In this article, we are going to see the differences between fertilizers and manures
- Fertilizer-focused fertilizer (Urea 46% N, Triple superphosphate 48% P2O5; potash potty 60% K2O); calculated amounts (per kg per hectare) can be used to accurately supply the nutrients needed by plants.
- Fertilizer does not contain humus (organic matter)
- Fertilizer, when applied to the soil, can have adverse effects on soil health or soil quality: (a) increases soil acidity (lowers soil pH); (b) creates a nutrient imbalance in the soil which results in soil degradation when repeated fertilization (eg urea) is repeated; (c) may reduce soil compaction, the diversity of micro-organisms in the soil and the ability to retain water in the soil as no organic matter (micro-nutrients) can be done in the soil.
- Most of the fertilizer is dissolved in water (N, K) and thus leaks easily into the soil with rainwater or irrigation water, leading to groundwater contamination (groundwater nitrate pollution) and surface and river water pollution.
- Manures are decaying waste from plant and animal waste including human waste. Examples include animal manure (cow, goat, pig, horse, chicken, duck, etc.), manure, vermi manure, green manure (sesbania, glyricidia, sun-hemp, azolla, etc.), and so on.
- Manures provide valuable organic matter (hence humus) to the soil which can help build soil health and increase the diversity of soil microbes. Remember, the soil is not compacted, it is a living organism with billions upon billions of bacteria.
- Manures contain many nutrients (N, P, K, S, Ca, Mg, micronutrients) but their concentration is very low (eg cow manure 0.5 to 1.0% N). Farmers should therefore apply organic fertilizer in bulk (10 to 20 tons per hectare) to provide enough nutrients.
- Due to a large amount of compost, it is difficult to manage, transport, and use it in the fields.
- The availability of organic manure is limited. There is not enough compost around all the farms that produce the food needed to feed the growing population. However, all the perishable waste we produce on a daily basis can be converted into living compost and bio-energy and thus provide the bulk of the plant’s nutritional needs. By doing this, we can solve the problem of solid waste (decomposing waste) and at the same time produce vital bio-energy and organic fertilizers that can enrich the soil and build world health.
The best way to supply the nutrients needed by plants is to use all the farm manure and fertilizer produced from municipal chemical waste to the fields and add a gap to the nutrient requirements with the selected fertilizer. This combined combination of organic fertilizers and fertilizers is called integrated nutrient management and is a very good nutrient management practice to produce high yields and quality products and at the same time maintain soil health or soil quality and soil pest diversity.