4 April 1997

FMA blend defence

SUGGESTIONS that the nutrient content of blended fertilisers can vary greatly have been slammed by the Fertiliser Manufacturers Association.

Leaflets circulated by Hydro to its sales force warn that the analysis on the bag may not be an accurate reflection of its contents.

The claim is based on Hydros own sampling and analysis of 32 blended products. The results suggest 18 would fail to meet the legal declarations carried on the bags.

Typical of the errors was a bag branded as 13:13:20. In Hydros test it gave an analysis of 13:9:23. But Barry Higgs, director general of the Fertiliser Manufacturers Association, says the survey has little scientific basis.

"It does not mean a thing." Sampling did not comply with Fertiliser Regulation protocols, so segregation of nutrients could confuse results, he says. Although errors can occur, there are few and most blenders have systems to avoid them, he adds. Indeed, trading standards problems are rare and show no sign of increasing.

But Mr Higgs welcomes Hydros commitment to quality and its guarantee to replace any of its fertiliser should it fail to comply with the bag declaration. &#42