What is saltpeter made of, how is it used in crop production, storage features

What is saltpeter made of, how is it used in crop production, storage features

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Saltpeter is one of the most famous and widespread fertilizers with good performance indicators, saturation of plants with useful substances and at the same time low cost. It is these qualities in it that attract many plant breeders and gardeners who constantly use top dressing on the plots and everyone, undoubtedly, is interested in what the saltpeter is made of.


  1. How ammonium nitrate is produced
  2. Fertilizer type
  3. Application as nitrogen fertilization of plants
  4. Disease Control Applications
  5. Does nitrate contain nitrates
  6. How to ensure proper storage of nitrate?

How is it produced

What is ammonium nitrate made of? NH4NO3, also known under the names of ammonium nitrate, ammonium nitrate, contains the main element - nitrogen. Moreover, it contains 26-34%

Sulfur is considered to be another important constituent. It can be from 3% to 14%. The formula looks like this: NH3 + HNO3-> NH4NO3 + Q

This substance is produced in chemical plants using nitric acid and ammonia, using chemical reactions between compounds.

All production consists of the following stages:

  • The acid is neutralized with ammonia in a gaseous state.
  • The resulting solution is evaporated for a while.
  • Ammonium nitrate goes through the crystallization stage.
  • The salt is dried.

First, the raw materials are sent to the neutralization department. As a result of the strong interaction, a lot of heat is released, part of the liquid evaporates, and the other part (the resulting water vapor) is removed.

The slightly evaporated solution passes into another apparatus - the pre-neutralizer, in which the acid neutralization is completely completed.

The resulting liquid flows into the unit, where the vacuum apparatus operates and evaporates the solution at low pressure. The evaporation process continues until the required concentration is reached - 98%.

Ammonium nitrate crystallizes on the drum, which is constantly cooled. The crystals turn into a crust, which is then cut off and sent to drying.

They are dried on special drums at a temperature of 120 degrees, after the end of drying, the raw materials are sent to packaging. Often, to reduce the caking and hygroscopicity inherent in nitrate, a number of other components are added to its composition.

In ancient times, the production of ammonium nitrate took place in a more natural, but laborious way, nowadays production has a large scale and a clear sequence of stages.

The factories produce several types of ammonium nitrate:

  • scaly, in this form it strongly absorbs moisture from the air, as a result of storage it cakes and does not crumble;
  • granulated is produced in special “towers” ​​where it is sprayed with a centrifuge and subsequently solidifies to form granules. Granular is more convenient to use, easily spreads over the field during fertilizing, does not stick together.

Fertilizer type

We found out what ammonium nitrate is made of, but in addition there are many types of this dressing, which are obtained by adding ammonium nitrate to the finished product to improve physical qualities and depend on the purpose of use.


This variety gives the main thing for plants: it saturates with a macroelement with nitrogen for full growth and development. Ammonium nitrate is used in many countries around the world and has long been proven effective for most crops. This species perfectly replaces such mineral fertilizing as urea.

Grade B

There are 3 varieties that are ideal for home use. It is sold in convenient prepackaged bags and easily saves indoor plants from wilting, drying, saturating with nitrogen.

Ammonia - potash (K2NO3)

Known as Indian Salt. The most effective type for spring feeding of garden trees, applying to the soil before sowing tomatoes and their further feeding.

Lime (Norwegian Salt)

Available in granular and plain form. The composition includes calcium, potassium, magnesium. Granules are very strong, absorb little moisture, therefore they are well stored. The composition is processed with fuel oil, which is not very desirable to use on your plots and gardens, because fuel oil is in the ground for a very long time before complete decomposition, causing great harm.


It is presented in liquid and dry form, contains calcium.

Magnesium (magnesium nitrate - water)

Saturates the soil with the necessary magnesium, especially suitable for legumes, vegetables.

Porous is the most dangerous variety, which is used not to feed the soil, but to produce explosives. It absorbs moisture very strongly and reacts violently with it.

Application as nitrogen fertilization of plants

The range of application of this fertilizer is wide:

  • for feeding flowers, various shrubs,
  • fertilize fruit trees, vegetables and root crops.

Growers are often used to produce good seedlings. Useful even during the active growing season. In addition to vegetable growing and horticulture, it is also used in indoor floriculture, combined with potassium salt. It is effective both in the summer months and during the winter dormancy, which is its distinctive feature.

There is a requirement for the depth of application - not less than 10 cm.Application measures depend directly on the initial composition and quality of the soil, the worse it is, the more top dressing will be required, 40-50 g per 1 sq. M.No more than 25 g per 1 sq. sq m.

The application rate differs from the type and variety of the plant. Vegetable crops are fed at least twice: before the appearance of the first buds and after the appearance of the set fruits, 5-10 g per 1 sq. M.

