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Mixed Fertilizers & Granulated Mixtures

The idea was that if the areas of contact between particles could be reduced, the material
would cake correspondingly less in storage and that if the particles could be rounded they would
flow more easily from distribution hoppers on the farm. Steps taken to achieve these objectives
have included: -

(a) Making the particles of the constituents agglomerate as near to a spherical shape as
possible
(b) Narrowing the size range of the product delivered to the farmer
(c) Making the granules sufficiently mechanically strong to resist disintegration during
storage, transport and distribution
(d) Preventing chemical reaction alter the product was delivered to the farm which would
cause disintegration ex: allotropic transitions or double decomposition which would
involve large volume changes
(e) Coating the granules with an inert dust which makes a sort of ‘no man’s land’ between
the particles and keeps them discrete
(f) Drying the granules to such moisture content that only negligible quantities of solution
can form subsequent to manufacture, provided the product is protected from the entry of
moisture into the container of the product

Granules may be formed from solids by:

(a) Supplying the solids with appropriate proportions of liquid, which may dissolve some of
the solid and enter interstitially between appropriate groups of solid particles and
subsequently either
(i) Evaporate so as to leave appropriately shaped crystals which knit the solid
particles together or
(ii) Freeze so as to form a solid agglomerate with the solid particles

(b) Causing the solids ex: by heating to soften or, in the extreme to melt to a homogenous
liquid, and to comminute the liquid particles, preferably spheres, and subsequently to
solidify the particle ex: by cooling
(c) Including in the mixture which is to be granulated liquids which are in sufficient
proportions to permit the agglomeration of the mixture into parts, but which subsequently
by reaction become totally solid ex: acid with phosphate rock or ammonia with
phosphoric acid.

Techniques for forming agglomerate from suitably treated solids include:

(a) A rotating dish inclined at a small angle to the base. (Enrich mixer)
(b) A rotating drum with axis inclined at a small angle. (Conditioner)
(c) Rotating paddle fitting within a few millimeters to the sides of a trough, the axis
of which is inclined at a small angle (Blunger)
(d) Compressing solid particles together in mould (Pelletizing)
(e) Forming a sheet of mixture either by compression between rolls or by first
melting and the spreading on a cooled roll, and breaking up the sheet ex: with a ‘doctor
knife’ or by passing through spiked rolls, and then passing the broken pieces through a
rotating drum which converts pieces into a approx. spherical shapes (flaking and
tumbling)
(f) Pushing the mixture, made plastic by heat or addition of a suitable substance,
through dies and cutting the extruded cord into suitable length and by drying or other
process converting the pieces into rigid solids.
(g) In appropriate cases by crystallization
(h) Spray drying a solution or slurry of the mixture
(i) Forcing the molten mixture through nozzles into vertically falling threads which
separate into appropriate spheres during the fall and for the particles to be cooled and
solidified (prilling)

LIQUID FERTILIZERS

One of the newer developments in fertilizer technology is the application of fertilizers in


liquid form. The major forms of liquid fertilizers are anhydrous ammonia aqua- ammonia, nitrogen
solutions, and liquid mixed fertilizers. Those have come to be recognised as comprising three fairly
separate categories:
(1) Anhydrous ammonia
(2) Aqua ammonia and solutions
(3) Liquid mixtures
Differences, which set those categories apart, include geographic distribution, type of equipment
used, and application practice.
ANHYDROUS AMMONIA

The most important liquid fertilizer is anhydrous ammonia. Sandy soils, such as those
found in coastal regions, do not retain anhydrous ammonia as well as do the heavier types of soil.

Behaviour in the soil:

The action of ammonia, however, is so different from that of other fertilizers. Ammonia has
some advantage over ammonium nitrate, because the nitrate portion of the latter tends to leach
from the soil. Ammonia has been shown to be quite effective in killing fungi and nematodes in
the zone of application. The economic value of this effect has not been determined.

AQUA AMMONIA

Ammonia is used as a fertilizer in the aqueous as well as the anhydrous form. The
complexities of transporting anhydrous ammonia by ship have led to shipment of aqua ammonia
in conventional tank ships. The “converters” used for preparing ammonia solution have a wide
range of complexity, the more complicated arrangements include a high pressure storage tank,
unloading compressor, vaporizers, mixing chamber, cooler and automatic instrumentation. The
grade normally made contains 20% nitrogen (24.4% ammonia).

