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Video: Organic Fertilizers: Types, Advantages, Rules Of Use
Organic fertilizers include manure, feces, bird droppings, peat-based composts, compost composts, organic-mineral composts, green fertilizers, etc. Of these, manure and poultry manure are the main and ubiquitous organic fertilizers.
In dacha farming, organic fertilizers occupy the first and main place, they are, along with other fertilizers, an indispensable link in increasing soil fertility.
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What organic fertilizers give
The positive effect of organic fertilizers on soil and plants is manifested in the following, they:
- replenish the reserves of nutrients in the soil and serve as a source of mineral food for plants;
- serve as a source of carbon dioxide for air nutrition of plants;
- have a "soft" action, slowly decompose and gradually release nutrients for plants;
- have a long-term effect and aftereffect on the soil for 4-5 years;
- are food for useful soil microorganisms, increase their activity and number;
- enrich the soil with humus;
- increase the absorption properties of the soil;
- participate in the creation of a soil-absorbing soil complex;
- improve soil structure;
- enrich the soil with growth substances such as auxin, heteroauxin, gibberellin;
- have a strong indirect effect on the soil, improve the water, thermal and air properties of the soil;
- generally promote plant growth and development.
Therefore, the importance of organic fertilizers in summer cottage farming can hardly be overestimated. These fertilizers are primarily the source of all plant nutrients.
With manure and poultry droppings, all the macro- and microelements necessary for plants are supplied to the soil. For example, each ton of dry matter of cattle manure contains about 20 kg of nitrogen (N), 8-10 kg of phosphorus (calculated as P2O5), 24-28 kg of potassium (K2O), 28 kg of calcium (CaO), 6 kg of magnesium (MgO), 4 kg of sulfur (SO3), 20-40 g of boron (B), 200-400 g of manganese (MnO), 20-30 g of copper (Cu), 125-200 g of zinc (Zn), 2-3 g of cobalt (Co) and 2-2.5 g of molybdenum (Mo).
Poultry droppings are on average 10 times more concentrated than manure. All other organic fertilizers contain nutrients in approximately the same quantities as manure. Due to the content of a whole complex of nutrients, such fertilizers are called complete, they can significantly replenish nutrient reserves in the soil and support the cycle of elements in the soil-plant-fertilizer system.
The use of organic and mineral fertilizers is the most important way of human intervention in the cycle of substances in agriculture, a method of expanding the volume of this cycle, a way of increasing soil fertility and plant productivity. In this cycle, organic fertilizers play a very important role. The use of manure means the involvement in it of a new portion of elements that were previously outside of this cycle of substances. The cycle of substances in agriculture also involves a large amount of nitrogen in the air, which is bound by the nodule bacteria of green manure legumes.
Manure and other organic fertilizers are not only a source of mineral nutrients for plants and soil, but also carbon dioxide. Under the influence of soil microorganisms, these fertilizers decompose, releasing sufficient amount of carbon dioxide to create a high yield, which saturates the soil air and the surface layer of the atmosphere, and as a result, the air nutrition of plants improves. The higher the dose of manure and compost introduced into the soil, the more carbon dioxide is formed during their decomposition and the more favorable the conditions for air nutrition of plants, especially during the period of maximum development of the vegetative mass of plants.
Organic fertilizers also serve as an energy material and a food source for soil microorganisms. In addition, organic fertilizers such as manure, bird droppings, feces, composts are themselves very rich in microflora, and a large number of beneficial microorganisms enter the soil along with them. In this regard, organic fertilizers enhance the vital activity of nitrogen-fixing bacteria, ammonifiers, nitrifiers and other groups of microorganisms in the soil, which significantly increases soil fertility in the country.
On low-humus, poorly cultivated soddy-podzolic soils, the importance of organic fertilizers stands out not only as a source of root and air nutrition for plants, but also as an important means of improving the agrochemical properties of the soil. The absorption capacity and the degree of soil saturation with bases (Ca, Mg, K) increase, its acidity slightly decreases, the soil mobility decreases (toxicity decreases) of aluminum, iron, and manganese, and the soil buffering capacity increases. Heavy soils become less cohesive, are easier to handle by hand, their moisture capacity increases, and less nutrients are lost (washed out) from such soils during heavy precipitation.
The use of organic fertilizers, especially in combination with mineral fertilizers, creates more favorable conditions for growing high and sustainable yields of various agricultural crops.
Of course, high yields of agricultural crops can be grown both with the use of only one mineral, and with the use of only one organic fertilizers. However, with their correct combination, the specific disadvantages of both types of fertilizers are eliminated, and thus the conditions for their most rational joint use are created.
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Disadvantages of organic
The disadvantage of organic fertilizers is that nutrients become available to plants only as they become mineralized. Consequently, the introduction of organic fertilizers alone is difficult to meet the needs of plants for nutrients, especially phosphorus in the first growing season of plants, although this requires a small amount of their mobile compounds.
In addition, mineralization of organic fertilizers in the soil can go in such a direction and with such intensity that plant nutrition will not be satisfied even during the period of maximum nutrient intake by them, which is approximately the end of June and the whole of July. Therefore, after applying organic fertilizers in the spring, it is imperative to add superphosphate when sowing various agricultural crops, as well as in top dressing along with potash fertilizers in June with inter-row cultivation.
Unlike organic fertilizers, many mineral fertilizers are fast-acting. The nutrients they contain can be used by plants from the moment they are introduced into the soil. Therefore, with the help of mineral fertilizers, it is easier to meet the changing nutritional needs of plants throughout the growing season.
The next disadvantage of organic fertilizers is that when using some organic fertilizers, the ratio of nutrients in the soil can be completely different than the ratio required for normal growth and development of plants. In the case of applying mineral fertilizers or combining them with organic fertilizers, you can create any ratio of nutrients required for plants.
From extreme to extreme
It should be admitted that now the practice of using organic fertilizers, including manure and poultry droppings, in many dachas remains unsatisfactory. Gardeners and vegetable growers tend to throw themselves in the direction of using only one organic fertilizers, then some mineral fertilizers, believing that only by this they can achieve the desired results. And they are deeply mistaken. In agriculture, organic and mineral fertilizers should be used only in a complex and in the right combinations.
Many gardeners apply organic fertilizers infrequently or in insufficient doses than is required to maintain high soil fertility. Instead of the required annual doses of manure of 10 kg per square meter of area, gardeners and vegetable growers apply significantly less. Incorrect storage is often allowed. They store organic fertilizers for a long time at their dacha, often for more than a year, leaving them as if in reserve. This is unreasonable, because this results in a lot of losses and a decrease in the quality of fertilizers.
It is allowed to store organic fertilizers in small piles, storage without covering the pile with peat or earth, which also leads to large losses. Sometimes they use them irrationally: they tend to use manure as a well-rotted manure or even in the form of humus, depriving the plants of useful carbon dioxide nutrition. Some gardeners practice the autumn application of organic fertilizers, not realizing that in this case they do not have a positive effect.
It happens that organic matter is embedded in the soil shallowly - to a depth of 7-10 cm, or, conversely, too deep - deeper than 18-20 cm. And such embedding is unacceptable for organic fertilizers, since they either decompose very quickly with large losses of nutrients, or release mineral elements too slowly for plants. The disadvantage in the use of manure and other organic fertilizers is often explained by the desire of gardeners to save money on fertilizers or underestimation of their importance for increasing soil fertility.
Read the next part. Manure: types, application and storage →
Gennady Vasyaev, Associate Professor,
Ch. specialist of the North-West Regional Scientific Center of the Russian Agricultural Academy
Olga Vasyaeva, amateur gardener