Good storage and handling of fertiliser is essential to maintain the quality and integrity of the fertiliser granule.
Fertiliser is designed to break down in moist conditions so that it becomes available as a food source for plants. It is imperative that it is kept dry and safe from the harsh weather conditions until it is time to seed.
Below are some useful recommendations to consider when storing and handling your fertiliser
• Enclosed shed capable of protecting the product from the weather (rain and sunlight).
• Clean environment, free of dust/dirt.
• Temperature between 5 and 30˚C (some fertiliser types are sensitive to high temperatures).
• Protect the fertiliser from moisture, which can cause lumps and dust, influencing spreading capabilities.
• Good stock management e.g. First In, First Out basis.
• Do not store bulk fertilisers which are incompatible near each other e.g. urea and ammonium phosphate fertilisers. Keep lime and fertiliser well separated.
• Fertilisers containing nitrogen (N) or potassium (K), including mixtures of them, are more likely to take up moisture in humid conditions. Straight P fertilisers are less affected by humid conditions.
• Fertiliser granules that have been physically degraded and/or contain fines will absorb moisture faster than non-degraded product. This can lead to product setting. In general terms P fertiliser can be stored for longer periods than NPK blends or mixtures of compounds.
• Bulk carriers should clean foreign material prior to loading fertiliser reducing contamination risks.
• Avoid fertiliser spillage during transport
• All bulk loads of fertiliser should be securely covered to protect from weather conditions .
• Fertiliser classified as a Dangerous Good must be transported in accordance with the relevant Transport Regulation and relevant provisions in the Australian Dangerous Goods Code.
• The relevant Transport Regulation limit on load size must be observed.
• Unloading procedures should be designed to minimise product degradation, e.g. segregation of variable sized fertiliser granules, uptake of moisture, physical damage to granules, and contamination.
• After discharging fertiliser, the driver should ensure that all fertiliser is removed from the vehicle.
• Fertilisers should be moved with belt conveyors in preference to augers. Worn augers will crack the granules, creating fines and dust.
• Where possible it is advisable to vary the spillage point to avoid segregation of smaller granules and dust into a central core in the stock pile.