Why Water Testing Matters for Farmers

10 June 2016
 Categories: , Blog


Farmers and others in the agriculture industry always strive to cultivate products as high-quality as possible. Fortunately, technology has advanced greatly so that every detail can be monitored by farmers to increase productivity. One major factor in the raising of livestock and the cultivation of plants is water quality. As a result, water testing has become a necessary evaluation method to make sure crops and livestock aren't affected negatively. Here are some reasons why farmers should consider using water testing labs.

Testing for Lead

One possible hazard to an agricultural water supply is the presence of lead. A high concentration of lead in the water supply can cause plants to become unable to perform photosynthesis, which causes growth to stop. If livestock consume leadened water, they are more at-risk for miscarriages and milk poisoning. Farmers should hire water testing labs to see if actions, such as soil washing, must be taken to prevent the ill effects that come with lead-affected water.

Arsenic Detection

Due to increased pollution, more sources of groundwater have been affected by human-produced arsenic. While the earth produces a small amount of organic arsenic, the confluence of this acid from both sources can have seriously adverse effects on agriculture. In addition to reproductive damage and stunted development, arsenic-laced water greatly increases the risk of death for plants and livestock. Any water testing lab that a farmer hires should be equipped to detect arsenic, especially now that the occurrence of arsenic in groundwater supplies is increasing. Hiring a water testing lab that detects arsenic levels is a great way to avoid any long-lasting harm on crops and animal life.

Checking the pH

Water testing is not only useful for the detection of dangerous chemicals that cause irreversible damage, but rather it also helps to detect metals and other factors that may be limiting a crop's growth potential. For example, water testing labs examine the water supply's pH level, which defines its acidity. Plants grow best in mildly acidic soil, around a pH value of 5.5. If the water's pH level is found to be below 4 or above 8, this could end up killing the plant. What is interesting is that, although plants survive in pH levels between 7 and 8, this does limit the plant's growth potential. Armed with the results of water testing, farmers can then take concrete action toward improving the acidic environment of the crops and therefore increasing productivity.

Other chemicals that are commonly looked for during water testing include ammonium nitrogen, chloride, magnesium, iron, manganese, sodium, copper and sulfate. All of these chemicals can be harmful to the health of plant and animal life if present in unnatural amounts. To have a healthy farm and a resulting healthy agricultural business, farmers should consider water testing labs a method that can improve their agricultural production.