As technology continues to advance, today’s golf course superintendent is busier than ever before. AgSource is here to help. For 60 years, AgSource Laboratories has been committed to supporting the turf industry with professional, independent laboratory analysis.
“We focus on results, helping drive improvement by transforming meaningful data into solutions,” says Steve Frack, Vice President, Laboratory Operations for AgSource Laboratories. “You can trust the numbers, which means you can be confident in the fertilizer applications and soil amendments you’re implementing to better turf quality.”
With clients in all 50 states and over 20 countries, AgSource has delivered results for countless courses. Samples travel from countries as far away as Malaysia and Indonesia, or as close as Iowa and Nebraska. And not all samples tested are traditional soil samples.
“The most unique sample we’ve ever tested was a ground-up coral,” recalls Frack, “It was used to mix with the soil and was a brilliant metallic green color.” Over the years, other samples have come from famous baseball stadiums, including Angel Stadium, in Anaheim, California, and 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. – The White House in Washington D.C.
First in Turf
AgSource Laboratories has a rich history in turf testing. The Lincoln lab was one of the first accredited soil testing labs in the country and an industry leader in digital reporting. Frack joined the laboratory staff in 1981. At that time, the lab was called Harris Laboratories.
“Lew Harris was a great guy. We enjoyed working with him and being a part of the company that bore his name,” notes Frack.
In 1996, Harris Laboratories was purchased by MDS Inc., a Canadian health and life sciences company. Ten years later, the agronomy and turf testing business was sold to AgSource. AgSource Laboratories remains dedicated to delivering quality, timely analysis, and valuable reports to help improve clients’ turf management.
Today, the AgSource Laboratories team includes a full-time laboratory staff, a dedicated turf agronomist, customer service staff and a crew that receives and processes samples. The entire team is truly ‘all-in’ when it comes to ensuring accurate results. During the busy fall season, this can mean coming in to grind soil samples at 3 a.m. and staying late to see that every lab test is complete.
“From the moment we get the sample off the FedEx or UPS truck, we take special care,” adds Frack. Soil, plant tissue and water analyses is completed and reported in just three working days or less. Results and reports are available online or emailed. AgSource offers easy-to-read reports that build off the pioneering computerized reports from the 1970s, including customization for clients and multi-colored graphing.
“It’s great to be able to build on the past reports and keep making them better,” said Kevin Klink, Senior Manager, Laboratory Operations for AgSource Laboratories. “We get a lot of positive feedback on our Plant Tissue Summary report, which is nice to hear.”
The AgSource Plant Tissue Summary report, launched in 2013, helps course managers monitor nutrient uptake throughout the season and depicts nutrient level trends with colorful line graphs. It’s a simple side-by-side comparison to track performance from spring to fall.
Additionally, AgSource recently introduced the Soil Health Assessment for turf. Golf course greens get heavy use and are often stressed. Making sure you have good microbial activity in the soil results in healthier plants. That’s where soil health comes in.
“Carbon content and salinity content – those are the big changes in soil testing that allow you to better understand the soil’s stability and the potential of meeting plant needs,” notes Klink. “It’s all about balancing nutrient availability and maintaining soil and plant health.”
There are three components of soil health: chemical, biological and physical. Each has an influence on turf management. Chemical components are what traditional soil tests tell you. Adjustments to your fertilizer program are based on this information.
Biological components look at the ‘bugs’ in the soil. Microorganisms have many functions in the soil, including breaking down grass clippings sooner to avoid the creation of a thatch layer. They also help water and nutrients move throughout the soil and increase water retention.
Physical properties tell you about the actual soil type and structure. For example, soil with more clay content should be managed differently than a mostly sandy soil. Soil type not only varies across the country but also throughout your course, from Hole 1 to Hole 18.
New Logo, Same Great Service
AgSource Laboratories is pleased to introduce a new logo. Officially launched in September, reports, submission forms and other materials now reflect the new look.
“It is an exciting time to be part of AgSource,” adds Frack. “This new brand and logo reflect our enthusiasm and focus on connecting our visual identity with who we are today and our vision for the future. Our goal is to help move our customers forward, making improvements based on the data we collect one test at a time.”
See you in San Antonio!
Stop by and meet the AgSource Laboratories staff at booth #9089 during the 2018 Golf Industry Show in San Antonio, Texas, February 7-8. Talk to one of our turf team members, see example reports, pick-up technical bulletins or just ask your agronomy-related turf questions.
Can’t make the show? Email the lab or visit us on Facebook at AgSource Turf to see what’s going on in the Lincoln lab! For more information, visit www.agsourcelaboratories.com, and click on the Turf tab.
AgSource is a leader in agricultural and environmental laboratory testing and information management services. From six locations, AgSource Laboratories provides trusted analysis and measurable results to clients in the United States and across the globe.