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Mechanism of action of a basic fertiliser

Basic calcium-magnesium fertilisers have been used in agriculture for centuries, althought this practice was empirical until the early 20th century, when advances in crop science made it possible to use them more rationally. Nevertheless, a number of questions still remain, concerning both the choice of product and application rate and frequency. In creating its crop science department in 1992, Agriculture Balthazard & Cotte (ABC) decided to launch a vast programme of experimentation in order to get objective answers to these questions.


Understanding the mechanism of action of a basic fertiliser:


1- The calcium is not the agent

The pH increases. The effective Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) increases.
The neutralising effect is linked to the base, not the calcium.
The base can be stronger or weaker, and thus have more or less affinity for H+.




2- A basic fertiliser's mechanism of action



In 2001, Agriculture Balthazard & Cotte decided to invest in an open field study consisting of eight trials with four replications.
These trials are being monitored by Arvalis. The three-year results show a significant difference of 3.2 quintals (= 320 kg) per hectare in favour of the Oxyfertil® treated plots compared with the control.


Conclusion

Applying a basic inorganic fertiliser increases the surface electrical charges of organic matter and clays (increase in the effective CEC). We already know that this gives rise to an improvement in the soil's physical, chemical, and biological properties. We have shown here that the degree of alkalinity is linked to the type of dressing and determines its ability to change the effective CEC. The various studies referred to above confirm the merits of taking account of the strength of the base that is associated with calcium in developing one's agricultural economic plan.

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Agriculture Balthazard & Cotte - Le Puy en Clermont - F-03800 Gannat - France
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