FERTILIZERS & THE INDUSTRY
Best Practice Recommendations for Fertilizer Sampling and Analysis
With the acceleration of global fertilizer trade, IFA members have reported an increased number of contractual issues related to the variable use of methods to sample and analyze international product shipments. As a result, IFA formed a broad-based working group with representatives from global fertilizer producers, traders and inspection companies in order to review and evaluate existing methods used globally, and to subsequently develop best practice recommendations which are validated by a committee of international experts.
Below is a list of best practice recommendations recently published by the IFA working group. These guidelines are available to the general public and should be considered reference documents for the international trade of fertilizer products. They should not be considered to be international standards; nor should they take precedence over existing national and regional regulations or standards.
(Updated: December 2011)
As a first step in the IFA Method Harmonization Working Group’s process of identifying methods for recommendation as best practice, mapping was carried out of globally-applied methods used to determine total nitrogen content in UAN liquid fertilizer. As an outcome of this exercise, a number of methods were selected and clustered around two basic principles...
(Updated: 27 July 2010)
Accurate and representative sampling is a crucial and challenging operation requiring knowledge of the product being sampled as well as of the correct sampling process. Trading parties within the global fertilizer industry often apply different methods and procedures for sampling operations, which can subsequently lead to varying degrees of representativeness of the samples being taken. In order to facilitate more effective sampling plans, the IFA Working Group on the Harmonization of Fertilizer Sampling and Quality Analysis Methods has developed a set of proficiency guidelines for the sampling of bulk fertilizer.
(Updated: 18 December 2009)
This best practice recommendation was researched and prepared by the IFA Working Group on the Harmonization of Fertilizer Sampling and Methods of Analysis. The IFA Expert Working Group evaluated analytical methods used globally for the quality testing of potassium content in potassium chloride (KCl) fertilizers. The global peer review process indicates that the tetraphenylboron method, in its two variations (gravimetric and titrimetric), is the preferred – or best practice – methodology for use in international fertilizer trade.
(Updated: 17 July 2009)
In global fertilizer commerce, trading parties often conduct varying sampling methodologies. In some cases, the methods conducted are not properly adapted for modern bulk loading practices, such as for high speed conveyor belt transfer systems. Following a global review, the IFA Working Group on Fertilizer Sampling and Quality Analysis Methods determined that the current sampling procedures for dry bulk shipments in different markets can often lead to varying representativeness. Through a series of pilot tests and procedural evaluation, the IFA Working Group has developed the following best practice recommendation to provide sampling guidance during international fertilizer trade. These industry best practice recommendations and laboratory guidelines can be accessed by the general public on the IFA Fertilizer Sampling and Quality Analysis “Centre of Excellence” web section: www.fertilizer.org
(Updated: 17 July 2009)
Laboratory chemists have come to acknowledge that, although a particular analytical method may have been validated by a collaborative study, a particular laboratory’s performance in conducting the method may reduce the precision and accuracy of the method itself. Consequently, national and international standards agencies have developed laboratory quality assurance accreditations in an attempt to minimize these discrepancies. In order to assure the delivery of the most accurate and precise analytical data, the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) working group on Method Harmonization has developed a set of guidelines for laboratories.