What Farmers Need To Know About Fertilizers before Using Them on Crops
A fertilizer is a material which people apply to the soil and plant tissues in order to supply essential nutrients that help in terms of plant growth. Fertilizers have the ability to enhance growth in plants. When fertilizers are used, they act in such a way that the effectiveness of soil aeration & water retention capabilities are enhanced.
When it comes to fertilizers there are three important macronutrients namely Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium. There are also three micronutrients – Magnesium, Calcium and Sulfur. The nutrients that are needed for growing healthy plants are classified based on the elements, but they are not as used as fertilizers. Rather, compounds consisting of these elements are the base for fertilizers. The macronutrients are obtained in huge quantities and they are present in plant tissues up to six percent.
Crops are made of 4 main elements: oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon. Hydrogen, oxygen and carbon are available as carbon dioxide and water. Nitrogen or N is a very important fertilizer and it is present in DNA, proteins and other important components. Phosphate is needed for ATP and DNA production, certain lipids and energy carriers in cells.
Different Crops and Soils Need Different Types of Fertilizers
Fertilizers are categorized in several ways. They are categorized based on whether they offer one nutrient or multiple nutrients. A fertilizer that offers only one nutrient is called a straight fertilizer, whereas the one which provides more than one nutrient is called as multinutrient fertilizers, which are very common. These multinutrient fertilizers contain 2 or more nutrient components. When it comes to multinutrient fertilizers, people can find a lot of varieties out of which potassium and nitrogen fertilizers are the most common ones.
NPK fertilizer is a 3 compound fertilizer offering Nitrogen or N, Phosphorous or P and Potassium or K. The NPK rating system describes the amount of N, P and K in fertilizers. The NPK rating would consist of 3 numbers separated with dashes for describing the content of the fertilizer. The three numbers represent the percentage of N, P and K respectively. Agriculture relies to a great extent on NPK fertilizers. People may wonder as to what makes these fertilizers and how they work.
As stated above, NPK fertilizers consist of N, P and K. These most important elements have great significance in terms of plant nutrition and growth. Among the several benefits, N is known for its effectiveness in helping plants grow quickly. It also accelerates the seed as well as fruit production, whilst bettering the forage crops and leaf quality. It is a chlorophyll component and chlorophyll gives the green color to plants.
Phosphorous is a major player when it comes to photosynthesis and has great significance helping plants grow. It supports in the process of forming oils, starches and sugars. Other than these, P aids the conversion of solar into chemical energy. Moreover, P supports and promotes root growth and blooming respectively. The 3rd element K, yet a strong player helps greatly in photosynthesis, improving the quality of fruits, protein building and disease reduction. On the whole, all these 3 elements together are important for the plants health, growth and nutrition.
MOP or Muriate of Potash is widely called potassium chloride or potash. It is the largest form of K as fertilizers, and it is the 3rd largest plant nutrient after N and P. it has been in use for several centuries. Before producing K on a large scale from mineral salts in Germany in the nineteenth century, it was obtained by leaching the burned wood ashes. These days, major K reserves are mined from sea water deposits. K for fertilizers contain between sixty to sixty two percent potassium oxides. Also, most K deposits have a blend of several minerals, but most commonly potassium chloride and sodium chloride. With the ever-increasing global population, K is important for ensuring the yield and quality of crops. The largest K consumers are USA, China, Brazil and India. About ninety percent of K is used for fertilizer applications, where crops need K for generating better yields and protection against diseases. Muriate of Potash or potassium chloride fertilizer is mostly used in combination with N and/or P in multinutrient fertilizers.
Crops Growth Healthy and Strong With K Fertilizers
MOP fertilizer can be used in turf areas and it is particularly meant for maximum K uptake of plants in a short time. However, the soil has to be tested before application for optimal results. When this fertilizer is used on actively growing grass, people can expect the best results. In order to avoid pick-up, people should refrain from mowing immediately after applying potassium chloride fertilizer. For best outcomes, people can blow or sweep the K fertilizer off painted and walkway surfaces following the application for avoiding discoloration.
