ON THE USE OF ORGANIC GRANULATED FERTILIZER
Nowadays, intensive farming technologies are applied for growing abundant and high quality crop yields. However, intensive farming leads to a problem with the consequences difficult to overcome. Due to inappropriate or complete absence of crop rotation, intensive tillage and the use of mineral fertilizers and plant protection products, the level of organic matter decreases, its composition is deteriorating in the soil. This way, we gradually lose the soil structure. Such soil has lower moisture absorption, its thermal properties deteriorate, leading to lower cation exchanges, higher accumulation of heavy metals and toxic substances. Soil microorganisms and their composition change along with reduction in the level of soil enzymes, which are highly needed for mineralization of plant residues.
Farmers have a long tested and proven method of regenerating organic matter in soil: manure. It work slowly, and the effect is noticeable for 3-4 years. Any farmer will admit that manure is a highly valuable and natural fertilizer, but its form is not convenient in agriculture. Useful properties of manure encourage entrepreneurs and scientists to think of new ways of using it by overcoming these disadvantages. Granular organic fertilizers appeared back in the end of the last century, i.e. dry granular manure was processed and bio-enriched. Such fertilizers are more convenient to use, they are free from unpleasant odours, weed seeds and pathogens, and their composition is well known. In comparison with manure, they contain 4.3 times more nitrogen (N), 4 times phosphorus (P2O5) and as many as 8.2 times more potassium (K2O). Scientists have found that using fresh manure as fertiliser for crops is not recommended, since it’s ammoniacal nitrogen burns the roots of plants, as a result, the plants die or are seriously depressed, making further cultivation of such crop economically not viable. This problem is solved by developing manure granulation technologies. In western Europe, manure granulation technology has been used for a long time, while in Lithuania its use began only a few years ago. Fertilization with granular manure fertilizers improves soil viability by increasing humus levels. As the amount of it in the soil is increasing, many soil productivity indicators are improving: physical, chemical, microbiological soil properties and humidity, air, heat regime, and also crop yields.
About the effect of the main nutrients on the plant
Nitrogen is the most important element and a plant cannot grow and develop in its absence. It is included in the composition of all amino acids, regulates assimilation processes, and is an integral part of chlorophyll. Shortage of nitrogen slows down the plant growth, reduces chlorophyll content leaving small, oblong light green leaves which later become yellow. Signs of nitrogen deficiency are most noticeable in cool and rainy weather. Plants absorb nitrogen from the soil in the form of nitrate (NOˉ3) and ammonium (NH+4) ions.
Phosphorus is an element that stimulates the development of the root system of the plant and regulates the formation of generative buds. It is very important for the processes of photosynthesis, respiration, oxidation, metabolism of plant substances and energy. The shortage of phosphorus leads to small fine leaves, of violet or pinkish colour, the edges of the lower leaves are dark brown, clinging upwards. In neutral and alkaline soils, phosphorus from soil is mainly absorbed in the form of hydrophosphate (HPO4) 2–.
Potassium regulates the transport and synthesis of nutrients in the plant cell, as well as helps to form circular buds. It is an important factor in growth and development of a normal and healthy plant. Also, potassium is involved in photosynthesis, synthesis and metabolism of organic substances and sugars; it increases the concentration of salts in plant juices, making the plant more resistant to frost, drought and other adverse conditions. In absence of potassium, leaves of plants begin to curl, they become dark green with a bluish tint, later the edges of the lower leaves begin to brown, and the edges of the leaves of plants that suffer from potassium deficit for extended periods begin to dry. Plants absorb potassium in the form of K+ ions.
Humic acids improve and optimize the absorption of nutrients and water from the soil. Regular use of high-quality humic acids improves water consistency in the soil, which means that the use of water can be greatly reduced. It increases buffer properties in soil, helps maintain water-soluble inorganic fertilizers in the root zone of the plant and reduces their leaching. It stimulates the absorption of nutrients (N, P, K,+ Fe, Zn, Cu and other trace elements) from the soil. Increases and improves the absorption of nutrients.
Fulvoic acids are the main “active” ingredient in humus acids. It is the driving force behind all humates. Being biologically more active than humic acids, they contain more oxygen, less carbon dioxide and are significantly more acidic than humic acids. Fatty acids have lower molecular weight, which adds to the mobility and facilitates metabolism in the plant's structure. Fulvoic acid is the “fast food” and is readily soluble in water. It is an incredibly absorbent substance, absorbing residues of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, toxins, contaminated water from the industry like a “sponge” and preventing the loss of soil fertility. It is able to dissolve insoluble matter. It improves the absorption of potassium, silicon dioxide, which strengthen the cell walls.
Humic fulvic acids improve plant growth by absorbing, transferring and mobilising the substances that promote the plant growth, thereby facilitating the absorption of these substances through the roots. They strongly reduce evaporation of water and increase plant water intake in soil in case of drought. At higher pH, soil colloids bind many nutrients, especially trace elements such as Fe and Cu, and make them readily available for absorption.