Whether it is a small scale or large scale farming, the ultimate goal is to achieve economically feasible profits/yield. This requires good crop production and management practices like preparation of land, seed selection, usage of fertilisers, etc.
Usage of fertilisers is one of the processes adopted by farmers to increase the yield. However, their overuse can lead to a loss of capital in addition to crop loss. Most farmers are not aware of the effect of fertilisers, especially in developing countries.
Soil is the primary resource of nutrients like minerals for the crop. However, some types of soil are not rich in minerals or are infertile. Even repeated farming can result in loss of fertility of the soil. In such cases, the soil is to be replenished with nutrients from the external source.
Also Read: Agriculture and Fertilisers
Manure and Fertilisers
Manuring is the process of addition of natural or chemical sources of nutrients for the crop. Natural sources include dead wastes of plants, humans and animals, excreta and other wastes. These on decomposition give organic products called organic manure or simply manure.
Manure improves the water holding capacity, aeration, and texture of the soil. These lead to the development of a new method of farming called organic farming where only organic fertilisers, pesticides, etc. are used.
Fertilisers are chemical compounds which include salts or organic compounds like urea, ammonium sulfate, sodium nitrate etc. They are the sources of plant nutrients like potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus. Fertilisers are commercial products mainly manufactured in factories. They have enhanced the yield spontaneously.
Chemical fertilisers should be used in optimum amount with great care. Their excess use may lead to soil infertility, water pollution, and even cause disease. Overall, it damages the crop. Hence it is advisable to use organic manure instead of chemical fertilisers.
Other alternative methods for soil replenishment are vermicomposting, crop rotation, growing of leguminous plants, etc.
- Vermicompost or vermiculture is the compost obtained by the activities of various strains of earthworms on organic wastes. These are used as manure.
- Crop rotation is an ancient method where different types of crops are cultivated in alternate years. This increases the mineral content of the soil. In some regions, leguminous plants like pea plants are also used in crop rotation.
- The root nodules of leguminous plants consist of nitrogen-fixing bacteria such as Rhizobium. These bacteria fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil, thereby increasing its fertility.
Soil replenishment is essential for the healthy growth of the crop.
Difference between Fertilizer and Manure
Following are the important difference between fertiliser and manure:
|It may be an artificial or natural substance.||It is a natural substance.|
|These are chemicals that are added to the soil to increase its fertility and productivity.||These are obtained from dead and decaying plants and animals.|
|Prepared in factories.||Prepared in fields.|
|Does not provide humus to the soil.||Provides humus to the soil.|
|Rich in plant nutrients.||Less rich in plant nutrients.|
|Absorbed by plants quickly.||Absorbed by plants slowly.|
|Costly||Comparatively cheaper and cost-effective|
|It harms the organisms present in the soil and also causes health issues in people consuming the crop.||It causes no harm to the organisms and improves soil quality.|