Sixteen elements are essential for the proper growth of crops and plants.
These can be nourished by synthesising their own food from the minerals that make up the surrounding soil, air and water.
The problems arise when we have to repeatedly sow in the same soil, as its quality decreases and this affects the quantity and quality of the crops we produce.
Soil is not only a substrate but also an ecosystem, especially the rhizosphere.
If we damage the natural balance, we will break the biological and chemical stability, which will affect the structure of the soil, its fertility and, of course, the crop.
The nutrients used by crops must be replenished, although this is a delicate process.
Farmers frequently apply more N-P-K fertilizer than is required, often twice as much or more.
This leads not only to increased costs but also to a nutritional imbalance of microelements.
To be effective, this combination of nutrients must be correct and adequate for them to live, grow, bloom, and reproduce.
If we make mistakes, either too much or too little, we can create drawbacks, limitations and consequences for our crops.
The different phenomena must be considered as the main actions;
- Absorption: The entry of nutrients into plants through their roots.
- Transport: Transporting substances from roots to leaves and from leaves to the whole plant.
- Transpiration: The loss of water vapour from the plant.
On the leaf, the xylem water leaves the nutrients and evaporates through the stomata if they are open.
- Respiration: This consists of the oxidation of substances to obtain energy. Oxygen is used and carbon dioxide is produced during the process.
- Photosynthesis: A chemical process that takes place in plants with chlorophyll and that allows, thanks to the energy of light, for an inorganic substrate to be transformed into energy-rich organic matter.
- Assimilation: This is the nutrition itself, and consists of the incorporation of the soluble elements and compounds of the elaborated sap into all cells.
- Excretion: Plants have no excretory system, and the small amounts of waste they produce are eliminated by diffusion.
Plant nutrition is possible in three different ways:
- Through the air: Carbon (C) as CO2 (Carbon Dioxide).
- Through water: Hydrogen (H) and Oxygen (O) as H2>/sub>O (Water).
- Through the soil,
fertiliser and animal manure: Nitrogen (N) (leguminous plants obtain Nitrogen from the air through bacteria living in the nodules), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), Sulphur (S), Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Zinc (Zn), Copper (Cu), Boron (B), Molybdenum (Mo), and Chlorine (Cl).
In addition, there are two types of nutrients for crops:
- Macronutrients (Nitrogen, Potassium, Sulphur, Calcium, Magnesium, and Phosphorus).
These are the elements that must be applied to the soil if a deficiency of one or more of them is detected.
They are needed in large quantities.
- Micronutrients (Iron, Boron, Manganese, Zinc, Copper, Chlorine, and Molybdenum).
These are applied to the soil in very small quantities when it is unable to provide the required proportion.
WHAT IS NPK IN FERTILISERS?
NPK fertiliser consists of the three primary elements, or macro elements.
These macroelements are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K).
Within the range of fertilisers available, NPK fertilisers are the most nutritionally complete, as the crop or plant is provided with the main three essential macronutrients at the same time of application.
CONDUCTION OF NUTRIENTS WITHIN THE PLANT
The conductive tissues inside the stem are organised into columns called vascular bundles. These are formed by two types of ducts:
- Xylem: That transports water and mineral substances upwards
- Phloem, which transports the sugars produced by the leaves upwards and downwards.
Vascular bundles extend through the leaves, where they are called ribs.
As the stem grows in length, new cells are added to the vascular system to form the conductive tissue of new leaves and branches.
The NPK figures do not correspond directly to the percentages of each element, as Nitrogen is expressed as N2, Phosphorus as Pentoxide (P2O5), and Potassium as Oxide (K2O).
Depending on your crop or plantation, you will need one NPK fertiliser or another.
It is important to determine the nutritional requirements of each plant to feed it with the correct fertiliser or the right combination.
Nitrogen is the driving force and raison d’être of plant growth and regeneration. Firstly, it is absorbed from the soil in the form of Nitrate (NO3 – ) or Ammonium (NH4 + ) and then, inside each plant, it becomes amino acids and proteins.
It is part of all major plant processes related to their development and subsequent performance.
Phosphorus performs the complete and essential task of energy transfer, which is essential for photosynthesis and other chemical-physiological processes.
It is an important element throughout the process, and is very useful from the beginning to the end of the crop.
Its essential functions are: transmission, chemical energy storage, cell differentiation, tissue development, and root formation.
Potassium is key to the water balance of the plant and to carbohydrate and protein synthesis.
It is also responsible for water absorption, allowing the crop to increase its tolerance to drought, frost and salinity.
Potassium activates more than 60 enzymes.
FERTILISER COMPOSITION TYPES
There are 3 types of composition in NPK fertilisers:
- Single: Composed of one of the 3 primary nutrients that give this article its title: Nitrogen, Phosphorus or Potassium.
- Binary: Binary fertilisers are a mixture of single compounds.
In other words, they contain two of the primary nutrients.
- Ternary: These are composed of the three nutrients: Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium.
Another type of classification of NPK fertilisers refers to the type of states in which they can be found:
- Solid state (pellets, granules).
- Liquid state.
As have already mentioned, each crop and each land has a nutritional requirement, so there are NPK fertilisers with different combinations.
In order to identify the one you need and be able to customise each demand, these combinations are identified by a series of numbers on the product. This is the NPK value.
The actual and expected yield of each crop will determine the ideal amount of nutrients provided.
It is essential for fertilisation to be balanced in order to optimise the properties of fertilisers.
NPK FERTILISER CONTENT
Both the actual content and the availability for the crop or plant will be given on the fertiliser data sheet.
Firstly, Nitrogen must be expressed in the form of Total N before indicating which % is nitric N, ammoniacal N or ureic N.
Secondly, P must be expressed as Phosphorus Pentoxide (P2O5), as well as indicating the % of P that is soluble in water.
Finally, K must be expressed as Potassium Oxide (K2O) and will indicate the % that this fertiliser provides.
Agricultural NPK fertilisers can be complex or mixed. The difference lies solely in the fact that each granule in complexes is formed by the same richness and, in mixtures, each granule provides one or two macronutrients and their mixture adds up to the total richness.
Soluble solid fertilisers can be applied via the leaves in certain crops.
There is a wide variety of compositions in the formulas or richness of NPK fertilisers.
The most famous and most balanced formula is 15-15-15.
Remember that DFGRUPO remains at your disposal to recommend the products that best meet the needs of your crops and to answer any questions you may have.
Please contact us, and we will be happy to discuss it with you!