Using the CRF Timer to Track Nutrient Release

Ensuring crops have the required nutrients at the right time is essential for successful, sustainable agricultural production

April 18, 2023
2 mins

For crops to thrive and reach their full yield potential, they need a balanced nutrient supply throughout the growing season. If too few nutrients are available, plants will suffer from nutrient deficiency. Meanwhile, an oversupply can lead to the loss of nutrients to the environment.

Controlled Release Fertilisers (CRFs) are an excellent tool to meet the needs of plants throughout the growing season. A single CRF fertiliser application can deliver a steady supply of nutrients for up to 6 months. CRFs are granular fertilisers covered with a special coating that manages the rate of nutrient release. Matching the release rate to the crops’ demands prevents nutrients from being lost to the environment, which increases nutrient use efficiency.



CRF Longevity

All ICL CRFs state their longevity. This longevity is the period of nutrient release, but it is only an indication as the actual nutrient release rate will depend on variations in soil temperature. When the temperature is lower, crops need fewer nutrients, so the CRF slows down the release of nutrients. As the soil warms up, the release rate increases to match the increased requirements of the plants. All ICL CRF longevities assume a consistent soil temperature of 21°C.

Different Conditions Alter the Nutrient Release Rate

With the actual nutrient release rate depending on local conditions, ICL has developed an app to help growers determine what proportion of the CRF nutrients remain. The CRF Timer taps into data from 400 weather stations in 48 countries. The app uses the data from the weather stations to calculate the actual release of nutrients for the location.

Developed for E-Max Release Technology

ICL has designed the CRF Timer app for all ICL products that employ our E-Max release technology. The app is simple to use:

  • identify the nearest weather station,
  • select the fertiliser product and its longevity, and
  • enter the date of the fertiliser application.

The CRF timer uses the weather station data to calculate the proportion of the nutrients the fertiliser has released and what is remaining and available for the rest of the growing period.

Planning for the Coming Seasons

And the CRF Timer has another use too. It is ideal for designing a fertiliser strategy for future cropping seasons. Knowing the location and crop, you can use the app to calculate which longevity best fits your crop and conditions.

So if you have already applied your ICL controlled release fertiliser, or are planning to use a CRF for a future crop, download the CRF Timer app now to understand the true nutrient availability from your controlled release fertiliser.

Download the CRF Timer for iPhone and iPad from the App Store.

Download the CRF Timer from the App Store