Characteristics Nitrogenous Fertilizers

  • Highly soluble in water.
  • Highly mobile in the soil hence it is applied as a top dress.
  • Easily leached because of the high solubility hence does not have residual effect on the soil.
  • Has scorching effect on young crops during wet seasons.
  • Easy to volatilize during hot season.
  • They have a tendency to cake under moist conditions.
  • They are hygroscopic hence should be stored in dry conditions.


Sulphate of Ammonia (NH4) 2 SO4-

Physical appearance:

  • white crystals,
  • Has acidic effect,
  • Contains 20% N.

Ammonium Sulphate Nitrate [(NH4), SO4+ NH4 NO;]

Colour: granules which appear yellow orange,

  • Less acidic,
  • Contains 26% N.


Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN)

Colour: greyish granules,

Neutral in nature, contains 21 % N.


Colour: small whitish granules

Easily leached or volatilized,

Contains 45- 46%N.


Phosphate Fertilizers

  • Has low solubility and immobile.
  • Non-scorching.
  • Has a high residual effect hence benefit the next season’s crop.
  • Easy to store because they are not hygroscopic.


Single super-phosphate

  • Appearance: whitish, creamy white granules,
  • Contains 20-21 % P, O5


Double super-phosphate

Appearance: dark greyish granules,

Contains 40-42% P205

Triple super-phosphate

Appearance: small greyish granules,

Contain 44-48% P205


Potassic Fertilizers


  • Has moderate scorching effect.
  • Moderately soluble in water.
  • Most Kenyan soils have sufficient potassium.


Marinate of Potash (KCI)

  • Contain 60 – 62% K10
  • Slightly hygroscopic.
  • Appearance amorphous white.

Sulphate of Potash (50% K10)

Compound or Mixed Fertilizers

These are fertilizers which supply 2 or more of the macronutrients.


  • Mono ammonium phosphate.
  • Di-ammonium phosphate
  • 20:20:20, 23:23:23

Advantages of application of compound fertilizers

  • Saves time and money.
  • Mixture gives improved storage properties and better handling.

Disadvantages of compound fertilizers application

  • Mixing may not be thorough.
  • Incompatibility of the individual fertilizers.


See also

Classes of food

How to raise livestock

Dirty environment and starvation

Cares for young animals

Healthy growth for animals

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