In the contemporary world, people are more health-conscious. They are concerned about the deterioration of the health and quality of crops and toxic chemicals finding their way into the food supply. This has made organic farming be embraced all over the world due to its advantages of promoting overall health as it has less exposure to synthetic chemicals than normal farming methods.
Currently, there is a paradigm shift in the type of fertilizers farmers are willing to use to improve the yield of their farms. Most farmers opt to use organic fertilizer instead of synthetic fertilizer. Despite the fact that the number of commercial certified organic crop production fertilizer is limited, there are several products on sale that claim to be organic fertilizers. Therefore, it is vital for the relevant parties to undertake efficacy testing to determine the authenticity of these products.
Organic fertilizers are usually produced from animal or plant waste or powdered minerals. Some examples of organic fertilizer include compost, manure, cottonseed meal, and bone meal. Organic fertilizers are usually referred to as soil conditioners instead of fertilizers since it is difficult to guarantee their nutrient ratios.
Organic fertilizers are generally perceived to release nutrients slowly. Therefore, it is difficult for farmers to over-fertilize their plants, which would harm them. Use of organic fertilizers for crop production reduces or, in most instances, eliminates, the risk of toxic build-up of salts and chemicals that are harmful to plants. On the other hand, use of synthetic fertilizers, which are made from minerals salts, increases the likelihood of killing roots and soil microbes if the fertilizers are not applied properly. Organic fertilizers are also biodegradable, renewable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly.
Organic fertilizers do not only release nutrients to the soil as they break down but also improve the structure of the soil. They also improve the ability of the soil to hold nutrients and water. As such, continued use of organic fertilizers improves the soil and makes plants healthy and strong. However, there is a potential for loss of nutrients from containers since organic fertilizers are usually applied in larger quantities or more frequently than synthetic fertilizers.
It is crucial for farmers to know how to apply organic fertilizers. Both organic and synthetic fertilizers are rich in nutrients. Therefore, farmers should add them in small quantities. Before applying organic fertilizers, farmers should undertake soil analysis to determine the existing nutrient composition of the soil. If farmers are not sure of the amount f fertilizer they should add, they should add a small quantity of fertilizer to be on the safe side.
It would be wrong to claim that organic fertilizer cannot harm plants or the environment. This is clearly illustrated by sprinkling blood meal directly to basil. The blood meal makes the leaves of the basil turn black when exposed to sunlight. In addition, manure runoff leads to algae blooms and may make water unfit for human consumption. However, the degree of damage caused by organic fertilizers is very small when compared to the damage caused by synthetic fertilizers. For instance, production of synthetic fertilizer involves milling and mining, which require fossil fuels. As such, synthetic fertilizers lead to greater ecological damage than organic fertilizers.