Granular Vs. Liquid Fertilizer

AgriTec International has research from multiple agricultural universities backing liquid fertilizer over granular fertilizer. It has proven to be more effective than granular fertilizers in multiple way. 

How do I choose the best liquid fertilizer? 

Choosing the best liquid fertilizer will largely depend on what you are growing and where you are located. A comprehensive soil test is the most accurate method to determine which nutrients are needed in your soil. You can get your soil test here

Even without a soil test, there are some basic features to look for and understand when choosing a liquid fertilizer. 

 

Nitrogen

Nitrogen is an element essential for plants to grow. Nitrogen will benefit leaf growth, which is also why high volumes of nitrogen are required when growing leafy vegetables. Without this high concentration of nitrogen, these plants will not survive. 

Some common signs of nitrogen deficiency are when green leaves start to turn yellow, red stems, and small growth. Use nitrogen-rich fertilizers like Nitro-Maxx+ (20-0-0), 10-0-10+, 25-0-0, 9-18-9, and 10-20-10+.

 

Phosphorus

The function of phosphorus in plants is essential; without it, plants will not survive. Phosphorus stimulates root growth development necessary for plants to get nutrients from the soil. 

While phosphorus deficiency in plants is uncommon, some signs are slowed growth, dull foliage, or leaves turning yellow. A comprehensive soil test will need to be performed to know if your plants are phosphorus deficient. 

 

Potassium

Potassium is found within the plant cell solution and is primarily used to keep plants from wilting. It also acts as an enzyme activator and is necessary to control water uptake and photosynthesis. Some common signs of potassium deficient plants are yellowing of old leaves, weak roots, small stems, and low resistance to temperature and drought. 

 

Calcium 

Though often overlooked, calcium is essential to plant growth and is one of the primary trucker nutrients in the soil. Calcium will bind to nutrients like nitrogen and transport it directly to the plant. Without the proper calcium base saturation (65%-75%), nutrients become bound up in the soil. Having an appropriate concentration of calcium in plants will increase production and growth. 

Calcium is also responsible for cell division. As a plant grows, each cell divides into new cells, which divide continuously. The catalyst for this process is calcium. Without calcium, cells will not divide, and the plant won’t grow. When dealing with terminal crop growth, it is due to a lack of available calcium in the soil. Low calcium levels can mean slower growth, greater risk for disease, and poor crop production.

Some physical signs of a calcium deficiency are rust spots on leaf margins, hollow stems and branches, slowed plant growth, leaves twist and curl, and the middle and lower growth show symptoms first.


AgriTec International has engineered 
bio-activated liquid calcium, which is proven to neutralize soil acidity and raise pH, increase NPK movement into the plant, reduce soil compaction, increase root development, and strengthen cell wall structure. When treating a field, liquid calcium should be the first step. Before fertilizer is applied or seed is planted, it is important to prepare the soil. 95% of soil naturally has a low soil pH. Low pH leads to lost fertilizer, bound up nutrients, slowed growth, and dramatically decreased or lack of production. By raising soil pH, you ensure that your plant gets the most out of the soil, you have thick, full growth, and money isn’t lost by bound-up nutrients in the soil. Bio-activated liquid calcium will not only raise soil pH immediately while using the same nutrients as lime but maintains that neutral state to ensure effective growing seasons in the future. 

 

Calcium is required in higher quantity than any other essential nutrient in the soil and should occupy 60-75% of the soil’s base saturation of cations. Anything below that number can negatively affect plant growth.

While some liquid calcium treatments will need to be reapplied year round, AgriTec’s bio-activated liquid calcium has a 2-3 year soil life.

When determining which fertilizer to use on your crops, consider what your plants need most. When in doubt, take a soil test and connect with a soil advisor to determine an appropriate fertilizer program.

What are the benefits of liquid fertilizer?

Michigan State University performed 30 years of research on the effects of liquid fertilizer and granular fertilizer. They found that only 20% of granular fertilizer makes it into the plant. In contrast, 95% of foliar liquid fertilizers make it into the plant. There will be 4.5 times more nutrients available to the plant in 100lbs of liquid than 100lbs of the same analysis in a dry fertilizer material.

Six gallons per acre of a 10-20-10 liquid plant food weighing 11.4 pounds per gallon will weigh about 68 pounds. Assuming an availability of 90%, the plant would receive about 61 pounds of fertilizer per acre. Further breaking this down in terms of N, P, and K, the plant should receive and use 6.1 pounds of nitrogen (10% N), 12.2 pounds of phosphorus (20%), and 6.1 pounds of potash (10% K).

As noted from the above calculations, six gallons of liquid fertilizer would provide as much nutrition to the plant as 300 pounds of dry fertilizer.

“We apply fertilizer nutrient materials to the above ground growing portion of the plant. We have seen that materials are absorbed by the plant and move rather freely in the plant. The amounts may at first seem relatively small, but to offset this handicap, the efficiency is high. In fact, this is the most efficient method of applying fertilizer to the plants that we have yet discovered.”

If we apply these materials to the leaves in soluble forms, as much as 95% of what is applied may be used by the plant. If we apply a similar amount to the soil, we find about 10% of it to be used.”

Dr. H. B. Tukey Head of Department of Horticulture at Michigan State University

For more information on the effects of liquid calcium, click here.

Should I use liquid or granular fertilizer? 

While some liquid fertilizers may be more expensive than granular fertilizers, AgriTec has worked to ensure that our products are affordable, often being cheaper than granular. 

Liquid fertilizer seems the obvious choice, especially considering that only 20% of granular fertilizers make it to the plant. AgriTec’s liquid fertilizers and soil amendments can all be applied through any standard ground or aerial application equipment and through any standard irrigation or fertigation systems. Bio-activated liquid calcium can also be mixed with most herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and liquid fertilizers. 


For more information or to speak with a soil advisor, please click here.