Fertilizer (or fertilizer) is any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin. This material is added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. Organic fertilizers are naturally occurring fertilizers (e.g. compost, manure).
Naturally occurring organic fertilizers include:
• Worm castings
• Humic acid
Processed organic fertilizers include:
• Blood meal
• Bone meal
• Humic acid
• Amino acids
• Seaweed extracts
• Natural enzyme-digested proteins
• Fish meal
• Feather meal
• Chicken litter
• Worm castings
• Poultry litter
• Cattle manure
Benefits of Organic Fertilizer
• Organic fertilizers have been known to improve biodiversity (soil life) and long-term productivity of soil.
• It may prove a large depository for excess carbon dioxide.
• Organic nutrients increase the abundance of soil organisms.
• They do so by providing organic matter and micronutrients for organisms.
• They include fungal mycorrhiza.
• They aid plants in absorbing nutrients.
• They can drastically reduce external inputs of pesticides, energy and fertilizer.
• Mobilizing existing soil nutrients leading to good growth is achieved with lower nutrient densities.
• Waste is less.
• Releasing nutrients at a slower, more consistent rate helps to avoid a boom-and-bust pattern.
• These organic fertilizers help to retain soil moisture.
• They reduce the stress due to temporary moisture stress.
• They help to improve the soil structure.
• They help in preventing topsoil erosion.
• Organic fertilizers avoid certain problems that are associated with the regular heavy use of artificial fertilizers.
• The necessity of reapplying artificial fertilizers regularly to maintain fertility is avoided.
• Organic fertilizers avoid extensive runoff of soluble nitrogen and phosphorus which leads to eutrophication of bodies of water.
• Costs are lower.
Disadvantages of Organic Fertilizers
• Organic fertilizers may contain pathogens and other diseases.
• They might cause diseases if not properly composted.
• Nutrient contents are very variable.
• The plant can use these nutrients but may not occur at the right plant growth stage.
• Organic fertilizers are comparatively voluminous and can be too bulky.
• This bulkiness might not be right to deploy the right amount of nutrients which will be beneficial to plants.
• More expensive to produce.
• The composition of organic fertilizers tends to be more complex and variable.
• Improperly processed organic fertilizers may contain pathogens from plant or animal matter.
• More labor is needed to compost organic fertilizer, increasing labor costs.
• More applications of organic fertilizer are needed to apply sufficient nutrients to the soil.
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