Question - N.P.K is out of 100, and so there is filler ?

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Question - N.P.K is out of 100, and so there is filler ?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:18 pm

Folks,

been wondering about the N/P/K in inorganic fertilisers, how much is N/P/K and what is the rest - filler ?
What type of filler ?

So if it says -

5 Nitrogen
5 Phosphorous
5 Potassium
= 15 out of 100.

85 % filler - what is the filler and what does it do to soil ?

Note also you have to calculate the P and K part to get the P and K not the oxides. So the P and K may be even less that what is stated on the container.

See this article -

http://www.mylifeinthedirt.com/garden-soil-amendments/why-the-n-p-k-is-d-u-mb/

The idea is that organic fertilizers for the none N/P/K part is micro nutrients and ingredients that can bio degrade, with possibly only beneficial compounds for the soil.

Anyone thought about this ?
Thanks in advance.
Khaimraj

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Re: Question - N.P.K is out of 100, and so there is filler ?

Post  Rick36 on Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:41 pm

Hi Khaimraj! I've thought about it many times - then dismissed the thought and got on with my life! Cheers. Rick.

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Re: Question - N.P.K is out of 100, and so there is filler ?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:17 pm

A good read -

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19970703&slug=2547772

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Re: Question - N.P.K is out of 100, and so there is filler ?

Post  Stan Kengai on Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:31 pm

A good fertilizer will have (1) buffers to keep pH balanced and facilitate ion exchange (humic acids are buffers), (2) micronutrients and other macro nutrients like Sulfur which isn't required to be listed, and (3) surfactants to help granulated products stay wet and to help liquid ferts spread evenly.  Fertilizers also often contain a drying agent, like silica gel, to keep them from clumping while packaged. If I had to venture a guess, though, these might add up to 30%, but that at least accounts for some of the "fluff" you're looking for.


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Re: Question - N.P.K is out of 100, and so there is filler ?

Post  JimLewis on Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:13 pm

Hmmm . . . in terms of life's big questions . . .????

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Question - N.P.K is out of 100, and so there is filler ?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:08 am

Ha, ha, you know Jim,

at the start with all of this, I was just trying to calculate the value of the Meal composted balls used in Japan, when compared to the artificially created fertilisers.

Checking to see if I just needed to add a few grains of Blaucorm, once in a while, as versus several of those composted balls.

I never anticipated all that discussion on Inert ingredients in the Artificial fertiliser, and that the inerts were not inert, and that they could cause harm. This discovery also extended into pesticides, but I don't really use them, so the impact is considerably less.

Additionally, I hadn't really thought about the composted balls having micro nutrients, naturally occurring.

Then I realised that because of our almost six months of Dry Season,almost desert like conditions, and with my use of compost as the organic, I might never have to fertilise my mature trees.
All the Japanese soil blends based on a low fired clay [ say 650 deg.C, the Akadama type resistant to decay ] and various gravels, have additions of composted meal.
My soil would have the composted material added in directly to the soil.

These composted balls are low in N.P.K and I got curious, about what they would look like in a chemical breakdown, and Blaucorm is a complete fertiliser.
Of course the microbial action etc. would be missing.

So being the lazy one I am, and with the natural aid of low humidity for an extended period of time, I could bypass the composted balls and probably fertiliser on my more mature trees.
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: Question - N.P.K is out of 100, and so there is filler ?

Post  coh on Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:07 pm

I think this may partly explain the #'s not adding up to 100:

Consider urea, a common source of nitrogen. It's chemical formula is CO(NH2)2 (the 2's are subscripts, don't know how to make that appear here). So the nitrogen itself accounts for only about half of the chemical urea. I'm pretty sure the % listed for N is for the N alone, so the rest of the urea molecule adds substantial weight and mass to the fertilizer without adding any "food" value. Not really filler, but sort of...maybe more like a carrier.

So even if you were using pure urea as a fertilizer, it's N-P-K would only be something like 46-0-0.

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Re: Question - N.P.K is out of 100, and so there is filler ?

Post  marcus watts on Fri Jun 28, 2013 7:38 am

nitrogen-N, phosphorous-P, potassium-K are just the 3 measured elements globally used to very roughly indicate the 'strength' and ratio of the main components of use to plant growth. The actual ingredients used in the fertiliser will have many other naturally occurring elements that are not listed - it is not 'filler' unless you used pure chemical N, P & K additives with a bulk inert ingredient to balance the ratio - when an organic pellet/cake is made up the natural levels of the N,P & K from each ingredient is calculated and converted to the ratio and all other elements just happen to be incidental as far as labeling goes.

cheers Marcus

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Re: Question - N.P.K is out of 100, and so there is filler ?

Post  Oliver Muscio on Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:23 pm

As a chemist, I had been thinking of going out to the shed, copying down the list of ingredients in a typical inorganic fertilizer, and doing the calculations to show how those N, P, K percentages  result, but I was too lazy.  Chris and Marcus are right on target.  The ingredients are salts and compounds such as urea, where the NPK elements are accompanied by the other elements in the compounds.  These are NOT fillers, they are necessary.  Pure nitrogen (N) is a gas in the atmosphere, and unavailable to plants, except through nitrogen-fixing bacteria in legumes, etc.  Pure phosphorous (P), depending upon the form, is very flammable (think of white phosphorous incendiaries).  Pure potassium (K) is a metal that is very flammable upon exposure to air, and explosively bursts into flame upon contact with water (I don't think you want that in your fertilizer!)  The other elements in these compounds are necessary to make them stable and available to plants.
Oliver


Last edited by Oliver Muscio on Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:24 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : addition)

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Re: Question - N.P.K is out of 100, and so there is filler ?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:10 pm

Oliver,

I saw clay and limestone mentioned as the fillers, as well as slag from iron smelting, and sulphur or plastic compounds for preventitive and binding materials.
But as I tried to explain, I was not looking for the fillers, just trying to find a way to compare the organic composted fertilizer to the inorganic fertiliser.

So my experiment for next year is to see how long my soil's organic ingredient can hold out without needing a boost. Some of the trees are very aggressive as root growth goes, and since I don't really grow larger than say 18" [ 46 cm ] in height, my pots are not very large and often internally only 3" [ 8cm ] deep.
Many plants are repotted yearly, with the very few bigger ones at 3 to 5 years.

If my compost is made correctly, it should handle yearly use very well. The very few may need some sort of boost, probably organically.

The INERT problems I read about on-line were disheartening and I will take steps to look after my health.
An inert like slag from iron smelting would be dangerous, as I am sure I would find manganese, chromium and other goodies.

Anyhow Chris and Marcus, thank you very much for taking the time to post, and also anyone else who might come later on. I have my answer and will now detach from this topic.
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: Question - N.P.K is out of 100, and so there is filler ?

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