The major reasons for using aqua ammonia rather than anhydrous ammonia are the simpler
requirements in handling and the elimination of most of the hazards. Ordinary tanks are usually
satisfactory. Since the grade containing 20% nitrogen has no gauge pressure at normal
temperatures, and higher grades have relatively low pressures, relief valves, however, are usually
provided for safety.

NITROGEN SOLUTION:
The use of nitrogen solution as fertilizers for direct application is a fairly recent
development.

Properties of solution:
The main constituents used in nitrogen solutions are ammonium nitrate and urea, with free
ammonia added in some types. Various combinations of those are used to obtain the desired
properties.
The solutions are of two major types- low pressure and non-pressure. The former contains
free ammonia and are made primarily for ammoniating super phosphate. Such solutions, which are
important materials in the solid mixed- fertilizer industry, have a wide range of vapour pressures.
Those in the lower pressure range have been taken up, to same extent in the direct application field.
For direct application, ammoniating solutions have the advantage over anhydrous ammonia
of having much lower vapour pressures and of being less hazardous. Their advantage over aqua
ammonia is in higher concentration. The combination of ammonia with the nitrogen salts,
especially ammonium nitrate, gives high solubility.
Non- pressure solutions contain either ammonium nitrate or urea, or a mixture of the two.
The high mutual solubility of the two salts gives a relatively high analysis solution for the mixture
and makes it one of the most popular of the nitrogen solutions. The crystallization temperature of
the solution is an important consideration. The main factors that affect crystallization are

Problems in applying low-pressure solutions are similar to those for anhydrous and aqua ammonia.
Non- pressure solutions allow more leeway in application because injection is not necessary. Costs
of applying nitrogen solution are less.

CONTROLLED RELEASE FERTILIZER:

Controlled release fertilizer is a two layered one.

Various types:
1.poly-s

2.urea formaldehyde

3.magnesium ammonium phosphate

POLY-S:

Poly-s is a controlled release fertilizer, which has a dual coating, sulphur coated urea and
ammonium phosphorous, are encapsulated in plastic. The rate of N2 release from poly-s is
temperature dependent, higher and accleration the process.

UREA FORMALDEHYDE:

The rate of N2 release from UF depends on the structure of N2 source.Because shorter C-chained
UF molecule are more soluble and more easily assimilated by micro-organisms than longer chain
UF molecule, N2 is more quickly released from shorter chains. Sufficient media moisture and O2,
media temperature exceeding 55 F and 5.5 LPH promote the release of N2 from this H20 insoluble
N2 source. UF can also be used when nursery stock is over wintered. Encapsulated CRF often
rupture when frozen, releasing the total content of soluble material at one time, causing high
soluble salt levels in the root zone and subjecting the roots to fertilizer injuiry.

ISOBUTYLIDENE DIUREA(IBDU):

IBDU is a urea bonded CRF, release N2 with increasing media moisture and temperature fertilizer
particle size and media. PH influence the rate of nutrient release, smaller particles size and low pH
accelerate the process.

MAGNESIUM AMMONIUM PHOSPHATE:

It is a complete CRF containing magnesium. water solubility of magnesium ammonium phosphate


is minimal but sufficient enough to provide N, P, and Mg at levels that meet plant needs. K has
been added to this material, making it a complete fertilizer.

APPLICATION METHODS:

Methods of applying CRF including top-dressing and incorporation in to the media, or dibbling.
The latter is a method in which the fertilizer material is placed in a hole in the container media,
allowing the fertilizer to remain at a more controlled release temperature.

