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How to prevent unintended contamination of liquid fertilizers


Written by Jaap Lubbersen | 01-05-2020


When working with liquid fertilizers, the fertilizers get in contact with each other both intended or unintended. This could cause a reaction. When fertilizers are brought into contact with each other intendedly, this is called intended contamination. An example is the fertilizer recipe. Two fertilizers getting in contact with each other, does not necessarily result in a reaction. On the contrary, fertilizers can get contact with each other unintendedly. This is called unintended contamination and can happen when for example undiluted acidic and lye products are mixed. 


Liquid fertilizers can be divided into neutral, acid and lye. In the table below, the products are divided into neutral, acid and lye.
Neutral Acidic Lye
Calcium Nitrate (CN)
Ammonium Nitrate (AN)
Magnesium Sulphate (MSN)
Magnesium Nitrate (MN)
Calcium Chloride (CC)
Potassium Sulphuric Acid (KZZ)
Nitric Acid (SZ-38)
Phosphoric Acid (FZ-59)


Potassium Phosphorus Hydroxide (KFL)
Potassium Hydroxide (KL-50)
Silicon (SiL)
Potassium Carbonate (KBL)


Reactions of liquid fertilizers

Mixing liquid fertilizers can happen on purpose or accidentally. These fertilizers already form a risk in the storage stage. Also, keep in mind that during transport and the creation of the fertilizer recipe, the fertilizers should be handled with care. Always take into account your own safety while doing this!


Risks during transport

Transporting liquid AR-fertilizers always happens under strict safety measures. Despite these measures, things can go wrong during the transportation. A fertilizer can be pumped into the wrong pipe, which could lead to vaporization or the development of heat, with harmful consequences. These risks can be reduced by making use of end-key valves


Risks during storage

During storage of the liquid fertilizers, the safety regulations should be watched carefully. It is crucial to make use of the correct dripping tray, and that acidic and lye products are separated in different dripping trays. In the table below, an overview of which product should be stored in which dripping tray, is provided. The A is used for a dripping tray meant for acids and the L is used for a dripping try in which lye should be stored.


  Ammonium
Nitrate
Calcium
Nitrate
Potassium 
Carbonate (KBL)
Potassium 
Hyroxide
Potassium
Carbonate
Potassium 
Sulphuric Acid
Magnesium
Nitrate
Magnesium
Sulphate
Nitric 
Acid
Phosphoric 
Acid
Potassium
Chloride
Silicon
Ammonium Nitrate      N, G N, G N, G             N, G
Calcium Nitrate     N N N N   N   N   N
Potassium Phosphorus Hydroxide N, G N       N, W N N W N, W N  
Potassium Hydroxide N, G N       N, W N N N, W N, W N  
Potassium Carbonate N, G N       N, W N N N, W N, W N  
Potassium Sulphuric Acid   N N, W N, W N, W   N N   N   N, W
Magnesium Nitrate     N N N N       N N N
Magnesium Sulphate   N N N N N       N N N
Nitric Acid     N, W N, W N, W             N, W
Phosphoric Acid   N N, W N, W N, W N N N       N, W
Potassium Chloride     N N N   N N        
Silicon N, G N       N, W N N N, W N, W N  


Risks while making the fertilizer recipe

Some products should not react with each other in undiluted forms, to prevent precipitation, gas or the development of heat. In order to prevent contact of several elements, use of the A- and B-tanks can be made. The table included below explains which two concentrated, undiluted fertilizers can get in contact with each other: 

  Ammonium
Nitrate
Calcium
Nitrate
Potassium 
Carbonate (KBL)
Potassium 
Hyroxide
Potassium
Carbonate
Potassium 
Sulphuric Acid
Magnesium
Nitrate
Magnesium
Sulphate
Nitric 
Acid
Phosphoric 
Acid
Potassium
Chloride
Silicon Potassium
Phosphite
Ammonium Nitrate      N, G N, G N, G             N, G  
Calcium Nitrate     N N N N   N   N   N N
Potassium Phosphorus Hydroxide N, G N       N, W N N W N, W N    
Potassium Hydroxide N, G N       N, W N N N, W N, W N    
Potassium Carbonate N, G N       N, W N N N, W N, W N    
Potassium Sulphuric Acid   N N, W N, W N, W   N N   N   N, W  
Magnesium Nitrate     N N N N       N N N N
Magnesium Sulphate   N N N N N       N N N N
Nitric Acid     N, W N, W N, W             N, W  
Phosphoric Acid   N N, W N, W N, W N N N       N, W  
Potassium Chloride     N N N   N N          
Silicon N, G N       N, W N N N, W N, W N    

N= Precipitation
W= Heat development
G= Gas formation

Note: If fertilizers of category G and W mix, immediately leave the room! 

If liquid fertilisers in category G and W have come together, leave the room immediately, call 112 or 911 and inform the fire brigade which products have come together.

Precipitated product is guaranteed loss of quality. Discuss with your crop care product specialist whether the precipitated end product can still be used, or needs to be emptied.


Questions about liquid fertilizers?

Do you have questions after reading this article or do you need more information? Contact one of our crop care specialists or fill in the form below. We'll respond within 24 hours on working days.








Jaap Lubbersen About Jaap Lubbersen

Jaap Lubbersen is an internal crop care product specialist at Royal Brinkman and has had over 13 years of experience in glass horticulture. "As an internal product specialist, I deal with growers' issues on a daily basis. Every time again it is a challenge to seek the proper solution, in cooperation with the grower, whether it is about healthy and vibrant cultivation, legislation or safety."





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