An analysis is only as good as the sample submitted. Taking a good representative sample of your feed is the first and most critical step of the analysis process, yet it is often the step that is taken for granted. Following good sampling procedures will provide analytical results that reflect the true nutrient composition of your sample and will be useful in developing your feeding program. Poorly taken samples can result in costly decisions that lead to over or underfeeding.
The key to submitting a good sample is to collect several subsamples to form a composite. Remember, the one-pound sample that you submit for analysis is going to represent several tons of feed. Thus, you want to be sure that it represents a good cross-section of the feed, not just one bale.
For detailed instructions on taking a sample, refer to Collecting a Forage Sample.