The introduction of fertilizer is important to plant development and bountiful harvest. To achieve good yield you need to learn the different ways farmers use fertilizers.
There are four ways to apply solid fertilizer. We have the broadcasting method and brand placement. Other techniques are the placement method, liquid and pellet application method.
Solid Fertilizer Application Method
- Pellet Application method
- Brand Placement
- Placement Method
- Broadcasting Methods
- Aerial Application
If you have a small amount of fertilizer you can use the placement method. The fertilizer is used in small quantities and placed in a specific area. The disadvantages are low fertility level of soil, poor correlation to seed and low development of root system.
The placement method has many advantages such has low incident of weed, low residue of fertilizer and better utilization of phosphates. The plants have better utilization of the fertilizer. It also offers minimum contact of fertilizer on the soil.
- Minimum contact with soil
- Better utilization of fertilizer
- Low residue
- Low weed development
- Small quantity used
- start vermicompost production
Plough Sole Placement Method
Farmers use the plough method in areas with dry, heavy clay or hard soil. The technique is common to local farmers with hand tools.
The plough sole placement method is when fertilizer is placed at bottom of plough continuously as they dig. As the furrow is turned the band is covered.
Deep Placement Method
Soil that have a reasonable amount of ammonia nitrogen are ideal candidates for deep placement. The technique offers good distribution of fertilizer to root zone. It also prevents loss of nutrients through run off. The person generally introduces ammonia nitrogen fertilizer in reduced areas of the field.
The localized placement method refers to application of fertilizer close to seed or plant
The seed and fertilizer are introduced at the same time during sowing. The fertilizer and seeds are placed in row at different depts.
The technique is ideal for cereal crops because of introduction of potassium and phosphate fertilizer to the soil. The only disadvantage is the presence of high concentration of soluble salts in the soil.
The placement of fertilizer in bands is band placement. Two methods of band placement are row placement and hill placement.
The method of row band placement involves application of bands of fertilizer on one or both sides of the row. When the fertilizer is placed in bands on one or both sides of the plant this method is referred to hill placement.
Farms with paddy or mud fields sometimes mix the fertilizer with the soil and deposit small pallets. Another method is placement of nitrogenous fertilizer in pellets between rows.
The broadcasting method focuses on Basel application and top dressing. To broadcast, spread the fertilizer uniformly over the field. The method is used for crops with dense stand. The farmer applies large volumes to permeate the plant root system.
Rock phosphate is a common type of fertilizer used in this way. The main purpose of broadcasting at sow is to uniformly spread it over the entire field.
Top dressing is a broadcasting method that requires the use of nitrogenous fertilizer to supply nitrogen to sown crops. Broadcasting has some negative effect such as poor use of nutrients to plants due to lateral distribution. This method also encourages weed growth and large quantities of fixed nitrogen in soil.
The farmer can choose to use liquid fertilizer instead of solid fertilizer. Application of liquid fertilizer include starter solution, foliar application. Others are those injected into the soil and aerial application.
Liquid Fertilizer Applications
- Foliar application
- Starter Solution
- Irrigation/Through application
- Aerial application
- Injection into soil
Different Liquid Applications
Liquid fertilizer is sometimes injected directly into the soil. The common types used are non-pressure and pressure. None-pressure is suitable for surface application.
Irrigation application refers to the use of water soluble fertilizer. Common used on this process is nitrogen rich fertilizer.
The spraying of liquid fertilizer is referred to as foliage application. The fertilizer generally contains magnesium, boron, copper, iron. The starter solutions are fed to sprouts or young plants.
Farmers may choose to use aerial application method if the field is huge or inaccessible or hilly. Other areas where area application is feasible are large sugarcane fields, grass land, hilly areas and forest areas. This method is not very effective however it covers a huge field easily.
Different Fertilizer uses Application and Environmental Effect
Fertilizers are used to enhance soil, provide aeration, water retention and growth of plant. The main micro-nutrients found in them are potassium, phosphorous and nitrogen. The nitrogen enhances leaf growth, potassium promotion of flowering, fruiting and stem growth.
Potassium increases root development, seed production, fruiting and flowering. Compounds containing nutrient elements are also used in the composition. They also have micro-nutrients like copper, molybdenum, manganese, boron and iron. Secondary nutrients are sulfur, magnesium and calcium.
There are different application methods based on the farmer. They use slow control release method, liquid, or solid method. Common solid inorganic fertilizer are potassium chloride, phosphate, urea based.
The solid ones are either powdered or granulated, solid globules or prills. Composition of liquid fertilizer are urea, ammonia nitrate aqueous solution, anhydrous ammonia. The liquid ones are usually diluted with water for better soil penetration rapid coverage.
The farmer also deploy a slow concentrate release technique that effectively reduces environmental impact. Methodology of slow release include reactive layer coating, diffused control release, thermoplastic, membrane coated.
It is possible to over-fertilize which will cause death of plant. Another important application technique is the direct application of foliar fertilizer to leaves.
- Control release method
- Liquid method
- Solid method
Environmental Effect of Fertilizer
Although fertilizes are essential for fast growth and health of plants they have some environmental effects. The use of synthetic fertilizer, NPK fertilizers cause major damage to soil composition. The effects include nitrate pollution, soil acidification and water pollution.
Others are accumulation of toxic elements in the soil. The run-off water from nitrogen or phosphorous fertilizer cause high concentration of nutrients that encourage algae and cyanobacteria growth.
Common contaminants are high level of metals like zinc, lead, cadmium, arsenic, nickel and chromium. More contaminants are fluoride or cadmium found in phosphate fertilizers.
More effects are decree concentrations if trace minerals in the soil. Environmental concerns include change in soil chemistry, climatic change, greenhouse gas emissions and global warming
- Nitrate pollution
- Soil acidification
- Water pollution
- Soil toxicity
- Change in soil chemistry
- Climatic change
- Greenhouse gas emissions
- Global warming
Organic fertilizer have public appeal, less concentrated nutrients are environmentally friendly and subject to organic agricultural restrictions. Organic farmers are bound by strict compliance with laws that guide the practice. This is generally related to food and farming method.
The fertilizer contains organic material derived from living/formally living material. Such material include animal waste, animal carcass, expired plants, plant waste. Others are oysters, crabs, rock powder and cultivated micro-organisms.
More organic origins are blood meal, feathers, hoofs, hides and bone meal. Some organic fertilizers are used to aerate, amend soil and have no nutrient value.
Composition of Organic Fertilizer
- Animal waste
- Animal carcass
- Expired plants
- Plant waste
- Crabs Shell
- Rock powder
- Cultivated micro-organisms
- Blood meal
- Bone meal
The nutrient production is used in the classification. They are also grouped into organic and in-organic, synthetic or organic. They are grouped into single nutrient-straight, multi-nutrient, binary-PK/NK/NP.
The NPK fertilizer has three components which are potassium, phosphorous and nitrogen. Although this explanation is too simplistic it covers the basics.
There are four types of synthetic fertilizer manufactured for farming. We have the Potassium, Compound, Nitrogen and Phosphate fertilizer.
The treatment of phosphate material and extraction of phosphate anion is the process used to manufacture phosphate based fertilizer. Potassium fertilizer contains potassium nitrate, potassium sulfate, potassium chloride. Nitrogen fertilizers are produced from ammonia while compound fertilizers contain N, P, K.