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Food, Clothing and Shelter are three more essential for mankind to live . We, all human beings of the entire world, solely depend on agriculture to meet our food needs. This leads agriculture to become the main profession of most of the people around the world.
Like any other business, farming also has the ultimate goal to get high yields at economically feasible costs for all processes involved in farming right from making the land ready, seed selection, fertilizing, harvest till bringing to the market. Especially, fertilizing process especially has a crucial role in farming. According to the needs, the fertilizers or manures are used to increase fertility of the soil.
Need for Fertilizers and Manures
Every plant needs nearly eighteen essential elements to grow. It gets only a few of them readily available from sunlight, air and water. It gets the rest of the essential nutrients and minerals from the soil. But repeated usage of the soil for continued farming makes the soil lose its nutrients and minerals.
Now it is important to provide the nutrients and minerals by external supply to increase the fertility of the soil. So adding fertilizer or manures to the soil is very important for sustainable farming, according to the requirements and nature of the soil.
What are Fertilizers?
Fertilizers are chemical substances from synthetic origin. They are inorganic materials that provide essential nutrients to enhance plant growth , increase the productivity of the plant and improve the fertility of soil. As they are man made , they can be get in specific forms for specific needs.
Types of Fertilizers
Fertilizers are classified into three types .
- Straight fertilizer which contains a single chemical component(either nitrogen or Phosphorus or Potassium) that provides nutrients
- Complex fertilizers contain more than one chemical component
- Mixed fertilizer is the combination of the above two. Depending on the needs, the appropriate fertilizers are applied.
What are Manures?
Manures are derived naturally from the organics wastes, crop residues and animal wastes. There is no chemical compounds added to it and manures are purely organic. They supply essential nutrients to the plants as well as help to improve the physical , chemical and biological properties of the soil. Based on the nutrients level of the manures, they are applied to the soil as per the requirement of the soil nature.
Manure makes the microbes present in the soil to be alive. The manure like farmyard manure, green manure, vermi -compost and sludge has low nutrient level and hence needs bulk quantity. Manures like oil cake, meat meal have more nutrients than the above said manures and added to the soil in minimum quantity.
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Manure and Fertilizers?
- Manure is the organic matter that is derived from decomposition of green wastes and also from human and animal excreta.
- Manures have comparatively less rich in essential nutrient content and provide remedy for general deficiency of the soil.
- Manures are not soluble in water immediately, so the plants cannot observe it immediately
- Fresh manures cannot be immediately applied. They need to wait for aging or prior soaking before applying to the plants
- Manures are prepared on land itself at zero cost.
- Manures stay in turf for long time and may create weeds and bacteria as well cause bad odor
- Manures are environment friendly and there will be no side effects on usage
- No guideline is required for applying manures
- The amount of nutrients of the manures cannot be predicted.
- Manures increase capacity of the soil to hold more water.
- As manures are derived from the decomposed farm wastes, they provide humus to the soil
- Fertilizers are inorganic and contain chemical substances.
- Fertilizers are man made chemical products and are rich in essential plant nutrients like Nitrogen , Phosphorus and Potassium.
- Fertilizers are soluble in water and the plants can observe it immediately.
- Fertilizers are always ready to use.
- Fertilizers are factory made and cannot get at zero cost
- Fertilizers are immediately observed by the plants and do not create any weeds and bacteria
- Excessive usage of fertilizers causes side effects and is harmful to the soil as well as toxic effects in the produce.
- Special guidelines and dosage are to be followed while applying fertilizers.
- Since fertilizers are factory made with specific formulas, able to know the nutrient levels of the fertilizers.
- Fertilizers do not increase the water holding capacity of the soil
- As fertilizers are synthetic , they do not provide humus to the soil
The Manures are organic and environment friendly and do not affect the soil fertility., whereas the fertilizers are synthetic and repeated or over usage leads to water pollution and spoils the soil fertility.
Manure usage helps the soil to improve its fertility and results in the toxic free produce , where the synthetic fertilizers, affects the crops and may give unhealthy food as a result. Manure makes the quality of the soil unchanged.
As NPK are inorganic and chemical fertilizers , the over dosage or wrong application will lead damage to the soil, plants and yield of crops toxic. This is the major disadvantage in using NPK fertilizers.
Fertilizers are harm to the soil as they kill microbes in the soil which help the soil to get easy consumption of nutrients and the friendly bees.