Micro-nutrient blinders for fertilizer blends

Conventional agriculture focuses on the macro-nutrients of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). Plants require a lot of N, P, and K fertilizer. However, they cannot reach full potential without the major micro-nutrients.

Micro-nutrient blinders for fertilizer blendsThere are many more mineral compounds that are required for plants to function other than N, P, and K. No matter how small the quantity required, these micro-nutrient elements are still crucial for optimal plant function. Over the past years, the understanding of the importance of micronutrients in crop nutrition has improved significantly.

Once the need for micronutrients in a field has been diagnosed, the challenge has been to identify how best to deliver the correct amount of the proper nutrient to the right location at the appropriate time during the growing cycle.

The benefits of supplementing secondary nutrients and micro-nutrients are far reaching. In fact, the presence of adequate secondary and micro-nutrients help other nutrients be more effective.

For instance, Boron is required to help a plant absorb Calcium. Many micro-nutrients act as enzyme co-factors and building blocks that enable plants to build complete proteins and compounds. They also aid in the development of larger, stronger roots and promote better plant immunity.

A recent trend around the globe is to add micronutrients to fertilizer to meet the specific micronutrient requirements of varying soils and hence increase fertilizer value. But this process makes manufacturing a quality granule more difficult.

It should require a significant experience in solving micronutrient challenges and improving the characteristics of P, K, Urea, AN, AS, and bulk fertilizer blends.

The quality of such fertilizers is even more dependent on process additives such as granulation aids, dust control and anti-caking coatings, as generally such softer fertilizer granules must be fortified with these additives.

Segregation is a significant issue when blending micronutrients with fertilizer due to differences in the size and physical properties such as volume, density and shape of the particles being blended. Some of the most economical micronutrients are typically found in powder form.

When only a small percentage of a powdered micronutrient is needed for a bulk blend of multi-nutrient fertilizer, and that blend is spread over multiple acres of land, there can be significant segregation of the fine micronutrient particles resulting in uneven application in the field, and unwanted variations in the health and growth of the crop.

There are various ways of addressing this challenge in order to get more homogenous distribution of the micronutrients in the fertilizer and thereby, to the field. One way is to attach the micronutrient powder to the surface of the base fertilizer or fertilizer blend using some form of adhesion.

This adhesion needs to be robust enough to withstand the application equipment without having the micronutrient powder abraded and separated from the granules, but it can’t cause plugging of the fertilizer applicator.

Micro nutrient coatings are actually micronutrient binders engineered specifically for this purpose which produce stable micronutrient fertilizer blends for up to 90 days.

This technology provides consistent, uniform micronutrient distribution on fertilizer surfaces, enhanced color and appearance, and dust suppression characteristics.

Different technologies can be used with different Micronutrients according to the deficiency of various Micro nutrients to a specific region & soil type.

Requirement of time is to work closely with the farmers assess nutrient deficiency & its behavior to specific levels in given soil type, plant needs, conduct micronutrient fertilizer blend formulation development and stability testing, complete engineering design and equipment installation, and provide ongoing technical support to optimize blend performance.

By Zeeshan Ali

Experienced person with a demonstrated history of working in the fertilizer & Agro-Chemicals industry. Skilled in Plants Nutrition Management, Crop Productivity Enhancement, Fertilizer Management, Advances in Research & Nutrition, Management, Sales, Strategic Planning, and Sales Management. Strong Sales professional graduated from University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.