Plants absorb nitrogen fertilizers in Nitrate and Ammonical form. That’s because nitrogen in the form of Nitrate is more suitable for the plants. However, some plants like Paddy consume nitrogen in the Ammonical form. Urea, on the other hand, has Nitrate in amide form which can be converted into Ammonical form by micro-organisms inside the soil.
Here are the four categories of Nitrogenous Fertilizers:
Nitrate fertilizer is a nitrogen rich fertilizer. As the name suggests, these fertilizers contain Nitrogen in the Nitrate form. These fertilizers can be easily mixed with water and fed to the plants. In case the plants require more nitrogen, the same can be ensured through nitrogen fertilizers. That being said, Nitrogen fertilizers are not recommended in the case of soils with excess water or sand since the Nitrogen gets lost in the atmosphere due to the lack of Oxygen. Nitrogen fertilizers are quite expensive and most farmers have to import Nitrogen fertilizers. Excess use of Nitrogen fertilizers can also damage the soil by increasing its alkalinity.
Ammonical fertilizers contain nitrogen in the Ammonical form. They can be used for plants that absorb nitrogen in the form of Nitrate since it gets easily converted into Nitrate. They are suitable for soil with excess water since the Ammonical form of nitrogen does not get lost in the atmosphere due to the lack of oxygen. Ammonical fertilizers take time to reach the plants, thus making them more suitable for crops that take a longer duration of time to grow.
The most commonly used Ammonical fertilizer in the country is the Ammonium Sulphate. when applied to the plants, the micro-organisms convert the Ammonical form into Nitrate form. However, the presence of Sulphate in the fertilizer increases the level of acidity inside the soil. Limestone is later applied to the soil to reduce the high level of acidity. Ammonium Sulphate is one of the most commonly used Ammonical fertilizers in India.
Ammonical Nitrate fertilizers contain nitrogen in both Nitrate and Ammonical forms. The Nitrate inside the fertilizer immediately gets absorbed by the plants and provides long term support for the plants to grow. Ammonium nitrate is rich in nutrition but it has the tendency to reduce the moisture in the air. Ammonium Nitrate is also highly explosive and needs to be handled with care. Ammonium Nitrate is not produced in India and is imported in limited quantity.
Amide fertilizers can easily transform into Ammonical form and then Nitrate form. Amide fertilizers can be easily decomposed by micro-organisms in the soil. The most commonly used Nitrogen fertilizer in India is Urea. It is one of the cheapest forms of nitrogen fertilizers in the country. Urea takes almost one week to decompose and then gets consumed by the plants. Urea can also be used in the form of spray and is a Nitrogen organic fertilizer.
Fertilizers can be used to provide the soil with the necessary nutrients required for the crops to grow. However, there are certain fertilizers that can damage the soil and prevent the growth of crops for future harvests. This is the reason why experts advise farmers to use organic fertilizers that cause minimum damage to the soil. The sustained use of organic fertilizers can help preserve the soil for future generations.