Biofertilizers
Biofertilizers are organisms that enrich the nutrient quality of soil. The main sources of
biofertilizers are bacteria, fungi, and cynobacteria (blue-green algae). The most striking
relationship that these have with plants is symbiosis, in which the partners derive benefits from
each other.
(1) Symbiotic: The organisms live within the plants and help in the absorption of the fertilizers
like in the nodules of leguminous plants like groundnut, soyabean, pulses etc. Ex: Rhizobium
sp
(2) Associative symbiotic: These organisms live partly within the roots and partly outside crops
like paddy, sugarcane, cotton, millets, vegetables, etc. are benefited by those organisms
Ex: Azospirillum
(3) Non-symbiotic: These organisms live in the soil independent of the plants and fix N2
Ex: Azetobacter
Next only to N2, P is a vital nutrient for plant growth and increasing the crop yields. P is mostly
present in the soil as compounds of Ca, Fe, Al and F. Further; the soluble form of PO4- es applied
to soil also gets converted into insoluble forms immediately. These forms are not available for the
crops, though they may be present in the soil.
Systematic screening by the universities and research institutions isolates efficient strains of these
organisms. They are then carefully preserved after assigning specific number. The biofertilizers
producer obtains these strains, multiplies them in stages, mixes with a carrier like lignite and
distributes to the consumer.
Some soil organisms, notably the bacteria and fungi possess the ability to bring insoluble
phosphate present in the soil into soluble forms by secreting organic acid. These acids lower the
pH and bring about the dissolution of bound phosphate for the plants to take up.
They are then sub cultured using the respective slant medium and the details, are marked on the
tubes.
A lapful of subculture is transferred in a sterile atmosphere to the sterilized medium prepared in
500ml flask and kept in rotary shaker for multiplication. It takes 4-6 days to reach the maximum
population level.
The flask culture is then transferred to bottles containing sterile medium and kept on shaker. It
takes 4-6 days to reach maximum population.

Micronutrients

Calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and sulfur (S) are the three secondary nutrients required by plants.
They are less likely to be added as fertilizer than the macronutrients (N-P-K). The standard soil
test measures the relative availability of Ca and Mg in soils. There is no accurate soil test for S at
this time. A plant analysis is the best diagnostic tool for confirming S availability.
If the exchangeable Ca level is in excess of 200 ppm, no response to Ca is expected. If the soil pH
is maintained in the proper range, then the added Ca from lime will maintain an adequate level for
crop production. The required soil exchangeable Mg level is 50 ppm or greater. High levels of
exchangeable K tend to reduce the uptake of Mg. Therefore, if the ratio of Mg to K, as a percent
of the exchangeable bases, is less than 2 to 1, then Mg is recommended for forage crops. Most Mg
deficiencies can be corrected by maintaining proper soil pH using lime high in Mg. The ratio of
Ca to Mg should be considered when lime is added to a soil. If the ratio, as a percent of the
exchangeable bases, is 1 to 1 or less (less Ca than Mg), a high calcium/low magnesium limestone
should be used. Most plants grow well over a wide range of Ca to Mg soil ratios. Excessive use of
K fertilizers can greatly reduce the uptake of Ca and Mg. High K/low Mg forages can cause grass
tetany, milk fever, hypocalcemia and other health problems for ruminant animals. Potassium
recommendations above the critical level are less than crop removal so as to discourage luxury
consumption of K and improve Mg uptake. Sulfur is taken up as sulfate by plants. Sulfate sulfur
is supplied primarily by microbial decomposition of soil organic matter. Sulfate is a negative ion
and easily leaches in soils. Sandy soils low in organic matter that are subject to excessive leaching
may not supply adequate sulfur. Crops such as wheat and alfalfa that grow rapidly at cool
temperatures when mineralization of S is slow are most likely to be S deficient. If elemental sulfur
is used, it should be applied at least 2 months before the crop is planted. This would allow time for
the S to be converted to the plant-available sulfate form by the soil bacteria. Sulfur should be added
in the sulfate form if added less than 2 months before plant uptake.

Different plant nutrients:

Table

Essential elements for plant growth

S.No Name of element Nomenclature

1 Carbon

2 Oxygen

3 Hydrogen

4 Nitrogen Primary nutrients

5 Phosphorous

6 Potassium

7 Calcium Secondary nutrients

8 Magnesium

9 Sulphur

10 Boron Micro nutrients

11 Chlorine

12 Copper

13 Iron
14 Manganese

15 Molybdenum

16 Zinc

Primary nutrients are normally supplied through chemical fertilizers. They are chemical
compounds containing one or more of the primary nutrients and are generally produced by
chemical reactions. Whatever be the chemical, its more important ingredient for plant growth is
the nutrient content.

The primary nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (N, P and K). However, their
concentration in a chemical fertilizer is expressed as a percentage of total nitrogen (N); available
phosphate (P2O5); and soluble potash (K2O). Thus ammonium sulphate contains 20.6% N, single
super phosphate 16% P2O5 and muriate of potash 60% K2O.

The grade of a fertilizer is expressed as a set of three numbers in the order of percent N, P2O5,
and K2O. If a nutrient is missing in a fertilizer, it is represented by zero.

