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What is Organic Fertilizer?

what-is-organic-fertilizer

What is organic fertilizers? organic fertilizer also called “farm fertilizers,” utilize organic matter (carbon-containing compounds) for nourishing plants. They encompass various types such as manure, compost, green manure, and biogas fertilizer. Their wide range of sources and long-lasting effects are notable. Nutrients in organic fertilizers are predominantly in an organic state, which crops struggle to directly utilize. However, microorganisms gradually release these nutrients, ensuring a continuous supply to crops. Applying organic fertilizers enhances soil structure, regulates soil water, nutrients, air, and heat, ultimately improving fertility and land productivity.

Introduction

Organic fertilizers refer to fertilizers made from animal excrement or animal and plant residues and other by-product resources rich in organic matter as the main raw materials, which are fermented and decomposed. Organic fertilizer has the characteristics of improving soil, fertilizing soil, increasing soil nutrient activity, purifying soil ecological environment, ensuring high-quality, high-yield and high-efficiency vegetables, and is an irreplaceable fertilizer for facility vegetable cultivation. Organic fertilizers commonly used in facility vegetable cultivation mainly include commercial organic fertilizers and farmyard manures.

Development Trend

As agriculture modernizes, people increasingly value organic food and ecological agriculture. Ecological agriculture produces eco-friendly food, making organic fertilizers vital for crop growth. Their widespread use can transform agriculture into a pollution-free system, bringing more organic food to our tables.

As the economy grows and urbanization speeds up, urban populations rise, leading to increased pollutants. These pollutants can be converted into organic fertilizers, essential for organic and ecological agriculture. They enhance soil properties, fertility, agricultural yield, and quality while reducing environmental pollution. To achieve this, the government should invest in classifying and treating urban pollutants, creating a new industry that turns waste into valuable organic fertilizers for agricultural use.

Organic Fertilizer Development Trend

Development History

Farmers throughout history observed bacteria improving soil quality for farming when they planted cereal crops in legume fields. In the 19th century, German and American farmers enhanced new farmland using soil from alfalfa or soybean fields. French scientists discovered plants extracting nitrogen from the air in 1838. Researchers isolated rhizobia bacteria, leading to microbial fertilizers. Nuttle Corporation became the first American company to sell bacterial inoculants in 1898. Biopesticides and various microbial products have been used since the 1940s. Despite challenges, interest in environmentally friendly biological fertilizers has grown since the 1980s, addressing pollution while providing nutrients.

Production Material

  • Agricultural waste: such as straw, soybean meal, cotton meal, etc.
  • Livestock and poultry manure: such as chicken manure, cattle, sheep and horse manure, rabbit manure;
  • Industrial waste: such as distiller’s grains, vinegar grains, cassava residues, sugar residues, furfural residues, etc.;
  • Household waste: such as kitchen waste, etc.;
  • Urban sludge: such as river sludge, sewer sludge, etc.

Classification

Brief Description

  1. Organic fertilizers can be divided into the following categories:
    1. Commodity organic fertilizer:
    2. Industrial waste: such as distiller’s grains, vinegar grains, cassava residues, sugar residues, furfural residues, etc.;
    3. Urban sludge: such as river sludge, sewer sludge, etc. 
  2. Biological organic fertilizer:
    1. Agricultural waste: such as straw, soybean meal, cotton meal, etc.
    2. Livestock and poultry manure: such as chicken manure, cattle, sheep and horse manure, rabbit manure;
    3. Household waste: such as kitchen waste, etc.;

what-is-organic-fertilizer

Fertilizer Treatment

There are also many methods of composting and retting for the harmless treatment of organic fertilizers, but Shanghai organic vegetable fertilizers use the EM composting method, self-made fermentation and ripening composting method, and industrialized harmless treatment.

  • EM pile decay method
    EM is an aerobic and anaerobic effective microbial group, mainly composed of photosynthetic bacteria, actinomycetes, yeast and lactic acid bacteria, etc., and has a wide range of uses in agriculture and environmental protection. It has many functions such as deodorization, insecticide, sterilization, environmental purification and promotion of plant growth. Use it to process human and livestock manure as compost, which can play a harmless role.
  • Fermentation ripening composting method
    If you can’t buy EM stock solution locally, you can also make homemade fermented ripening powder instead, and use the self-made fermented ripening and composting method for processing.
  • Factory harmless treatment
    If there are large-scale livestock farms and poultry farms, due to the large amount of feces, factory-style harmless treatment can be adopted. The technological process is as follows: excrement concentration~dehydration~disinfection~deodorization~formulation stirring~granulation~drying~sieving~packing~storage. In short, through the harmless treatment of organic fertilizers, the purpose of degrading organic pollutants and biological pollution can be achieved.

