A controlled release fertilizer (CRF), as the name suggests, is an improvised type of fertilizer which has a controlled release period. Mostly found in the granular form, CRF has a varied release period dependent on its release mechanism, longevity, controlling factors, and overall technology behind it. Interestingly, its longevity can be changed with the thickness of the polymer coating surrounding the prill i.e. increased thickness for increased longevity. The key advantage of CRF is reduced incidence of fertilizer burn which results in lesser nutrient losses. With a simplified application, it increases yield by more than 10% in most of the cases. Moreover, CRF can regulate plant nutrition by saving younger plants from stress caused by excess salt level and providing enough nutrition till the end of growth cycle. However, there are some challenges as well. The CRFs’ effectiveness depends on temperature and the optimum operating temperature is 10-32°C. On the other hand, dry soil can create a big challenge as it greatly reduces the amount of fertilizer released in CRF. We may try to initiate research and development of this type of fertilizers for Bangladesh. Dr. F H Ansarey Managing Director & CEO ACI Agribusiness
Illustration of a CRF prill absorbing water and then releasing the fertilizer solution.