Thus, diammonium phosphate is shown as 18- 46- 0, indicating that it contains 18% nitrogen,
46% P2O5 and no potash. Similarly, ‘suphala’, a nitrophosphate fertilizer produced by Rashtriya
Chemical Fertilizers (RCF), Trombay is shown as: 15- 15- 15 indicating that the product
contains 15%N, 15% P2O5 and 15% K2O.

In the case of nitrogenous fertilizers, nitrogen may be in the ammonical, nitrate (or a
combination there of) or amide form. Ammonical form of nitrogen is contained in fertilizers like
ammonium sulphate, ammonium chloride, etc. Nitrate nitrogen is contained in fertilizers like
ammonium nitrate, calcium ammonium nitrate, etc. The amide nitrogen is contained in urea.

Phosphate fertilizers may be in the water-soluble form or available form. When a phosphatic
fertilizer is soluble in water, the product is called water-soluble phosphate. If it is not soluble in
water but in 2% neutral ammonium citrate, the product is called citrate soluble phosphate. The
sum total of water-soluble and citrate soluble values is termed as available phosphates.
A fertilizer in which phosphate is not soluble either in water or two percent neutral ammonium
citrate solution is termed insoluble. The sum of the available phosphate and the insoluble
phosphate is termed as total phosphate.

Biofertilizers

Biofertilizers are organisms that enrich the nutrient quality of soil. The main sources of
biofertilizers are bacteria, fungi, and cynobacteria (blue-green algae). The most striking
relationship that these have with plants is symbiosis, in which the partners derive benefits from
each other.
Symbiotic:
The organisms live within the plants and help in the absorption of the fertilizers like in the
nodules of leguminous plants like groundnut, soyabean, pulses etc.
Ex: Rhizobium sp
Associative symbiotic:
These organisms live partly within the roots and partly outside crops like paddy, sugarcane,
cotton, millets, vegetables, etc. are benefited by those organisms
Ex: Azospirillum
Non-symbiotic:
These organisms live in the soil independent of the plants and fix N2
Ex: Azetobacter
Next only to N2, P is a vital nutrient for plant growth and increasing the crop yields. P is mostly
present in the soil as compounds of Ca, Fe, Al and F. Further; the soluble form of PO4- as applied
to soil also gets converted into insoluble forms immediately. These forms are not available for the
crops, though they may be present in the soil.
Systematic screening by the universities and research institutions isolates efficient strains of
these organisms. They are then carefully preserved after assigning specific number. The
biofertilizers producer obtains these strains, multiplies them in stages, mixes with a carrier like
lignite and distributes to the consumer.
Some soil organisms, notably the bacteria and fungi possess the ability to bring insoluble
phosphate present in the soil into soluble forms by secreting organic acid. These acids lower the
pH and bring about the dissolution of bound phosphate for the plants to take up. They are then sub
cultured using the respective slant medium and the details, are marked on the tubes.
A lapful of subculture is transferred in a sterile atmosphere to the sterilized medium prepared
in 500ml flask and kept in rotary shaker for multiplication. It takes 4-6 days to reach the maximum
population level.
The flask culture is then transferred to bottles containing sterile medium and kept on shaker. It
takes 4-6 days to reach maximum population.
Preparation of fermentors:
Fermentor is employed for producing large volume of broth. Any chance introduction of other
organisms may also lead to large multiplication of these organisms. Hence, it is necessary that
utmost care be taken to prevent such a possibility. The following steps achieve this:
 After the discharge of broth the fermentor is filled with H2O, agitated for 10 minutes, and
drained out fully.
 The fermentor is again filled with H2O and sterilized using steam at 121˚C temperature, 15-psi
pressure for 1 hour and the control drained out.
 After charging the medium, the medium is sterilized using steam as 121˚C temperature, 15-psi
pressure for 1 hour.
 The contents are then cooled by circulating cold H2O (service H2O) to a temperature of <40˚C
The bottle culture after optimum growth are transferred to the sterilize medium in the
fermentor. Immediately the details like charge number, strain, time of inoculation are written and
tagged on to the fermentor. An inoculum load of 5 to 10% is adequate. The contents are agitated
intermittently and aerated continuously using sterile conditions. Generally, the culture broth for
mixing with carrier is ready is about 24 hours. This duration may vary to some extent depending
on the ambient temperature.
Carrier used for producing biofertilizer is lignite powder and the source is Neyveli Lignite
Corporation. The lignite powder has a pH of around 4.5. This is neutralized by adding lime powder
(CaCO3) at 10% for azospirillium and 15% for rhizobium and phospho bacteria. Also 0.5- 10% of
synthetic polymer is added and it is supposed to increase the H2O holding capacity of lignite. The
neutralized lignite is then sterilized in autoclave using steam at 121˚C temperature, 15-psi pressure
for 1 hour. The materials is cooled, stored separately and used for mixing with broth.
Measured quantity of prepared carrier (lignite) is taken in the blender. The broth obtained from
fermentor is collected in carbuoys and poured into the carrier. The ratio between broth and carrier
is normally 1:2. However, this ratio may vary slightly as judged from the consistency of the final
product.
The materials are then mixed thoroughly in a mechanical mixer. A sample is taken and sent to
laboratory for “0” day and “7” day analysis. After mixing, the contents are transferred to HDPE
bag and kept for curing and storage material made from not more than one fermentor discharge is
stored this way.
Generally, the 7th day sample shows at least 10 fold increase in population as compared to “0” day.
When the counts show a satisfactory level of not less than 10 cells a gram, the material is
transferred to large bag and used for bagging in 200g or 1kg preprinted LDPE bags. For quick
operation, containers to deliver the same weight are used. The material is bagged as soon as the
movement plan is received. The material that remains more than one month from the date of
mixing is rejected. The bags bear the batch number, date of manufacturing, expiry date and price
in addition to other details. The batch number relating to the charge number are immediately
recorded in the register. The bags are then packed in cartons to weigh 10kg nett. It is 50 numbers
in the case of 1kg bags. The cartons are closed with gum, taped with adhesive tape and strapped
using polypropylene strap and double folder seal.