Root crops require 6-7 g of substance per 1 sq. M, for them granular fertilizer is distributed in small ditches between rows to a depth of 3-4 cm three weeks after the appearance of the first shoots. Fruit trees need more, and it is brought in with blossoming foliage. 30 g of substance per 10 l of water is thoroughly mixed and poured under the root. During the ripening period of berries on bushes, they are fed from the proportion: 50 g of dry fertilizer per 10 liters of water. It is advisable to carry out such feeding systematically, at least twice a month.

It is worth noting that it is necessary to adhere to some rules for applying fertilizer:

  • Joint use with organic substances: peat, straw, sawdust, chalk, dolomite. This can lead to the most unfavorable consequences: in the process of reactions between substances, they can ignite.
  • Houseplants are fed until the first buds appear.
  • Decorative - deciduous must be fertilized during the period of active growth of green mass.
  • An excess of fertilizers affects plants much worse than a lack of some substances, and this must always be taken into account and the norms and dates of application must be observed.

After entering the soil, nitrogen mineralized by microorganisms from ammonium nitrate begins to be rapidly absorbed by plants. Each time the substance is introduced, it is necessary to water the culture abundantly with water so that the saltpeter dissolves better and reactions begin with the absorbing soil complex.

If the soil lacks calcium, after feeding with ammonium nitrate, temporary acidification of the soil occurs:

  • On soils with high acidity, acidification can be reduced and the quality of the soil can be improved by liming;
  • Sod-podzolic soils require the introduction of neutralized or lime-ammonium nitrate.
  • Gray and black soils are not acidified due to the content of the bases. For these types of soils, ammonium nitrate is one of the best and most effective fertilizers.

Disease Control Applications

Ammonium nitrate, in addition to its direct purpose - saturating the soil with nitrogen, protects plants from many diseases and increases their resistance to diseases. With an incorrectly performed crop rotation scheme, long-term cultivation in place of a monoculture, there is an increase in the number of pathogenic fungi, leading to spoilage of the crop.

The best prevention of this phenomenon is the observance of crop rotation, the treatment of the site with disinfecting compounds, for example, a solution of potassium permanganate, and the introduction of ammonium nitrate for plowing in the spring. This technique allows you to increase the immunity of crops, which simply will not allow large colonies of fungi to multiply.

In addition, ammonium nitrate normalizes the processes of photosynthesis in the green part of plants, improves the structure of tissues, stimulates active "respiration", increases the storage rates of the already harvested crop.

Does nitrate contain nitrates?

Each of us knows that the content of nitrates in vegetables, fruits and berries is harmful and dangerous for the human body. Ammonium nitrate is a bright representative of nitrate dressings.

But few realize that ordinary organic fertilizer: peat, manure, compost can also increase the content of nitrates in the soil, and, consequently, in the fruits. Their excessive introduction is no less harmful than the use of mineral dressings.

Therefore, the main rule for using any of them is compliance with the norms established by science.

It is undesirable to use top dressing for crops such as:

  • Cucumbers.
  • Pumpkin.
  • Zucchini.
  • Patissons.

It is for these crops that nitrate is capable of starting the processes of accumulating nitrates. To avoid the accumulation of unwanted substances, it is worth stopping feeding at least 15 days before harvesting.

How to ensure proper storage of nitrate?

Fertilizers are characterized by such qualities as:

  • Hygroscopicity, that is, the ability to absorb moisture from the air, this indicator is very high for ammonium nitrate, therefore it damp, cakes and loses its physical properties. It is possible to avoid this by choosing the correct storage location: the container with fertilizer does not get wet, the room should be uninhabited, well-ventilated and dry.
  • Each type of fertilizer is stored separately. Saltpeter is a rather dangerous explosive compound and can catch fire on contact with certain substances. Contamination of top dressing with garbage: scraps of paper, fabric entails the appearance of hot substances, which, upon contact with nitrate, ignite and even detonate.
  • Traceability often brings great convenience for gardeners and gardeners. They have to make a lot of effort in order to break up the lumps of top dressing and crush them into small particles. The most convenient way is to sift through a large sieve. Or put them in a sturdy bag and crush them with gentle blows, as saltpeter can detonate!
  • Spreadability is a useful quality, thanks to which the substances can be easily distributed over the area during feeding. To avoid dampness and mixing of granules into a solid porridge, store fertilizers in a container with a tightly closed lid.

At the same time, the compounds do not lose their main properties as fertilizers, only the ability to quickly and conveniently apply to the soil is lost.

Packaging or containers should be made of plastic or enameled metal. The most important condition is complete isolation from moisture. According to safety precautions, it is forbidden to use open fire near ammonium nitrate.

Today it is quite difficult for plant growing to do without mineral nitrogen fertilizers. Thanks to them, gardeners and flower growers can always get a good harvest.

Ammonium nitrate is one of the most inexpensive types of feeding available to everyone. This explains its great popularity and ubiquity of use.

For more information on the use of nitrogen fertilizers, see the video:

Watch the video: Sulfuric acid production using contact process - worldofchemicals (May 2022).