It has been known for millennia that, like animals, plants also need certain chemicals to grow and thrive. Once humans began to rely less on the role of hunter/gatherers and had to cultivate edible crops, they depended first on the nutrients present naturally in the soil for this purpose, eventually discovering the benefits of animal dung and rotting vegetation to supplement these. The first human-made product to resemble a modern granular fertilizer appeared in the early 19th century. It involved the preparation of superphosphate by the action of sulphuric acid on animal bones.
Phosphorus, together with nitrogen and potassium, have long been the most important components of the many manufactured products developed to assist plant growth. Each of these elements assists plants with one or more aspects of their growth cycle. For example, phosphates can help crops fight disease, assist root growth and aid the formation of fruits and seeds. That said, nitrogen is often the primary component of conventional granular fertilizer as it can help boost the production of healthy green foliage.
Nitrogen is frequently present in the form of urea, an organic compound formed naturally in animals by the breakdown of amino acids and ammonia or produced in a chemical plant from ammonia and carbon dioxide. When applied to the soil in this form, there is a strong tendency for the compound to vaporise. One can lose up to 40% of the available nitrogen to the atmosphere in a urea-based granular fertilizer without suitable preventative measures by the manufacturer.
Fortunately, it is possible to inhibit the loss of urea nitrogen by including a suitable stabilizing chemical in the mix. One such stabilizer is a product known as AGROTAIN®, which acts to inhibit the effect of urease. The latter is an enzyme responsible for catalyzing the breakdown of urea into gaseous nitrogen and carbon dioxide, which can then disperse into the surrounding air. Eliminating that potential 40% loss of nitrogen results in a more concentrated granular fertilizer. The higher concentration means less product will be necessary and so transport costs will be correspondingly lower.
Apart from oxygen, water, carbon dioxide, and the three elements referred to earlier, there are many other nutrients vital to plant growth in varying amounts. The nutritional requirements of different species vary, as does the purpose of the individual nutrients and the growth stage at which each may be most effective.
In addition to the nitrogen-rich, stabilized KynoPlus® range, Kynoch also manufactures a broad selection of premium granular fertilizers, including GreenGold® 30 with added calcium and boron, and the Miracle range with several additional minerals for managing phosphate fixation, chloride levels and other growth-related factors.