Fluid fertilizers:

One of the newer developments in fertilizer technology is the application of fertilizers in


liquid form. The major forms of liquid fertilizers are anhydrous ammonia aqua- ammonia,
nitrogen solutions, and liquid mixed fertilizers. Those have come to be recognised as comprising
three fairly separate categories:
(4) Anhydrous ammonia
(5) Aqua ammonia and solutions
(6) Liquid mixtures

Differences, which set those categories apart, include geographic distribution, type of equipment
used, and application practice.

ANHYDROUS AMMONIA

The most important liquid fertilizer is anhydrous ammonia. Sandy soils, such as those
found in coastal regions, do not retain anhydrous ammonia as well as do the heavier types of soil.

Properties of ammonia:

It is a toxic, hazardous gas, difficult to store and handle. Ammonia is a gas at natural
pressure and temperature, but it is easily liquefied and is handled as a liquid in storing and
transporting. Because of its toxic and explosive properties, safely precautions are highly
important in handling the material. Liquid ammonia or strong solutions of ammonia can cause
serious burns, and at sufficiently high concentration, the gas can cause death form asphyxiation.
Safety precautions include proper installation and operation of pressure relief devices, wearing of
goggles, and providing of gas masks and showers for emergency use. Ammonia is flammable
and explosive when the concentration in air is between 16 and 25% by volume.

Handling and distribution equipment:

Storage: Ammonia is stored both by distributors and by farmers. The kind of storage on the
form depends on the type of distribution arrangement, which may be
(1) Transport in dealer’s tank truck to farmer’s storage tank
(2) Transport in dealer’s tank truck direct to farmer’s applicator truck
(3) Transport of dealer’s tank to farm where it serves for temporary storage
(4) Transport in farmer’s portable tank
(5) Custom application by dealer or custom applicator.

Storage tanks are of mild steel, ordinarily uninsulated, built to withstand a working pressure of
265 psig or more, and equipped with relief valves. Because of the high thermal- expansion
coefficient of liquid ammonia, tanks are not filled completely.

Application: The volatile nature of ammonia requires that it be injected well beneath the surface
of the soil.

Retention in the soil: Liquid ammonia flashes to the gaseous form as it leaves the application
nozzle. Unlike other forms of fertilizer, ammonia must quickly establish some set of bond with
soil constituents or be lost to the atmosphere. The mechanisms involved in ammonia retention
and fixation by the soil is found to be that sorption of ammonia resulted from neutralization of
exchangeable hydronium and aluminium ions on the clay fraction and from reaction with soil
organic matter. Acid soils sorted more than alkaline soils, but even a soil at a pH of 7.3 absorbed
a large amount of ammonia, much of which was due to formation of organic nitrogen
compounds.

