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Criticisms Of Home-mixing
Effectiveness Of Home-mixing
High-grade Fertilizers
Ingredients In The Mixture
Making A Good Mixture
Materials That Should Not Be Combined
The Filler
The Practice Of Home-mixing


Crops And Methods For Soil Improvement

A Bit Of Arithmetic
A Clean Seed-bed
A Few Combinations Are Safest
A Practical Test
A Southern Legume
A Three Years' Rotation
Acid Phosphate
Acquaintance With Terms
Adaptation To Eastern Needs
Affecting Physical Condition
All The Nitrogen From Clover
Alsike Clover
Amount Of Application
Amount Of Manure

Criticisms Of Home-mixing

The manufacturer's advocate formerly laid
much stress upon the danger attending the treatment of bones and rock
with sulphuric acid. That is a business of itself, and the home-mixer
has nothing to do with it. He buys on the market the acidulated bone or
rock, just as a manufacturer makes his purchase.

It is claimed that the manufacturer renders a great public service by
using supplies of plant-food that the home-mixer would not use, and
thus conserves the world's total supply. Let us see the measure of
truth in the statement. The manufacturer gets his supply of phosphoric
acid from rock, bone, or tankage exactly as does the home-mixer. His
potash he buys from the syndicate owning the German beds, and the
farmer does the same. These sources must contribute all the phosphoric
acid and potash used on land, if we except trifling supplies of ashes,
marl, etc., and the only difference in the transaction is that in one
case the manufacturer buys the materials and mixes them, and in the
other case the farmer buys them direct and mixes them. The remaining
constituent is the nitrogen. If the manufacturer uses nitrate of soda,
sulphate of ammonia, bones, tankage, or manufactured nitrogen, he does
what the home-mixer may do. Most nitrogen must come from these sources.
If all came from these sources, the increased demand would not affect
the price. The beds of nitrate of soda will last for hundreds of years,
the present waste in ammonia from coal is immense, and the supply of
manufactured nitrogen can be without limit. The saving in use of inert
and low-grade forms of nitrogen is more profitable to the manufacturer
than to the farmer who buys and pays freight on low-grade materials.

The rather remarkable argument is advanced that fertilizer
manufacturers do not make a large per cent on their investment, despite
the perfection of their equipment, and therefore the farmer cannot find
it profitable to mix his materials at home. By the same reasoning,
assuming for the moment that the profit in manufacturing does not pay a
heavy dividend on all the stock issued, if a great hotel does not find
its dining-room a source of profit, as many hotels do not, no private
home should hope to prepare meals for its own members in competition
with hotels.

As has been stated, every user of commercial fertilizer should learn
what a pound of plant-food in unmixed material would cost him,
selecting the common materials that are the only chief sources. If he
can buy a pound of nitrogen in nitrate of soda or sulphate of ammonia,
a pound of phosphoric acid in acid phosphate or steamed bone, and a
pound of potash in muriate or sulphate of potash for less than they
would cost in the factory-mixed goods offered him, allowing to himself
a dollar or so a ton for the labor of mixing, it is only good business
to buy the unmixed materials. The saving usually is from five to ten
dollars a ton, excepting only interest on money, as he would pay cash
for the unmixed material.

The cost of bags always is mentioned. That is not to be considered by
the farmer, as he uses the bags in which the unmixed materials come to

Next: The Filler

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