MPO fertilizers are designed for use as potassium supplements for correcting deficiencies in soil or part of nutritional programs. This fertilizer can produce sturdy stems, colorful bloom and high yields. It has a higher amount of potassium content than many other types of fertilizers. It also dissolves readily. Moreover, this is the only form of K which is used for pasture production. It blends with other fertilizers and is very rarely used a direct fertilizer. It replaces lost K when silage or hay is removed from farming systems.
MOP is mostly used for cropping and pastoral farming. It can be applied whenever needed; however, split applications can give constant supply of nutrients for soils. MOP has a high salt index dissolved in the soil. The salt concentration will be higher when compared to other types of fertilizers. Hence, proper care has to be exercised for minimizing the germination injury risks, especially if application rates are high in dry soil conditions. Actual rates of spreading may vary depending on the type of farm, climate, crop type, productivity and soil type. Also, actual timing and rate of application will vary based on turf, weather and soil conditions. Generally, one application per year is enough. Soil tests can let people know if additional application is required. Fifty pounds of 0-0-62 fertilizer should cover about twenty eight thousand square feet at an application rate of 1 lb of K per one thousand sq feet.
What potassium does to plants?
Apart from KCl, potassium sulfate fertilizer is another main type of fertilizer. SOP or Sulfate of Potash is crystalline, white salt which is soluble in water. The major resources for sulfate of potash are found in the combination with mineral sulfates like calcium, magnesium and sodium. Combining kieserite and potassium chloride is another way of obtaining SOP. It is most commonly manufactured from KCl via synthetic reactions with sulfur dioxide or sulfuric acid. SOP contains between fifty to fifty two of potassium oxide and approximately eighteen percent of sulfur which is a required element for plant growth. Moreover, SOP does not have any chlorides in it, which may be harmful to crops such as fruits, vegetables and tobacco. The usage of SOP is fertilizers, mostly in multinutrient fertilizers like NPKs.
Potassium nitrate fertilizers are great sources of K and N, 2 macronutrients required for crop growth and nutrition. Since healthy growth needs huge amounts of N and K, such elements should be added to soils for achieving healthy growth and that is exactly where potassium nitrate fertilizer comes into the picture. Some of the roles of K in plant growth can include:
The roles of Potassium (K) in the plant:
- Sugars and starch formation
- Regulates leaf stomata opening
- Maintains turgor
- Enzymatic reaction activation
- Cell walls building
As a result of potassium nitrate’s roles in plant systems, K enhances yield quality and plant durability.
- Improved winter hardiness
- Enhanced drought resistance
- Greater disease resistance
- Better yield quality
- Longer shelf life
Liquid N Gives People the Flexibility & Uniformity In Terms Of Spreading On Fields
The N in this fertilizer enables uptake & improves K absorption by crops. Some of the main advantages of NK fertilizers can include solubility in water, one hundred percent macronutrients, free fromm detrimental elements, chloride and sodium, borad-range compatibility with agrochemicals and other fertilizers and non-volatility. The presence of N in this fertilizer facilitates plants for minimizing the chloride uptake. In simple words, this multinutrient fertilizer is a necessity for crops that are sensitive to chloride.
A free flowing N source is suitable for broad applications wither post crop germination or pre sowing. Liquid nitrogen fertilizers provide a great level of N option to gardeners and farmers who want flexibility and application windows. There are several reasons for farmers to use liquid N fertilizers on their crops and some of them can include ease of storage and handling, uniformity and flexibility in distributing, completely water soluble for fast nutrient uptake and decreased reliability on spreading contractors. While it is now common to see farmers using liquid fertilizers as carriers for various chemicals, and in most cases this becomes successful, a lot of fertilizers have started manufacturing liquid fertilizers along with other types of fertilizers. However, the usage of fertilizers depends on various factors, such as sold type, crop type and most importantly the willingness of people. Anyone who requires more information about such fertilizers can browse the internet.