Behaviour in the soil:

The action of ammonia, however, is so different from that of other fertilizers. Ammonia has
some advantage over ammonium nitrate, because the nitrate portion of the latter tends to leach
from the soil. Ammonia has been shown to be quite effective in killing fungi and nematodes in
the zone of application. The economic value of this effect has not been determined.

AQUA AMMONIA

Ammonia is used as a fertilizer in the aqueous as well as the anhydrous form. The
complexities of transporting anhydrous ammonia by ship have led to shipment of aqua ammonia
in conventional tank ships. The “converters” used for preparing ammonia solution have a wide
range of complexity, the more complicated arrangements include a high pressure storage tank,
unloading compressor, vaporizers, mixing chamber, cooler and automatic instrumentation. The
grade normally made contains 20% nitrogen (24.4% ammonia).

The major reasons for using aqua ammonia rather than anhydrous ammonia are the
simpler requirements in handling and the elimination of most of the hazards. Ordinary tanks are
usually satisfactory. Since the grade containing 20% nitrogen has no gauge pressure at normal
temperatures, and higher grades have relatively low pressures, relief valves, however, are usually
provided for safety.

For example, ammonium polysulphide is added to correct sulphur efficiency.


Precipitation inhibitors may also be added to the aqua ammonia when hard water is used in piped
irrigation systems the farmer is attracted by factors such as being able to see the material, the fact
that aqua ammonia can be metered with a volumetric meter at the point of delivery, and
uniformity of flow rate at different temperatures because aqua ammonia is a non-pressure or very
low pressure solution.

Unlike anhydrous ammonia, aqua ammonia cannot be moved by its own pressure. Pumps
or air pressure is used for transfer and for forcing the solution through the nozzles into the soil.
The injection equipment is very much like that used for anhydrous ammonia. The injection depth
may be as little as 2 inches, and less care is necessary in application.

An economic comparison between aqua and anhydrous ammonia is difficult to make. The
conversion to the aqueous form is an added expense for the aqua ammonia, and the lower
concentration may increase local transportation and application costs. Tanks and some of the
handling facilities for aqua ammonia, however, are less expensive. Moreover, there is less loss in
transfer between tanks and perhaps less likelihood of loss during application.

NITROGEN SOLUTION:
The use of nitrogen solution as fertilizers for direct application is a fairly recent
development.

Properties of solution:

The main constituents used in nitrogen solutions are ammonium nitrate and urea, with
free ammonia added in some types. Various combinations of those are used to obtain the desired
properties.

The solutions are of two major types- low pressure and non-pressure. The former
contains free ammonia and are made primarily for ammoniating super phosphate. Such solutions,
which are important materials in the solid mixed- fertilizer industry, have a wide range of vapour
pressures. Those in the lower pressure range have been taken up, to same extent in the direct
application field.

For direct application, ammoniating solutions have the advantage over anhydrous
ammonia of having much lower vapour pressures and of being less hazardous. Their advantage
over aqua ammonia is in higher concentration. The combination of ammonia with the nitrogen
salts, especially ammonium nitrate, gives high solubility.

Non- pressure solutions contain either ammonium nitrate or urea, or a mixture of the two.
The high mutual solubility of the two salts gives a relatively high analysis solution for the
mixture and makes it one of the most popular of the nitrogen solutions. The crystallization
temperature of the solution is an important consideration. The main factors that affect
crystallization are
(1) The proportion of free ammonia
(2) The total salt concentration
(3) The use of urea and ammonia nitrate together

There are also a few special solutions, including


(1) Sodium nitrate- ammonium nitrate (20 % nitrogen)
(2) Calcium nitrate- ammonium nitrate (17% nitrogen)
(3) Ammonium bisulfite (8.5% nitrogen; 19.4% sulphur)
(4) Ammonium polysulfide (20.6% nitrogen; 45% sulphur)

These solutions are used to supply the supplemented element- sodium, calcium or sulphur, when
needed for special crop and soil conditions.

