Water testing is a proactive way to screen for problems caused by:

  • Contaminated wells

  • Nitrates

  • Hard water

  • Excessive iron

  • Excessive sodium


Packages & Prices


Livestock suitability

Calf suitability

*Domestic suitability

Minerals only













Nitrate-N, pH, S, Ca, Mg, Cu, Fe, Zn, Mn, Cl, P, K, Hardness, TDS

Nitrate-N, pH, S, Ca, Mg, Fe, Zn, Na, Mn, Cl, P, K, Hardness, TDS

Coliform/E.coli, Nitrate-N, pH, Ca, Mg, Cu, Fe, Zn, Na, Mn, Cl, P, K, Hardness

S, Ca, Mg, Cu, Fe, Zn, Na, Mn, P, K, Hardness


Presence/absence only

Most probable number

*Please note on these packages:
1) Only available through direct delivery to: 217 East Main, Arcadia, WI 54612 or 919 Lincoln Ave, Sauk Rapids, MN 56379
2) Must arrive at the laboratory within 48 hours of collection for results to be valid
3) Samples arriving on Fridays will be charged an additional $25 for weekend analysis

Sampling Instructions

Coliform and E.coli require sterile collection

1. Obtain a sterilized water kit from Dairyland Laboratories, Inc. 

2. Locate a sample tap near the well, preferably not a swing, leaky, or outside faucet. (The purpose of coliform and E. coli testing is to determine if the well is contaminated.)

3. Remove any screens or aerators.

4. Sterilize metal taps by heating them with a flame. Caution: If the faucet is plastic or plastic coated, or has plastic internal parts, use a different faucet such as the sampling tap (located inside the building at the water point of entry).

5. Let the water run for several minutes. Do not change the flow rate, shut the faucet off, or wipe-wash the faucet.

6. Remove the cap from the sample bottle without touching the rim of the bottle or inside of cap.

7. Fill the bottle to the top leaving 1/4 to 1/2-inch space. Avoid splashing.

8. Keep the sample cold and return to Dairyland Laboratories, Inc.

Minerals and Nitrates

Minerals and nitrates do not require sterile collection.  Sampling can be done from the point of consumption and nearly any plastic bottle will work for collection and delivery to Dairyland Laboratories, Inc.



Parameter Averagea Normal rangea
(90% range)
Potentially concernable concentrations for cattleb
pH 7.3 6.4-8.2  
parts per million (ppm, or mg/liter)
Nitrates 4.6 0.2-16 see additional nitrate interpretation
Calcium 87.6 0.6-289  
Magnesium 33.8 0.2-87  
Potassium 8.2 0.6-27  
Copper 0.14 0.01-0.11 1.3
Iron 0.76 0.003-3.48 2.0
Zinc 0.2 0.001-0.27 5.0-25.0
Sodium 97.3 2.8-428 300
Manganese 0.15 0.001-0.67 0.5
Chloride 70.6 4-235 300
Sulfate 254 3.1-1,294 1,000
Total dissolved solids (TDS) 1,250 230-3,262  
Total hardness 357 2.4-1,097  
Total coliform/100 ml 872 1.1-2,420  

aData source: Dairyland Laboratories Inc. 
bNASEM, 2021



pH <5.5 or > 8.5
parts per million (ppm)
TDS 1,000
Hardness 10.5
Calcium 2.0
Chloride 25.00
Copper 0.1
Iron 0.3
Magnesium 125
Manganese 0.05
Nitrate-N 100
Phosphorus 0.7
Potassium 20
Sodium 200

*Interpretations developed by Bob Riesberg, Land O'Lakes in collaboration with:
Dr. Don Sockett, University of Wisconsin
Dr. Dave Beede, Michigan State University
Dr. Timothy Johnson, Purdue University
Dr. Tom Earleywine, Land O'Lakes



TDS Additional Interpretation

TDS (ppm) Comment
<1,000 Safe and should pose no health problems.
1,000-2,999 Generally safe but may cause mild, temporary diarrhea in animals not accustomed to the water.
3,000-4,999  Water may be refused when first offered to animals or cause temporary diarrhea. Animal performance may be less than optimum because water intake is not maximized.
5,000-6,999 Avoid these waters as a source of drinking water, may result in reductions in milk production. 
>7,000 These waters should not be fed to cattle. Health problems and/or poor production will result.
*NASEM 2021


Nitrate Additional Interpretation

Nitrate-N mg/L Guidelines
0-10 Safe for consumption by cattle.
10-20 Generally safe when offered with balanced diets with low nitrate feeds
20-40 May be harmful if consumed for long periods of time
>40-100 Cattle at risk of possible death
>100 Unsafe. Possible death; do not use as water source
*NASEM 2021  


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