Using and storing ammonium nitrate in a safe manner

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Ammonium nitrate is one of the most popular simple mineral fertilizers, boasting the highest nitrogen content among fertilizers containing ammonium nitrate.

Properties of ammonium nitrate

Ammonium nitrate spreads very fast in the soil, especially if used after the sowing. The fertilizer is quickly and easily dissolved in water and it is very hygroscopic, which might lead to the formation of lumps. For this reason, the product is manufactured in the form of granules covered with a film that prevents excessive absorption of moisture. Ammonium nitrate is also quick to enter chemical reactions, which is why chemical additives are added to the fertilizer, such as magnesium nitrate, calcium carbonate, gypsum, ammonium sulfate and aluminum sulfate. They prevent excessive hygroscopic and explosive reactions of the compound.

Usage and storage

Ammonium nitrate is a universal fertilizer, suitable for all kinds of plants, for field cultivation and vegetable crops, flowers, shrubs and fruit trees, and various kinds of soil, as well as all kinds of grassland. The fertilization may be done before or after the sowing.

When storing ammonium nitrate, one must observe special safety measures. First of all, it should be kept in clean, dry and ventilated rooms, carefully insulated from the moisture in the soil. Storing the product in spaces only sheltered from the top and in open heaps is not allowed. Materials which may enter into chemical reaction with ammonium nitrate or that are easily inflammable should not be stored with the product. The materials include pesticides, fertilizers containing chlorides, metal oxides, powdered metals, acids, alkalis, coal, wood, straw, propellants, oils and lubricants.

Ammonium nitrate ought to be kept away from pollutants. What is more, is should not be stored in the same place with urea. Smoking or using open fire is not allowed in the spaces where ammonium nitrate is kept, while all electric wires in the warehouse ought to be secured well. Also, the maximum amount of the chemical substance stored in one room is 300 tonnes.

Palettes with bags containing ammonium nitrate should be placed in one layer, while small bags, for example 30 kilograms without palettes, can be placed in heaps which contain no more than 12 layers. Big-bags holding 600 kilograms need to be placed in two-layer rows. Minimum distance of 0.2 meters from the wall and 1.5 meters from a source of heat should also be maintained during the storage.