Fertilizer is any material of either natural or synthetic origin that is applied to soil or to plant tissues to supply plant nutrients.
Some facts about Fertilizer:
Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K) are three main macro nutrients in a fertilizer with occasional addition of supplements like rock dust.
Fertilizers can be applied in a variety of ways using large agricultural equipment or hand tool methods through dry or pelletized or liquid application processes.
Natural or organic sources such as compost, animal manure, harvested minerals, crop rotations, human manure and byproducts of human nature industries can be used to produce fertilizer.
Fertilizers are used to enhance the growth of plants.
The growth of plants can be enhanced by either using additives that provide nutrients or adding fertilizers that helps to enhance the effectiveness of the soil by modifying its water retention and aeration.
Fertilizers are classified in many ways. They are classified as 'straight fertilizers', 'Multinutrient fertilizers', or 'complex fertilizers' when they are classified according to whether they provide a single nutrient or provide two or more nutrients.
Fertilizers can also be classified as inorganic and organic. Organic fertilizers are usually recycled plant or animal derived materials. Carbon containing materials except ureas are excluded in Inorganic fertilizers.
Inorganic fertilizers are also called as synthetic fertilizers as some chemical treatments are required to manufacture them.
Ammonia or its solutions is the main nitrogen-based straight fertilizer, where as superphosphates are the main straight phosphate fertilizers.
Multinutrient fertilizers consist of two or more nutrient components. Nitrogen and phosphorus are the two major component of fertilizers that are provided to the plants which are called NP fertilizers
Monoammonium phosphate (MAP) and Diammonium phosphate (DAP) are the main NP fertilizers.
NPK fertilizers are three component fertilizers that provides nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Compound and blends are two types of NPK fertilizers. Cemically bound ingredients are present in compound NPK fertilizers, where as physical mixtures of single nutrient components are there in blended NPK fertilizers.
Nitrogen fertilizers are made from ammonia (NH3) and are manufactured by the Haber-Bosch process.
Phosphate fertilizers are extracted from phosphate rock. Potassium fertilizers are made from Potash which is a mixture of potassium minerals.
Steam granulation, chemical granulation, compaction and bulk blending are four major process for manufacturing NPK fertilizers.
Fertilizers are commonly used for enhanching the growth of all kind of crops. The application rates depends on the soil fertility and according to the particular crop.
Fertilizers can be applied to crops both in solid and liquid form. However, most of the fertilizers are applied in solid form.
Urea, diammonium phosphate and potassium chloride are the most widely used solid inorganic fertilizers.
Anhydrous ammonia, aqueous solutions of ammonia, aqueous solutions of ammonium nitrate or urea are some of the liquid fertilizers which are available as concentrated products. Thses may be diluted with water to form a concentrated liquid fertilizer.
Liquid fertilizer can have more rapid effect and easier coverage compared to solid fertilizers
Urea is very suitable for use in fertilizer solutions as it is is highly soluble in water.
Granules are preferred over prills for fertilizer use, because of their narrower particle size distribution, which is an advantage for mechanical application.
Urea is often stored in closed containers, because it absorbs moisture from the atmosphere.
Too much application of fertilizer can lead to fertilizer burn, resulting in damage or even death of the plan.
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