testing to Measure Forage Nitrate Concentration


The Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production (TACLP) has been validating rapid on-farm forage nitrate tests to assist cattle producers in managing feed quality. An initial project conducted in 2021 to 2022 focused on evaluating the accuracy of commercially available test kits from Horiba and NECi in quantifying nitrate levels. Key findings showed promise for the practicality of these rapid tests, but also revealed some discrepancies warranting further investigation through expanded field sampling and comparison to standardized lab analyses.

TACLP is continuing rapid nitrate testing through an expanded follow-up study from 2023 to 2025. This second project focuses on the Horiba nitrate meter and involves industry collaborations with Union Forage and Blue Rock Animal Nutrition to facilitate widespread forage sampling across diverse regions in Alberta. It also involves the use of two accredited analytical labs to independently quantify nitrate levels in the samples, allowing investigation into potential biases between lab methodologies. Additionally, comprehensive best management practices (BMPs) for nitrate testing will be developed that integrate rapid on-farm methods with traditional lab analyses. The project team will also focus on translating the research into accessible producer resources and training to encourage broad adoption of on-farm nitrate testing. This study will help producers implement rapid nitrate analysis to safeguard cattle health and productivity.

Funders/Partners: RDAR, Blue Rock Animal Nutrition, and Union Forage.

2021-2022 Project Overview: Assessing On-Farm Rapid Testing Kits

Instructional Videos

2021 - 2022 Study

Validation of Rapid In-Field Testing to Measure Forage Nitrate Concentration

  • Environmental stress and land management appear to have a significant effect on the level of nitrate in forages.
  • This study illustrates that rapid on-farm nitrate tests could assist Alberta producers in adequately managing their forage sources.

View Fact Sheet

Explore Research Projects