Production Difficulties

  1. A microorganism has the function of providing plant nutrition (such as nitrogen fixation genes, etc.), but does not necessarily have the ability to decompose pollution (ie, genes for decomposing substances). It is very difficult to implement gene transfer and requires huge investment;
  2. There are many types of soil pollutants, and more than 105 substances have polluted the environment. These pollutants have different structures and chemical compositions, so it is impossible to mix 105 kinds of microorganisms to make preparations. Gene transfer is harder to reach;
  3. The principles and strains of biopesticides and bioherbicides are very different. In principle, one fungus has one purpose. So only a single bacterial agent can be made. And play a longer time;
  4. Some of the bacterial agents in biological fertilizers are not typical soil microorganisms. When they are made into bacterial agents and applied to the soil, they are difficult to survive, and they usually only have a shelf life of 3 months before use.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Organic fertilizers provide plants with essential nutrients in a gentle and long-lasting way, promoting high-quality and pollution-free food production. They contain trace elements and non-toxic substances, creating a favorable environment for plant growth. Organic fertilizers also increase soil enzyme activity, improve soil properties, and enhance water retention and nutrient absorption. They transform into humic acid, which promotes plant development and reduces the toxicity of heavy metals. However, organic fertilizers have lower nutrient content, slower decomposition, and can be inconvenient to use. They can also contain harmful substances from waste and contribute to pollution.

what-is-organic-fertilizer

Agricultural Role

Improving soil and fertilizing soil fertility

The main substance in organic fertilizer is organic matter, and the application of organic fertilizer increases the content of organic matter in the soil. Organic matter can improve soil physical, chemical and biological properties, mature soil, and fertilize soil. The proverb in rural China that “the land depends on dung and the seedlings grow on dung” reflects to a certain extent the effect of applying organic fertilizers on soil improvement. The application of organic fertilizers not only increases a lot of organic colloids, but also decomposes many organic substances into organic colloids by means of microorganisms, which greatly increases the soil adsorption surface, and produces many adhesive substances, which make the soil particles cemented and become stable. The aggregate structure improves the performance of soil water retention, fertilizer retention and air permeability, as well as the ability to regulate soil temperature.

Increase crop yield and improve the quality of agricultural products

Organic fertilizers contain a large number of nutrients needed by plants, various trace elements, sugars and fats. According to analysis, pig manure contains 2.91% total nitrogen, 1.33% total phosphorus, 1.0% total potassium, and 77% organic matter. Livestock manure contains boron 21.7-24 mg/kg, zinc 29-290 mg/kg, manganese 143-261 mg/kg, molybdenum 3.0-4.2 mg/kg, and available iron 29-290 mg/kg.

Organic fertilizer is the main source of fertilizer for the production of green food

The production of pollution-free, safe and high-quality green food is first welcomed in countries with higher living standards such as Western Europe and the United States. Although the price of green food is 50% to 200% higher than that of general food, it is still popular. In the past ten years, the living standards of people all over the world have improved rapidly, and the demand for green food has increased day by day. Coupled with the advocacy and attention of government departments, the production of green food in the world has developed rapidly.

Problems needing attention in the process of fertilizing organic fertilizers

  • First, it is important to understand that organic fertilizers are effective but not a panacea. They lack balanced nutrients for high-yield crops. To optimize results, use chemical and foliar fertilizers when applying organic ones.
  • Compared to other fertilizers, organic ones decompose slowly, leading to delayed effects. Though their nutrient content is complete, it is low and decomposes slowly in the soil. Experts recommend using organic and chemical fertilizers together to maximize their respective advantages.
  • Before using organic fertilizer, fermentation treatment is best. This process eliminates harmful germs, insect eggs, and weed seeds, promoting healthy crop growth.
  • Lastly, take precautions with organic fertilizers. Avoid mixing decomposed organic fertilizer with alkaline fertilizer, as it causes ammonia volatilization and reduces nutrient content, causing an imbalance. Also, avoid mixing bio-organic fertilizers with nitrate ammonia fertilizers due to their high organic matter content.

Want to start producing organic fertilizers, start with our organic fertilizer production line!

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