Laboratories play a vital role in the monitoring and effectiveness of the agricultural value chain.

  • Resources like soil and water are evaluated. Precision agriculture and its accurate application of fertiliser, for example, depend on the soil tests.
  • Inputs like animal feed and fertiliser are analysed. Using tainted inputs like fertiliser can have a detrimental effect on a whole sector.
  • Tests and monitoring which happen in laboratories play a vital role in the country’s livestock industry and biosecurity.
  • Agricultural products, both in their primary and secondary form, are monitored to ensure quality and food safety.

A look at the company websites will give an indication of the services available.

National strategy and government contact

Associations involved

  • Agri-Laboratory Association of Southern Africa (AgriLASA) www.agrilasa.co.za Contact details of the various personnel are on the website.
  • South African Association of Veterinary Technologists (SAAVT) www.saavt.co.za
  • The South African Wine Laboratory Association (SAWLA) is a division of the South African Society for Enology and Viticulture (SASEV). Find information at www.sasev.org.
  • Find the International Dairy Federation’s Dairy Laboratories Database at www.idfdairylaboratories.org

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Is your laboratory struggling with Analytical Bias?

 Analytical (assay) bias results from differences in methods, techniques and calibrations and is an issue in all branches of analytical science (chemical, biological etc).

It is a property that can be measured by inter-laboratory testing and can be detected with a well-designed assay quality assurance programme using control samples, data quality objectives and control rules. These programmes measure assay results for accuracy and precision and assure the required analytical quality at a minimum cost.

AMIS has a wide range of matrix matched standards that can assist your laboratory in eliminating analytical bias. Our CRMs can help you as follows:

  • All our CRMs are matrix matched, so you can find a matrix that behaves similar to the samples that you analyse
  • All of our CRMs are certified using different analytical methods, so you can choose the method that works best for your lab.
  • Over and above these, AMIS offers Inter Laboratory Testing in partnership with AGRILASA. We run a fully confidential Proficiency Testing (PT) program that allows you to assess your laboratory’s performance against global peers and you will be provided with comprehensive reports that can be used to optimize your laboratory and improve your lab’s accuracy and precision.

Some additional benefits of AMIS CRMs:

  • Can assist with attaining or maintaining your ISO 17025 accreditation
  • Participation in PT schemes allows your laboratory to become more globally competitive

Find the AMIS page here.

Companies and other role players

Find a list of AgriLasa members at www.agrilasa.co.za.

 

Agricultural services

Many agricultural companies have their own laboratories e.g. De Heus (Pty) Ltd and Chemtech (Omnia).

Parastatals like the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) provide laboratory services. Find details on the “Research and development” page.

The Provincial Departments of Agriculture provide laboratory services e.g. find the Western Cape Department of Agriculture Analytical Services information under “Services and Programmes” at www.elsenburg.com. At Cedara, contact the Scientific Manager at 033 355 9450 or email les.thurtell [at] kzndard.gov.za. Contact details of the provinces are given on the “Agriculture in the Provinces” page.

 

Suppliers of equipment

 

Training and research

  • Universities have laboratories for training and research, and also offer services to companies.
  • Some of the role players [e.g. Southern African Grain Laboratory (SAGL) and Merieux NutriSciences] listed earlier in the chapter offer training.

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