Greenhouse and Nursery Media Analysis Proficiency Testing

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  • 1 Colorado State Univ., Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Fort Collins, CO, 80523-1173
  • | 2 Colorado State Univ., Soil and Crop Sciences, Fort Collins, CO, 80523

Greenhouse and nursery managers rely on testing laboratories with the expectations of accuracy and consistency. The Greenhouse and Nursery Media Analysis Proficiency (GNMAP) Testing program was initiated to provide laboratories servicing greenhouses and nurseries with inter-laboratory quality control. The GNMAP program operational guidelines are based on those outlined under ISO 9000, ISO/IEC Guide 43 and Draft ISO/IEC Guide 24, which describe the requirements for proficiency testing. Nine laboratories enrolled in the program in 2003 and submitted results for root zone media and fertilizer solutions. Data analysis provided the minimum, maximum and median values; median absolute deviation (MAD); overall reproducibility (Rd); individual reported lab values; repeatability (Rp) of lab value (CV for the individual lab); and mean lab value reported. The Rd was calculated from the median of all lab Rp values and is a measure of intra-lab variance. A measure of inter-lab variance was determined by calculating the relative median deviations (RMD = MAD/Median × 100). For one of the media distributed, results for the saturated media extract included median pH values from 4.3 to 6.9 with MAD values averaging 0.1 across the three samples. The electrical conductivity (EC) median values ranged from 0.36 to 4.57 dS/m with RMD averaging 31% of the median. The main variability between laboratories for the majority of the macro cations was closely aligned with measured EC. Cations (K, CA and Mg) concentrations ranged from 17 to 502 mg/L with Ca typically in the greatest concentration. Cation inter-lab precision, based on the RMD ranged from 9-32% across the three substrate samples. The greatest RMD was 31.8% for Ca and 9.2% for K. The Rd values for the cations averaged 5%.

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