We bring all of our forage quality samples back to the lab to analyze for a number of different things related to protein content. Before we do any analyses, we first need to oven dry and grind each sample into a uniform powder. Why is this necessary? If samples are left undried, they will quickly mold and ruin any analyses – all that hard work collecting the samples, gone. Samples need to be ground in order to homogenize the tissue. For some of our analyses, such as stable isotopes, we are working with very small sample sizes (an amount about the size of a grain of rice). We need to make sure that whatever amount of sample we remove for analysis is representative of the entire plant, rather than just getting a bit of leaf tissue or stem tissue, for example.
Take a look at what we are doing: