ECHOcommunity Conversations

Who knows more about liquid fertilizer?


#1

Greetings,
We at the project Sowing Seeds of Change in the Sahel (Maradi region, Niger) are experimenting with liquid fertilizer and were wondering about a few details. The first question is how often or in what way can the ‘compost’ be continued for the production of liquid fertilizer. The second question we have is until what growing stage does one need to continue the applications; all the way through till harvest or does one stop at a certain stage?

Thanks, Jeannette


#2

Great questions. It would be great to know frequency of application for liquid fertilizers! Are you using compost tea as a liquid fertilizer or manure? An article published from ECHO’s West Africa Regional Impact Center says the following about the use of manure liquid fertilizer:

"After 14 days, the liquid fertilizer is ready to use. Liquid fertilizer can be used for nurseries, gardens, fruit trees, and other large crops.

Before using it, it is necessary to extract the liquid portion out of the mixture. This is the liquid fertilizer. Dilute a volume of this liquid in fifteen to twenty volumes of water (1 for 15 to 20) and finally to use this diluted solution by spraying the base of the plants once or twice a week. It is strongly advised to mulch the plant base before using the liquid fertilizer.

Please Note:

  • When mature, undiluted liquid fertilizer can be stored in a container of any size for a long time.
  • Undiluted liquid fertilizer can burn plants.
  • Even if diluted, if applied directly to plant leaves, liquid fertilizer can burn plants.
  • Liquid fertilizer can be applied 7 to 10 days after germination of the plants and is continued if necessary."

As far as when to stop fertilizing, it depends a lot on the crop! Here’s a link to a University website that explains N uptake and partitioning over time in general for crops. On the left-hand side, you will see where you can click to see the N uptake curves for different types of crops (they differ). Once flowering starts, most plants taper off in N uptake. If you are mostly interested in the liquid fertilizer for supplying Nitrogen requirements, I hope this is helpful!


#3

Stacy,

Thanks for your reply. We learned about the preparation and usage of liquid fertilizer at the ECHO forum which was organized here in Niger in March. So we have the info that is also published by ECHO’s West Africa Regional Impact Center. I guess it’s the type you call compost tea. That information however does not say anything about continued usage of the “solid” part. How often can you add water and then after two weeks extract the liquid fertilizer off that same compost? Has anyone of ECHO West Africa done any research on that?

As for when to stop fertilizing, the info you indicated in relation to the level of N uptake, that’s helpful.

Thanks,
Jeannette


#4

Oh great! I’m glad you were able to go to the forum. I asked Alain (one of the trainers in West Africa) and have copied his response below:

Hello Stacy

To answer Jeannette, you should know that the solid part of the liquid fertilizer can have several uses.

  1. Firstly it can be used directly by applying it in the field as compost.

  2. Second, if you want to produce a new liquid fertilizer just add the different materials required to this solid part and the production is restarted. Do not add water to this solid part to extract liquid fertilizer again at this time it will be a poor quality fertilizer.

  3. Third use you can leave this solid part dried and incorporate it in mature compost or during it manufacture. It is not advisable to use it to make compost tea because it would not contain enough nutrients for the plants.

In the hope that I have met your expectations, I ask my colleagues to make any additions if I have omitted certain things.

Let me know if you
have any other concerns about this.


#5

Thanks Stacy and Alain, that’s helpful!

Jeannette


#6

I’m glad we could help! Please let us know what you find to be most beneficial use of the bio-liquid solids in your context so that we and others can gain from your experience.