Handling and storage

Handling and storage has a major impact on the quality of fertilisers and it is therefore important to be aware of this. In addition, proper safety measures are essential when working with fertilisers.

The importance of correct handling and storage

Mineral fertilisers are perfectly safe when handled correctly in accordance with current legislation as they cannot burn or explode spontaneously. Moreover, they are non-toxic. However, mineral fertilisers can decompose when heated, causing toxic gases to be released. The safe handling of mineral fertilisers requires a focus on health, the environment and transport. Finally, handling and storage have a major impact on the quality of fertilisers.


Mineral fertilisers can irritate the skin and eyes. You should therefore always wear appropriate protective equipment, i.e. gloves, coveralls and safety shoes/boots when handling mineral fertilisers. If you are exposed to mineral fertilisers, rinse your eyes well with water and wash your skin thoroughly. Swallowing mineral fertilisers can cause a sore throat, abdominal pain and/or nausea. If you do, drink plenty of water and do not induce vomiting. No eating, drinking or smoking is permitted when mineral fertilisers are being handled.


You should act with safety in mind when handling and storing mineral fertilisers. When storing solid fertilisers, keep them away from strong alkalis, strong acids, organic materials, chromates, zinc, copper, nickel and cobalt compounds.
Liquid fertiliser Urean must not come into contact with nitric acid.
You should know what to do in emergencies such as fire or decomposition of mineral fertilisers. In this case, call the emergency number, have everyone present evacuated and arrange first aid if necessary.


Granules can be damaged when mineral fertilisers are being handled or moved. You should therefore avoid moving mineral fertilisers whenever possible. There are several concerns to be addressed when handling bagged mineral fertilisers and bulk mineral fertilisers. You should always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
When handling bagged goods, it is essential to lift big-bags correctly. Always use approved lifting or hoisting gear and fork lifts with rounded edges. Do not lift damaged big-bags. The big-bags must be cut open properly. This is often indicated by a dotted line.
When mineral fertilisers are stored in bulk, you should avoid moving or handling them whenever possible to prevent deterioration. In addition, big-bags should be prevented from falling hard during loading and unloading as this may actually damage the grains. Try to avoid mineral fertiliser spills as much as possible and clean up any spilled fertiliser immediately. In addition, loading and unloading is not allowed during precipitation.


Storage has a major impact on the quality of fertilisers. There are various instructions to ensure quality during storage. They cover both packaged mineral fertilisers (in big-bags) and bulk fertilisers (in sheds and bulk silos).
Before storage, always check the condition of fertilisers on delivery. Report any damage to the supplier without delay.

Bagged mineral fertilisers

Bagged fertilisers should be placed on pallets and stacked in a pyramid shape. Stacks should not exceed three pallets or big-bags in height.
Place the big-bags on a flat surface in a dry, well-ventilated area. Do not store fertilisers outside. If you do have to store mineral fertilisers outside, take measures to counteract temperature fluctuations and prevent fertilisers from getting damp.

Bulk fertilisers

Always store bulk fertilisers in a dry, clean and ventilated room on a waterproof and moisture-free surface. Check the shed regularly for leaks. Cover nitrate-containing fertilisers with plastic film. Prevent wide temperature fluctuations and avoid mixing fertilisers with other fertilisers. Keep fertilisers away from burning materials, hot objects, acids and alkaline substances.
When storing fertilisers in a bulk silo, you should always make sure that it is clean and dry before you fill it. In addition, the silo should be checked regularly for cracks and leaks. Prevent moisture from entering the silo. ​