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Bespoke Contract Chemical Manufacturers

I want to make a fertiliser – can you help me?

FERTILISERS are a key tool in the armoury of arable farmers, vegetable growers and gardeners. Put simply, they supply nutrients to plants, boosting or levelling out deficiencies in the soil, to aid growth and improve yields.

As specialists in products for the agrochem and horticultural sectors, there’s not much Grotech Production Ltd, with some 40+ years’ experience as bespoke contract chemical manufacturers, doesn’t know about fertilisers!

They can range from straightforward and cheap, ideal for everyday use, to more complex with innovative functions for very specific purposes. They can also come in all kinds of formats – liquids, dilutions, suspension concentrates for instance. Or solid prills – firm pellet-like substances – for scattering on the land or powders for dissolution.

While developing a fertiliser doesn’t have to be difficult, there are various pitfalls you’d do well to avoid…

My liquid fertiliser has ‘bits’ in it! What’s going on?

The ‘bits’ could be down to several things:

  1. If your concentrated product has been stored at a low temperature, its solubility could have reduced due to the cold so causing crystals to form.
  2. There could have been a reaction between components within the product, resulting in precipitation of non-soluble materials. Just be aware that this can lower the nutrient benefit of the product and potentially lock spray nozzles.
  3. Precipitation can also occur should dissolved materials be exposed to oxygen, become oxidised and change into a form that is no longer soluble.

Why have the bottles containing my fertiliser blown and gone off?

If your fertiliser contains organic or biological ingredients such as sugars, amino acids and seaweed, they can come under biological attack from microbes. To avoid this, appropriate biocides should be chosen and incorporated into the formulation.  Bacteria aren’t the only problem.  Temperature differences can cause bottles to swell, which can warp the bottles and potentially even the boxes they’re stored in.  Vented caps can also help to counter pressure build-up and it is important to consider carefully the type of bottles being used to avoid designs or materials that might split or warp more easily.

Why has my product changed colour?

Decolouration can be due to a change in pH from a chemical reaction changing the nature of the chemicals contained in the product. Dyes may also degrade over time due to fluctuating temperatures, changes in pH and light exposure.

My fertiliser is a suspension concentrate but it doesn’t look right!

Suspensions can break down when the product isn’t viscous enough or hasn’t been properly stabilised. Phase separation, sedimentation and flocculation, ie clumping together, can also occur when suspensions, emulsions or products with normally incompatible components aren’t effective or break down.

woman holding granular fertiliser next to a small plant

Would a solid fertiliser be better?

Solid fertilisers have some advantages over liquid fertilisers.  You are not transporting water, they can have a longer shelf life, are often more concentrated and are not generally susceptible to microbiological attack. They also have their own specific drawbacks.

Solid crystalline or granular fertilisers are used by those wanting to broadcast the product across the field or scatter on the garden at home. The nature of these products means they can suffer from caking, segregation and dust issues which can impact how they are used. It is important to understand this and act to reduce the risk of these effects.

At Grotech Production Ltd we have the know-how and equipment to help you every step of the way in making your fertiliser. From advising on and developing your formulation to manufacturing pilot batches for trial and testing to full scale production, packing and delivery; GPL can provide an end-to-end service or just help with those areas you need an extra hand with.

Why not let your business benefit from our expertise? Give us a call on 01405 761746 or send us an email here.