NPK Fertilizer: What is it and how does it work?

NPK fertilizer is a complex fertilizer that consists mainly of the three primary nutrients required for plant growth. Agriculture relies heavily on the use of NPK fertilizers to meet global food supply and ensure healthy crops. About half of the world’s population is still living due to increased food production in the use of mineral fertilizers.

NPK Essence Elements

The plant has numerous building blocks that it needs for its healthy and proper growth. Without these nutrients, plants cannot increase their potential, thereby providing lower yields and becoming more rapidly diseased.

There are three important nutrients, none of which can survive without plants, they are referred to as primary macronutrients or essential nutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), respectively.

Often these nutrients may be deficient in the soil, either naturally or over-cultivated or for other environmental reasons. What is lacking in soil, must be ensured for their optimal growth in the plant and to create an ideal environment.

Every basic nutrient is essential for the growth of the plant; Plays an important role in the growth, development and reproduction of the tree.

Role of nitrogen in plants

Nitrogen is an important ingredient for many processes. In particular, nitrogen is essential for chlorophyll, which enables the plant to photosynthesize (by this process the green part of the plant can produce carbon dioxide and sugars from water in sunlight). Nitrogen is also an important element of amino acids as the basis of protein. Nitrogen plays an important role in the storage and utilization of plants.

Read more: Potential Vitamin Rich Paddy ‘Golden Rice’

A survey of granular crop production   showed the effect of removing nitrogen fertilizer on the crop. The study estimates that without nitrogen, the average yield of maize is reduced by 5 percent, rice by 5 percent, barley by 5 percent and wheat by 5 percent.

Source of nitrogen

Although nitrogen can be taken from the atmosphere and converted into usable nutrients and can be naturally present in the soil, it is almost always advisable to supplement nitrogen to ensure that they have the highest amount of presence in the plant. The following ingredients can be included in NPK mixtures as a source of nitrogen:

Inorganic source of nitrogen in NPK mixtures

  • Urea
  • Urea ammonium nitrate
  • Ammonia

Organic source of nitrogen in NPK mixtures

  • Cow dung
  • Compost
  • Dry blood pulp or blood mills
  • Dried feathers of cattle


Phosphorus plays a vital role in the development of healthy plants, including the structural strength of the plant, the protection of crop quality, the production of seeds. Phosphorus promotes root growth, helps flower growth, and is an important element of DNA.

Read more: Trichoderma fungi will work instead of chemical fertilizers and pesticides

Due to phosphorus, it is often possible to make solar energy the maximum amount of energy available for plants.

Source of phosphorus

Like nitrogen, NPK fertilizers can come from both organic and inorganic sources of phosphorus:

NPK is a common inorganic source of mixed phosphorus

The primary source of inorganic phosphorus is phosphate rock. Phosphate rock can be applied directly to the soil but is more effective if it is simply processed for plant adoption.

NPK is a common organic source of mixed phosphorus

  • Cow dung
  • Compost
  • Biosolids
  • Blood mill
  • Bone marrow



Potassium contributes significantly to the growth and development of plants. Potassium is commonly associated with many properties such as size, shape, color and even taste. It is often referred to as the “Quality Element” for its significant contribution to potassium.

Lack of potassium reduces the growth of plants and reduces yield significantly.

Source of potassium

Potassium is available from both organic and inorganic sources:

NPK is the common inorganic source of potassium in mixtures

Potash is the primary inorganic source of potassium for NPK fertilizer use. Potash, such as phosphate rock, is found all over the world and is processed as a refined product. Potassium can also come from sulphate compounds, langanite and granite powder.

NPK is the common organic source of potassium in blends

  • Dung
  • Compost
  • Wood ash

NPK Fertilizer Production

NPK Fertilizers are available in liquid, gaseous and granular form, the most widely known and widely used granules.

There are many methods for producing granular NPK fertilizer. To create the ratio or grade of nutrients, individual ingredients must be produced individually and mixed into specific formulations. Or, each grain can be produced by adding it to the desired ratio. Among the most common methods of producing granular NPK fertilizers are:

  • Pipe furnace granulation system
  • Drum granulation system
  • Mixer-Dryer Granulation System
  • Disk Pelletizing System
  • Spheroidizer granulation system
  • The prilling system

NPK fertilizers are mainly made up of three basic nutrients, allowing other micronutrients to be added to the mixture through processing. For example, NPK is gaining popularity in response to sulfur deficient soils as a result of the Acid Rain Act.

Mixed fertilizers made from a particular macro material are also popular for eliminating certain nutrient deficiencies in the soil of an area.

by Abdullah Sam
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