Sample Shipping Tips to Prevent Delays

The Fall of 2020 has been the most conducive harvest seasons for soil sampling the Great Lakes region has experienced in several years. When harvest is efficient, fall soil sampling is efficient, resulting in sample volumes that can challenge our laboratory’s daily maximum capacity. While our goal is to keep a consistent turn-time for all samples, it is not always possible if challenges arise in the process. Following these tips can help reduce delays in the delivery of your results.  

  1. Use good quality new or lightly used, heavy duty boxes for shipping samples. The #1 cause of samples being lost is damaged boxes in shipping. Reusing Amazon boxes is discouraged because the cardboard is often too thin to withstand the weight of soil samples.
  2. Packing tape is cheaper than resampling. Be sure to use plenty of good quality packing tape. Make sure to use multiple strips of tape on all box seams including the vertical seam that joins the box together. This is the most damaged part on a box causing loss of samples. If you are reusing boxes be sure to reinforce all previously taped seams and joints.
  3. Full boxes with organized rows of samples hold up best during shipping. Loosely packed boxes stand the greatest chance of being crushed during shipping. Loosely packed samples also stand the greatest risk of losing sticker labels or having handwritten information worn off. Samples that are organized improve the efficiency of the lab process.
  4. If possible, pack entire fields in the same box. If this is not possible please indicate on the outside of the boxes by numbering or labeling with the actual field name. It is fine to have multiple fields in one box but try to avoid spreading multiple fields across multiple boxes. Doing this prevents delaying sample results for multiple fields in the event that one box is lost or delayed in shipping.
  5. Include completed submittal forms that indicate your account number, grower, farm, field, all sample ID’s, and the desired analysis package. Your samples can be processed more efficiently if the submittal forms are in the same box as the samples they represent.
  6. If you are using soil sampling software that allows for electronic submission, be sure to have your information synced, or uploaded prior to the samples being delivered to the lab.

If you have any questions regarding shipping supplies, or sample packaging, please contact your ALGL representative.

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