Agricultural Water Testing Services

Keeping a crop healthy and disease-free often depends on the quality and nutrients of the irrigation water, drainage water or nutrient solutions. The presence of pathogenic agents might affect an entire crop. Monitoring the quality of water is an ideal way to keep a crop disease-free.

The Agriculture and Food Laboratory offers a variety of  analyses including heavy metal detection, nutrient levels and pesticide residues. Using the Water DNA Scan with its rapid turn-around time, is very useful to determine fungal pathogens as well as the efficacy of a filtration system or a UV disinfection unit.  

Preferably, edible foliage plants and field crops are rinsed or washed after harvest. The amounts of contaminating agents in wash and rinse water greatly influence the shelf-life and quality of ready-to-sell crops. By keeping unwanted organisms below acceptable levels, industry and regulatory quality standards are more easily achieved.

The quality of water can be affected by many things. Receive testing today and use our diagnostic services and standard/custom analytical packages. 

Read below for service descriptions or contact us to learn how we can meet your testing needs.

Nutrient and Elemental Analysis

NOTE:  the following tests are not suitable for drinking water testing.  Methods are for surface and agricultural water samples.  

pH The measurement of acidity or alkalinity in solution as received.
E.C. Using the measurement of electrical conductivity to quantify the amount of dissolved salts in solution as received.
Phosphorus, dissolved Determination of the quantity of ortho-phosphorus (reactive phosphorus) in water samples. Phosphorus exists primarily as phosphates in natural waters or wastewaters. Colorimetric determination.
Ammonium-N Determination of ammonium-N in solution samples. Read on an ‘as received' basis. Colorimetric determination.
Nitrate-N Determination of dissolved nitrate + nitrite-N in solution samples. Read on an ‘as received' basis. Colorimetric determination.
Chloride Determination of dissolved chloride in solution samples. Read on an 'as received' basis. Colorimetric determination.
Dissolved Element Package Determination of dissolved boron, calcium, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, sodium, phosphorus, zinc and sulphur in solutions. ICP-OES determination.

Water Diagnostics


Tainted water can have a detrimental effect on the food safety aspects of a crop. We can readily detect water-borne bacteria including pathogens with SCC accredited culture test methods.


Re-circulated water and untreated water from ponds and reservoirs can introduce fungal (and fungal-like) pathogens into greenhouse systems and into other agricultural settings.

DNA Water Scan is an accurate and rapid test that is available for detection and identification of fungi. This test is offered in Canada exclusively by The University of Guelph, Agriculture & Food Laboratory (AFL) and is based on proven molecular technology protocols. The Water Scan, used for fungal pathogen identification in water, can also be used for pathogen detection in plant and soil samples and can accurately detect over 25 common fungal pathogens. Results are available in 4-5 business days.

Pesticide Residues

Water is analyzed to detect fungicides and insecticides in which the methods used involve single compound analysis as well as multi-compound, multi-class analysis and identification. To assist growers in showing due diligence, we can provide testing to insure that their products fall within the rules and regulations set forth in the Canadian Food and Drug Act.