Analysis suites for fruit crops

Fruit - top fruit, stone fruit and soft fruit

Analysis gives valuable information required to manage fruit production in an efficient, cost-effective and sustainable way.

The fruit grower must consider a system in balance if he or she is to understand where all the nutrients are going and to do this a full system of testing is recommended. Successful fruit growers regularly monitor their crops nutrition status in order to proactively manage their crops nutrition to identify potential nutrient deficiencies before any symptoms are visible and crop damage has occurred. But where to begin? We look at the full system of testing and explain what is available, what is needed and why.

Fruit analysis packages are tailored to provide the best information for  crop management. Analysis reports provide interpretations of the results compared to benchmark levels and gives recommendations, where appropriate, to address any limitations.


Hannah Shirt
Hannah Shirt
Business Development Manager - Analytical Services

Ireland and United Kingdom
FACTS Qualified Advisor (FQA)

What to analyse?

Most of the work, and cost, of analysis, is in the sampling and in the transport of the sample to the laboratory, once the sample has arrived it makes sense to get as much information as possible.

Soil analysis

Soil analysis provides fundamental knowledge on the chemical, physical and biological status of a soil. This information is used to manage the soil and to develop an effective Nutrient Management Plan that optimises potato productivity.

Broad-spectrum extra + Solvita

This package provides a full picture of the soil’s overall health; physical, chemical and biological, and therefore the potential for producing high yielding, high quality crops.
Parameters included: P, K, Ca, Mg, S, B, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Zn, pH, CEC, Organic Matter, Sand %, Silt %, Clay % and soil texture classification, plus the Solvita CO2 respiration test, microbial mass, C:N ratio, a Potential Mineralisable Nitrogen estimation and a soil health score.

Other soil analyses

There is also a wide range of other soil analyses available, more information on these can be found here.

Leaf and tissue analysis

Leaf and tissue analysis is the only way to really understand the nutrient levels within the crop and to respond to potential deficiencies before symptoms are visible and crop damage has already occured.

Broad-spectrum analysis (BSL)

This package gives the nutrient levels for all twelve plant nutrients.
Nutrients included: N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, B, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Zn

Fruit/Fruitlet Analysis (SA1, SA2)

Fruit/Fruitlet analysis of apples (and some other fruits) is a useful indicator to the risk of physiological disorders that become apparent during fruit storage.

Analysis of mature fruit is generally held to be a reasonable predictor of storage disorders. Early season fruitlet analysis is used to earlier in the growing season to predict whether post-harvest storage disorders may occur and allow for proactive crop management.
Nutrients included: N, P, K Ca, Mg, B, Zn

Other tissue analyses

There are also a wide range of other leaf and tissue analyses available, more information on these can be found here.

Compost Analysis

Compost (FC)

Nutrients included: P, K, Mg, pH, Ca, Mn, B, Cu, Fe, Zn, S, Nitrate-N, Ammonium-N, EC, Na, Cl, HCO3

Water/Nutrient Analysis

Water/Nutrient Solution (SA3)

The monitoring of both irrigation water and nutrient feed solutions is critical to ensure optimal plant growth. This analysis package covers all key plant nutrients and water quality parameters.
Parameters included: Ca, K, Mg, P, S, B, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Na, Zn, Nitrate-N, Ammonium-N, HCO3, pH, EC, Cl

Heavy metal

Heavy metal contamination (SA8)

The contamination of produce with heavy metals may pose a risk to human and/or animal health. This analysis package provides a check for any possible levels of contamination.
Nutrients included: Pb, Ni, As, Cd, Cr, Hg, Cu, Zn

Potato analyses

Sampling procedures

Soil analysis

As a general rule, fields up to 10 Ha (25 Acres) in area can be sampled as one unit, providing each field is uniform e.g. with regard to soil type, past cropping, lime and fertiliser usage. Fields created by hedge removal are unlikely to be uniform.

Individual samples, whether of soil, leaves or fruit, should be taken along a carefully well planned route across the field. The ‘W-pattern’ sampling path is adaptable to most shapes of field.

Start away from the gate, and avoid all areas which are not representative of the field as a whole such as head-lands, hedges, ditches, footpaths, fences, telegraph poles, sites of bonfires, fertiliser, lime or manure dumps.

Large fields, and fields which are not uniform, should be subdivided and each part sampled separately. Use a clean auger, hand trowel or spade (preferably chromium plated or of stainless steel). Carry a plastic bucket.

We recommend at least 20 sampling guidelines samples, taken at regular intervals along the sampling path. Do not skimp on this number, even in small fields or areas.

At each of the sampling sites, take a sample to a depth of 15 cm (6”) for arable or 7.5 cm (3”) for grass, and place in a bucket. Thoroughly mix all samples, avoiding spillage.

Tissue analysis

Select a sampling path as described previously. At each sampling site take several leaves at the same stage of development*  Avoid bruising or tearing the leaves, and do not include leaves showing pest, disease or other damage. Avoid dusty or soil contaminated plants. Mix the leaves thoroughly, and take approximately 200 g or two handfuls. If the leaves are wet, blot them dry with clean absorbent material.

When sampling potatoes, standard practice is to sample the youngest mature compound leaf (leaflet and petiole) early in the season from 30 plants. This corresponds to the fourth or fifth leaf from the top of the plant.

In mid-season, the 30 – 40 petioles are collected from the first fully expanded new leaf. The petioles should be bulked together from a range of locations in any field.

Take care when sampling for copper, zinc and manganese to avoid sampling leaves that have recently been sprayed with fungicides as they may be formulated with these elements and so give misleading analysis results.

Fruitlet and fruitlet analysis

Sample fruitlets as early as possible, but not so early as to be too small. Fruitlets should ideally be between 30-50g in weight, though this will vary with variety. Select 20 trees along the sampling path, as for leaf analysis. Take one fruitlet from each of the north, south, east and west sides, to give 4 fruitlets per tree. Mix the fruitlets thoroughly, and take a subsample of 30-50 at random.

Samples of fruit should be taken within a fortnight before harvest. Parts of orchards which are known to produce fruit of different storage quality should be sampled separately. Select 20 trees along the sampling path. Take one undamaged average-sized apple from each tree. If the first apple is taken from the north side, take one from the next tree on the east, then from the south and so on. Send all 20 apples.

Water and nutrient solution analysis

Take representative samples, with care to avoid any contamination. Send a sub-sample of 250ml using a clean bottle.

Sampling equipment

If you need any sampling equipment or packaging please complete our contact form with details of what is required.

Fruit agronomy advice

Analysis enquiry form
Analysis enquiry form

Interested in analysis ?

If you have a question for our analytical team, if you need sampling supplies or advice on how to take samples please use this form to contact the laboratory and someone will get back to you directly.

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