Guideline Index

Chapter 11. Introducing Fertilisers

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Fertilisers come in many different forms. Find out the range of fertiliser types available; how to work out nutrient contents using the NPKS system; and how to compare the nutrient values of different fertilisers.

11.1 Introduction

Fertilisers come in many forms including liquid, granular and organic. The first step is to work out what nutrients your pastures need, and then you can find out which fertilisers can supply those nutrients.

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11.2 What is a fertiliser?

A fertiliser is any material added to the soil or applied to a plant to improve the supply of nutrients and promote plant growth. Find out what is meant by the terms used to describe fertiliser, such as: organic, inorganic, mineral, and soil conditioner.

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11.3 Fertiliser products

There is now a wide range of fertiliser products available to dairy farmers from both inorganic and organic sources. Find out more about the types of fertiliser products available including: low- analysis fertilisers, high analysis fertilisers, straight fertilisers, compound fertilisers, blended fertilisers, NP and NPK fertilisers, granulated or pelleted fertilisers, organic fertilisers, trace elements, slow release fertilisers, liquid fertilisers, and alternate fertilisers.

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11.4 Nutrient analysis of fertiliser products

It is important to understand the NPKS nutrient analysis system used in labelling fertilisers. This system allows you to quickly see the percentage by weight of each nutrient contained in a fertiliser.

Find out the following: how to calculate the weight of each nutrient in one tonne of fertiliser; what is meant by terms such as available, elemental and total nutrient content; and how to compare the relative value of fertiliser products.

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11.5 Summary

A fertiliser is any nutrient or substance that promotes plant growth. There are many types of fertilisers including organic and inorganic. Fertiliser product lists and labels are required to show NPKS percentages. Fertiliser nutrients are mixed in with other less plant available forms. Fertilisers should be purchased on the basis of their nutrient analyses and ability to overcome a specific nutrient deficiency.

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11.6 References

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