Storage and application:

Storage requirements for solutions vary according to the pressure classification of the
solution. The non- pressure solutions require no particular precautions, and the low pressure ones
is similar to aqua ammonia in general requirements. Both types, however, differ from aqua and
anhydrous ammonia in the construction material required for tanks and handling equipment. The
combination of free ammonia with salts in the lower pressure type is quite corrosive to mild
steel. Non- pressure solutions are not as corrosive but are enough so that mild steel is seldom
recommended for use with them.

Problems in applying low-pressure solutions are similar to those for anhydrous and aqua
ammonia. Non- pressure solutions allow more leeway in application because injection is not
necessary. Costs of applying nitrogen solution are less.

LIQUID MIXED FERTILIZERS

Liquid fertilizers include mixtures as well as single- nutrients direct application materials.
The main steps in the manufacture of liquid mixed fertilizers are weighing of materials,
neutralizing of phosphoric acid, addition of supplemental materials, and cooling. Some
continuous plants are in use, but the majority is of the batch type. The ammonia and acid react in
the stainless steel vessel and then enter the main body of solution, thereby keeping partially
neutralized acid away from the main tank wall. Most plants are equipped with coolers. The
neutralization can be carried out without any great loss of ammonia in plants which do not have a
cooler, but high ammonia grades such as 8-24-0 can be made faster if cooling is provided,

The liquid mixes have an advantage over solid mixed fertilizer because more ammonia
and solutions can be used in producing them. For grades requiring supplemental nitrogen, liquid
mixes have the further advantage that all the supplement can be supplied in solution form,
usually as urea- ammonium nitrate solution.

(ii) Granulated mixtures.


GRANULATION OF FERTILIZERS AND THEIR ADVANTAGES

The idea was that if the areas of contact between particles could be reduced, the material
would cake correspondingly less in storage and that if the particles could be rounded they would
flow more easily from distribution hoppers on the farm. Steps taken to achieve these objectives
have included: -

(g) Making the particles of the constituents agglomerate as near to a spherical shape as
possible
(h) Narrowing the size range of the product delivered to the farmer
(i) Making the granules sufficiently mechanically strong to resist disintegration during
storage, transport and distribution
(j) Preventing chemical reaction alter the product was delivered to the farm which would
cause disintegration ex: allotropic transitions or double decomposition which would
involve large volume changes
(k) Coating the granules with an inert dust which makes a sort of ‘no man’s land’ between
the particles and keeps them discrete
(l) Drying the granules to such moisture content that only negligible quantities of solution
can form subsequent to manufacture, provided the product is protected from the entry of
moisture into the container of the product

Granules may be formed from solids by:

(d) Supplying the solids with appropriate proportions of liquid, which may dissolve some of
the solid and enter interstitially between appropriate groups of solid particles and
subsequently either
(i) Evaporate so as to leave appropriately shaped crystals which knit the solid
particles together or
(ii) Freeze so as to form a solid agglomerate with the solid particles

(e) Causing the solids ex: by heating to soften or, in the extreme to melt to a homogenous
liquid, and to comminute the liquid particles, preferably spheres, and subsequently to
solidify the particle ex: by cooling
(f) Including in the mixture which is to be granulated liquids which are in sufficient
proportions to permit the agglomeration of the mixture into parts, but which subsequently
by reaction become totally solid ex: acid with phosphate rock or ammonia with
phosphoric acid.

Techniques for forming agglomerate from suitably treated solids include:

(a) A rotating dish inclined at a small angle to the base. (Enrich mixer)
(b) A rotating drum with axis inclined at a small angle. (Conditioner)
(c) Rotating paddle fitting within a few millimeters to the sides of a trough, the axis
of which is inclined at a small angle (Blunger)
(d) Compressing solid particles together in mould (Pelletizing)
(e) Forming a sheet of mixture either by compression between rolls or by first
melting and the spreading on a cooled roll, and breaking up the sheet ex: with a ‘doctor
knife’ or by passing through spiked rolls, and then passing the broken pieces through a
rotating drum which converts pieces into a approx. spherical shapes (flaking and
tumbling)
(f) Pushing the mixture, made plastic by heat or addition of a suitable substance,
through dies and cutting the extruded cord into suitable length and by drying or other
process converting the pieces into rigid solids.
(g) In appropriate cases by crystallization
(h) Spray drying a solution or slurry of the mixture
(i) Forcing the molten mixture through nozzles into vertically falling threads which
separate into appropriate spheres during the fall and for the particles to be cooled and
solidified (prilling).