6 September 1996

Five N fertilisers pass the spreadability test

FIVE nitrogen fertiliser products have been awarded this years Fertiliser Manufacturers Association SP5 top grade rating for spreadability.

They are Hydro Agri (UK)s Extran, Kemira Fertilisers Nitraprill and Double Top, and Nitram produced respectively at ICI Fertilizers Billingham and Severnside plants. Double Top is the first granulated nitrogen:sulphur fertiliser to be rated under the scheme.

SP5 award can only be made to products that are produced exclusively from a single plant.

The FMA says the SP5 standard indicates that farmers can expect these products to spread consistently and accurately over widths up to 24m (78ft), provided the equipment used is appropriate, properly calibrated and well maintained.

"We hope and believe that if farmers think more about the quality of the fertiliser they buy, they will also think more about the accuracy of the machines they use to spread it," says FMA director Barry Higgs.

The FMA tests are conducted on randomly purchased samples by Silsoe Research Institute. Details of products that fail the test are not published, but the FMA receives a number of enquiries from farmers who have been approached by fertiliser sellers falsely claiming SP5 status.

"The right to use the SP5 logo is only granted for 12 months, and it is only valid if it is printed on the bag," warns Mr Higgs.

He says the rating gives buyers of the SP5 rated product a quality yardstick. "The FMA does not act as an arbitrator, but if you are not happy with the quality of the material supplied, the key physical properties are known, and a comparison can be made in the event of any dispute," he says.n