Tips for storing fertiliser safely

Farms across Britain use ammonium nitrate (AN) fertiliser. It is a popular choice for a number of reasons, including because it produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions than other products. Plus, it has a great mix of fast and slow release nitrogen. The first is available to the plants immediately to promote growth. Then the latter provides an effective long term nutrient balance.

While it is common to use ammonium nitrate, there is a risk with it. The fertilisers are oxidising agents, so they can accelerate combustion. If the conditions are, right they can even explode.

With the risks in mind, it is vital that people in the agricultural industry store the fertilisers correctly. You must do this whether you are a producer, a supplier, or the end user.

What we want to do here is take a look at how you should be storing your fertiliser to maximise safety.

The basic plan

There is a basic storage plan that people in the agricultural industry adopt with AN fertilisers.

Firstly, it is important to buy from a reliable supplier and ensure there is proper documentation.

Second, you should store fertiliser in a secure building or cover it with sheets so the public cannot see it.

Third, it is vital to check the fertilisers on a regular basis to ensure there aren’t any issues

Finally, you should avoid leaving it in the open for a long period.

Health and Safety Executive advice

The HSE also has some really useful safety tips to help with storing fertilisers in a building. We recommend you have a read over and make sure you are doing the right things.

As a starting point, you must make sure the building is dry, secure, has sufficient ventilation, and is fire proof. The floor should be level and free of any sharp objects. It is best to use pallets to elevate the fertiliser bags off the floor.

You can stack bags but need to be very careful. For example, stacks must never be more than 300t. They should never be excessively high either, and it is best to interlock the bags to provide stability. It is a good idea to have a 1m gap between your stacks too.

As we said above, ammonium nitrate fertilisers are oxidising agents and there is a risk of combustion. So, you should never store fertiliser near flammable materials like hay, foodstuffs, or grain. There should be at least a 5m gap or a 1.5m barrier of inert material.

Most importantly, you should ensure there are no naked flames near where you store AN fertilisers.

Speak to us if you want to order fertiliser

JS Hubbuck Ltd is a family run business with a fantastic history in the agricultural industry. Today we supply fertilisers across large parts of Scotland and England. Our services are reliable and you can expert support from our knowledgeable team.

So, if you want advice about fertiliser or want to order from a reputable supplier, speak to us. You can trust us every time.