The Australasian Soil and Plant Analysis Council Inc (ASPAC) is an organisation that supports continuing improvement in laboratory performance, and also believes consumers need to be aware that laboratories do not all perform to the same, impeccable standard. When a farmer, extension officer or researcher sends soil and plant samples to a laboratory, how can they be sure the results are reliable? Analytical testing is like any other product - the quality can range from very good to the opposite extreme.

The following few simple questions can help ensure a wise and rewarding investment. These questions assume the client (eg. farmer, extension officer, researcher) is certain of the method or methods to be used.

ASPAC operates a soil and plant tissue Inter-Laboratory Proficiency Programme (ILPP). The soil ILPP consists of 3 rounds with 4 soil samples in each round; the plant tissue ILPP consists of 3 rounds with 4 plant tissue samples in each round.

Samples are analysed by participating laboratories throughout Australasia, SE Asia, and the South Pacific. Participation is open to members and to non-members (programme fees are discounted for ASPAC Corporate Members.)