Fertilizer application is one of the measures to enhance reasonable yield desired by a farmer on his farm. It is a very important practice as it boosts crop output.
However, there are certain hints a farmer needs to have at the back of his mind before commencing the application of fertilizer. These tips are:
1. Type of soil
The nature of the soil much be known and considered before applying fertilizer or manure to it. The decomposition of manure and leaching of nutrients is faster in light soil than in heavy soil. Light soils are very porous; they have larger pore space which makes them vulnerable to erosion and have free movement of water within them.
To apply manure on such soil, the manure is added short period, like a week or less, before planting on light soil. But for heavy soils, it should be added like 2-3 weeks before planting because it has the ability to retain nutrient unless light soils.
2. Amount of soluble nutrients in the manure or fertilizer:
Soluble nutrients like sodium, potassium, calcium etc. are easily lost through leaching. Those manures or fertilizers which contain readily available and soluble nutrients should be applied at time of cropping so that the crops will utilize the nutrients before they are lost. Those containing insoluble nutrients should be applied long before planting so as to allow sufficient supply.
3. Topography of the land:
The topography of a land is the slope of the land. On a sloppy highland, erosion may be intensive and any manure or fertilizer applied stands the chance of being washed off. It is therefore not advisable to apply manure or fertilizer on a hilly soil a long time before planting on the soil.
4. Type of manure to be applied
Time to apply manure depends on the maturity of the manure. If it is fibrous type, it must be applied long time before cropping to attain greater degree of decay.
Also, fresh manure like animal droppings should not be applied to the crops freshly, instead it should be dried before applying to the soil. However, fresh droppings can be applied to the soil 2 weeks before planting.
5. Time of application
The best time to apply fertilizer is early in the morning or late in the evening, these periods enhance complete utilization of the manure or fertilizer. Manure or fertilizer should not be applied the afternoon because the nutrients can be easily vaporized ,rendering it useless.
Also, when applying synthetic fertilizer e.g the N.P.Ks, ensure they are not retained on the leaves of the crop because this type of fertilizer are hygroscopic in nature, they absorb water from the leaves making them to scorch or dry off in severe cases. Watering immediately after fertilizer application is the best way to curb this occurrence.