Ammonium Nitrate, also known as NAM, is an agricultural fertilizer composed of a reaction between ammonia and nitric acid that provides nitrogen, the nutrient most absorbed by plants and essential for their development and production.
What is Ammonium Nitrate (NAM)?
Ammonium Nitrate is a nitrogen fertilizer with the molecular formula NH4NO3, containing half of this nitrogen in the ammoniacal form and half in the nitric form, hence the name Ammonium Nitrate. It can have from 32 to 34% nitrogen in its composition.
Nitrogen is vital for plant growth, acting directly:
• In the process of photosynthesis, as it forms part of chlorophyll;
• In the formation of essential substances such as vitamins, carbohydrates, and proteins;
• In the development of the root system.
Fertilization is recommended due to its importance and large amount required in the plant life cycle. It is essential to fertilize with this element to maintain the production levels necessary to sustain the world population.
What is Ammonium Nitrate used for in agriculture?
Ammonium Nitrate, or NAM, offers a high concentration of nitrogen for plants in addition to providing a harmony between two types of nitrogen with different balances Nitric Nitrogen (NO3-) and Ammoniacal Nitrogen (NH4+). This balance favors the absorption of other elements present in the soil solution. Additionally, Ammonium Nitrate does not suffer losses by volatilization, which greatly favors flexibility at the time of use and can be applied even in soils with little moisture.
Type of use
It must be used according to the needs indicated in the soil analyses.
A high-concentration source of nitrogen that can be used as a directly applied fertilizer as well as a component of blends in compound fertilizers.
- Supply of nitrogen, the most demanded element for plant development. Highly soluble, which makes it readily available to plants.
- It provides a harmony between two types of nitrogen with different balances Nitric Nitrogen (NO3-) and Ammoniacal Nitrogen (NH4+). This balance favors the absorption of other elements present in the soil solution.
- Ammonium Nitrate does not suffer losses by volatilization, which greatly favors flexibility at the time of use and can be applied even in soils with little moisture.
- It also has a lower soil acidification compared to other nitrogen types as the nitrification process releases hydrogen ions (H+) in the soil, enhancing acidity. As Ammonium Nitrate already provides part of the nitrogen in nitric form, there is less nitrification than other types.
White, beige or light brown granules.
Types of packaging
Bags of 50 Kg or Big Bag
Ammonium Nitrate is quite hygroscopic as it absorbs a lot of moisture from the air and has a prominent tendency to solidify. Therefore, it must be stored in a dry, cool, well ventilated place. It can also be treated with an anti-caking agent. In addition, it is a product with high oxidizing power, presenting a risk of combustion when interacting with other substances or in inappropriate conditions. Regardless, used under normal conditions, it is a stable and non-flammable form of fertilizer due to its industrial treatment. However, it should not be exposed to fire as it can increase flames and generate toxic gases, especially if contaminated with combustible material.
Highlighted ideal storage conditions:
- Store indoors to protect the product from extreme weather conditions such as rain, fog, and especially direct sunlight.
- Environment protected from moisture, which can cause agglomerations and dust, impairing its spreading capabilities. Avoid outdoor storage.
- If there is no alternative, the place must be well-drained, and the packages must be on pallets for thermal protection.
- Cover the piles with heavy-duty plastic wrap or a tarp to withstand adverse weather.
- Make the lashing with strong rope.
- Use pallets on top of the pile and white plastic films to avoid temperatures exceeding 32°C (50°C) for fertilizers based on Ammonium Nitrate, avoiding thermocycling with expansion and contraction of the granules until they rupture and generate dust.
How to transport the goods
The forklift must be suitable for the load transported. To avoid the forklift becoming unstable when suspending big bags, accommodate two handles on which fork.
To adjust the handles, make sure the forklift is off. After the manual accommodation of the handles, the employee must move away before lifting the big bag.
During handling, the big bag must be lifted as little as possible to avoid rubbing against the floor or other parts of the forklift and to not restrict the operator’s view.
The big bag must be accommodated without human intervention when removing the handles. The removal should only happen with the forklift in reverse or with the help of an employee.
Important: never make manual interventions in the accommodation with the forklift in motion.
Health and safety
- People directly involved in handling products, big bags, or sacks must use the personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriate to the activity.
- Unsuitable for human and animal consumption.
- Avoid inhalation and contact with eyes and skin.
- Keep out of the reach of children and animals.
Always respect the height limit of 3 big bags maximum per stack. If the batteries are above the ideal limit, there is a risk of becoming unstable and collapsing, which can cause accidents besides impairing the quality of the products.
The big bags must be on a well-drained surface with a firm base, if possible, on pallets at a distance of 1 meter from the locations’ walls.
A mechanical arm coupled to tractors or motorized forklifts are recommended and preferred for loading and unloading packages, such as big bags or pallets with sacks.
The pile must not tilt. In case it happens, fix it immediately, preferably mechanically, and with the utmost attention to the possibility of the packages collapsing and the risk of accidents.
Protect the pile with a tarp attached well to the surroundings of the bags.
Ammonium Nitrate storage and handling tools need to be clean as the element is not flammable but highly oxidizing and reactive. Its decomposition reaction generates a large volume of gases, which makes the inadequate storage of the product a hazard.
In the event of an accident with the product
Seek medical attention in case of ingestion or any adverse reaction.
It is indicated on the label next to the guarantees, considering that the ideal storage conditions are observed.