Nitrogen makes up 78% of the air we breathe and is essential to plant growth. But while in the atmosphere it has no biological or chemical utility for plants. It has to be transformed to serve its fertilization purpose; it has to be captured and converted into anhydrous ammonia.
Anhydrous ammonia (NH3), or one atom of nitrogen and three atoms of hydrogen, is one of the most common and widely used sources of nitrogen in agriculture.
Anhydrous means without water content. This ammonia, in its pure and concentrated state, is colorless and has a strong pungent smell. It additionally requires stringent measures for use, transport, and storage because improper use and handling could cause injury or property damage. This can range from irritated throats to fatal health problems.
How Anhydrous Ammonia Is Used to Fertilize Crops
You may have seen large white tanks being carried along by tractors in bare fields and wondered what was in them. These pressurized tanks contain anhydrous ammonia in liquid form that quickly becomes gas when injected into the soil using tractor-pulled applicators.
This has to be infused around 15cm beneath the soil surface to prevent it from going back into the air in vapor form. Once it’s in, it does its job in helping the soil and crop seeds to flourish and produce good fruit.
Why Plants Need Nitrogen
Nitrogen is the main component of chlorophyll, the compound responsible for plants’ green color. This compound enables plants to use sunlight to create their own food essential to their growth in a process called photosynthesis. Through sunlight, it converts carbon dioxide and water into sugars and starches.
Healthy soils containing nitrogen give plants the energy needed to flourish and yield well. Not all farm soils have enough nutrient content. To be sure, farmers subject their farm soil to a soil test to assess the nutrient profile of their field and which nutrients need supplementation.
Other ways to supply nitrogen to the soil are by using urea, livestock manure, and UAN (urea, ammonia, nitric acid) solution.
Safety Precautions in Using Anhydrous Ammonia in Farming
Retail of anhydrous ammonia is regulated by the federal and some state governments in the US. The use of fertilizer-grade anhydrous ammonia requires proper training in handling the tanks, personal protection equipment, and emergency first aid.
Transporting the substance and its pressurized vessels requires a commercial driver’s license, and the users must be properly trained about ammonia properties, potential hazards, and safe handling procedures.
nexAir KnowHow Promotes Efficiency and Safety
nexAir offers anhydrous ammonia in gas or compressed liquid form. Through our considerable KnowHow, we are able to provide training and seminars for the proper and safe handling of this material and the methods to maximize its efficiency as a fertilizer.
We help you get the most out of your crops with soil fertilization while eliminating risks that come with handling hazardous materials.
With nexAir, you can ForgeForward and get the help that you need to enhance your yields and profits.
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