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Agronomic Services — Waste/Compost Analysis

Kristin A. Hicks, Ph.D., Section Chief
(919) 664-1603
Don Edralin, Ph.D. Agronomist
Minnesota Department of Agriculture 2021 
		        Certified Manure Testing Program.      2023 Manure Analysis Proficiency Program logo      NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources Division of Water Quality logo.
Laboratory Certifications

Waste analysis helps growers make responsible decisions about the use of farm, municipal and industrial wastes and by-products as fertilizer materials for crop production. Predictions of first-crop nutrient availability are provided according to application method (e.g., surface broadcasting, soil incorporation, injection or irrigation). Laboratory analyses for total Kjeldahl nitrogen, total phosphorus, copper and zinc are certified by the state's Division of Water Quality for compliance with the environmental regulations specified in N.C. Senate Bill 1217.

Waste analysis can also be used to determine the stability and quality of composted materials or to guide the mixing of raw materials for optimal composting. In addition to the standard measurements included on the Waste Analysis Report, a compost analysis includes carbon, carbon-nitrogen ratio, pH and soluble salts (electrical conductivity).

Standard analysis includes: nitrogen †, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, zinc, manganese, copper, boron, sodium and aluminum.

† For liquid waste samples, nitrogen is measured as Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN) rather than Total Nitrogen.

Electrical conductivity, dry matter %, carbon (for C:N ratio) and/or pH are automatically included in the Standard Analysis for many sample types. All four are available upon request for any waste sample at no added cost. Please contact the lab if you would like information about the tests automatically included for your particular material.

Standard fee per sample:

  • NC* growers $8
  • NC* researchers $12
  • Non-NC growers or researchers $25

*Samples qualify for the in-state rate if they originated in North Carolina. Research samples require an annual research agreement prior to submission. All research samples receive a 10% analysis recheck for quality control at no added cost.

Extra tests available at $2 each:

  • Molybdenum (Mo)

Extra tests available at $10 each:

  • Nitrogen breakout: NO3-N; NH4-N
  • Calcium Carbonate Equivalent (%)

Extra tests available at $20 each:

  • Heavy metals: arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, nickel, selenium
Waste Analysis Reports
and Explanatory Information

Report Search (PALS)
Sample Turnaround Times
Understanding the Waste Report
Waste Analysis (descriptive brochure)
How to Calibrate a Litter Spreader
Waste and Compost Analysis Guide

Waste Sample Analysis Methodology NCDA&CS Waste & Compost Analysis Methods
Sampling for Waste Analysis Waste Sample Submission Form (Grower) updated!
Waste Sample Submission Form (Researchers)
NCDA Sample ID Spreadsheet
Waste Sampling Quick Guide
Dairy Waste Sampling Guidelines
Sampling for Waste Analysis
Composting Makes $ense
Sample Containers Sample containers are not provided by NCDA&CS. For liquid waste, submit 12–16 oz of a representative waste sample in a plastic (not glass) bottle. Used beverage containers with the labels removed work great! Be sure to rinse the container prior to sampe collection; do not use soap. For solid waste, submit 1–2 quarts of a representative sample in a sealed plastic bag.
Waste Sample Summary Information: 2003–2012

Number of Samples by Waste Type and Year
Number of Samples by County and Year

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Last Update May 5, 2020


NCDA&CS Agronomic Services Division, Colleen M. Hudak-Wise, Ph.D., Director
Mailing Address: 1040 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1040
Physical Address: 4300 Reedy Creek Road, Raleigh NC 27607-6465
Phone: (919) 664-1600; FAX: (919) 733-2837

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