If we consider the importance of mineral fertilizers in African crop production, they are top second factor immediately after water. The lion share of expenses farmer bears is dedicated to fertilizer purchase. Taking in mind constrained resources, it is obvious, that every grower seeks the highest possible net returns on their investments in fertilizer use when embracing it in their farms. In this conditions every single granule counts, and uncertainties in application, caused by uneven spatial distribution, should be avoided. But how to equally distribute several bags of fertilizer in the field having no machinery, but a pair of hands? What if the area of the piece of cultivated land is unknown, but the recommendation is provided in kilograms per hectare or kilograms per acre? Entrepreneur growers in Africa have natural solution to these questions.
To apply fertilizers evenly, farmers use improvised measuring scoops, which is nothing but an empty container having got to hand. Often, it is a lid of a plastic bottle for drinking water or metal top commonly used to cap soda bottle. The fertilization method, described further, is called «fertilizer point application», and might be divided into two following steps. At first, shortly before planting a farmer prepares holes at spacing defined by particular cropping guidelines and management technique. Then, one collects fertilizer from the bag using the lid and pours it into each hole, thus filling all of them with equal amounts. It is crucial to determine the weight of each dose applied in order to avoid under- or over-fertilization and make the application process less time and labour consuming. One bottle lid full of one fertilizer will have a different weight compared to the same bottle lid full of another type of fertilizer, as fertilizers are known to vary in density. Not always there might be access to scales or product specifications, or there might simply be no time or possibility to do math, especially out in the field during hectic beginning of the season.
Being a responsible supplier, UFCL has created online tool that calculates bottle lid point application rates relieving farmers from pain in the neck. With just a few clicks grower can figure out correct amount to apply taking into consideration planting spacing, fertilizer type and application rate. Check out the new web app here!