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Manures and Fertilizers- Advantages And Disadvantages

Last Updated : 24 Aug, 2023
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Manure and Fertilizers are added to the soil to improve the fertility of the soil and increase crop production. Manure is made from organic matter such as decomposed plant and animal waste on the other hand, fertilizers are synthetic or naturally occurring substances. Both manure and fertilizers when used result in improved crop productivity, and maintains and increase soil fertility by providing essential nutrients.

Table of Content

  • Fertilizers
  • Types of Fertilizers
  • Importance of Fertilizers
  • Advantages of Fertilizers
  • What is Manure?
  • Types of Manures
  • Sources of Manure
  • Advantages of Manure
  • Difference Between Manure and Fertilizer
  • FAQs on Manure and Fertilizers


A fertilizer is applied to soil to increase the productivity and quality of the crops. It can be natural or synthetically produced depending upon the source from which it is made. Various nutrient in the fertilizer are Nitrogen(N), Potassium(K), and Phosphorus(P), Calcium(Ca), Sulphur(S), Magnesium(Mg), and micronutrients like iron, copper, zinc, manganese, molybdenum, and boron. Fertilizer can be applied using various types of tools like injection systems for irrigation type delivery, stakes for targeted delivery to the plant and spreaders for even distribution of the material.


Types of Fertilizers

Fertilizers are of mainly classified into two types i.e., Organic and Inorganic Fertilizers

Organic Fertilizers

Organic fertilizers consists of natural ingredients like compost, manure, and plant residues, etc. When they decompose, they slowly release the nutrient into the soil, providing a gradual and continous nutrient supply to plants. Organic fertilizers improve soil physical and chemical properties, microbial activity and water-holding capacity. They maintains long-term soil health and are environmentally friendly.

Inorganic Fertilizers

Inorganic fertilizers are chemically produced and consists of concentrated forms of essential nutrients. Inorganic fertilizers provide nutrients to soil more rapidly than organic, thereby addressing the immediate nutrient deficiencies. Excessive use can result in nutrient imbalances, environmental pollution and soil degradation. Inorganic fertilizers are categorized as follows:

  • Phosphorus containing fertilizer : Phosphorus is necessary for cell growth and proliferation.
  • Nitrogen containing fertilizer: Nitrogen is important for crop development. It forms an essential part of chlorophyll and amino acid of plants. It increases agricultural productivity and quality.
  • Potassium containing fertilizer: It promotes plant health, overall growth and provides resistance to disease.

Importance of Fertilizers

Fertilizers plays a important role in agriculture sector by contributing to food security and sustainable agriculture. The importance of fertilizers are as follows:

  • Fertilizers provide essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to plants that are essential for plant growth, and development.
  • Fertilizers use increases crop yields and quality by addressing nutrient deficiencies.
  • It help plants efficiently utilize water, sunlight, and other resources.
  • It allows to grow different variety of crops on the same soil.
  • It replenishes the deficient nutrient in the soil, prevents soil erosion and degradation.

Balanced application of nutrient, based on soil testing and local conditions, is important for harnessing the benefits of fertilizers while minimizing their potential drawbacks.

Advantages of Fertilizers

Fertilizers use helps in increasing agriculture productivity, improve quality of crops and sustaining agriculture. Some of the advantages of using fertilizers are as follows:

  • Fertilizers help maximize crop yields, and higher agricultural productivity.
  • It provide a balanced mix of nutrients, that is required for overall plant growth and development.
  • Nutrient utilization efficiency is improved by delivering nutrients directly to the plant roots and minimizes wastage.
  • Increased crop yields contributes to economic growth in rural areas providing higher incomes for farmers, and it support livelihoods in the agricultural sector.
  • It replenish nutrients in the soil, increases and maintains soil fertility for long time. This is essential for long-term agricultural productivity.

What is Manure?

Manure is organic material that consists of animal waste and other natural sources. It is used to improve the plant growth and increase soil fertility. Manure contains essential nutrients such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S). It can be prepared from various sources, including cows dunk, composted plant materials or organic watse, etc. It does not harm the environment or causes any pollution therefore, is best in the long run use.


Types of Manures

Manure is divided on the bases of the source from which it is formed. The manure is mainly divided into three types that are as follow:

Green Manure

Green manure aids in reduction in weed and increases the percentage of organic matter in the soil, allowing the crop to grow to its full potential. It prevents soil erosion and maintains the fertility of the soil. Example: Crotalaria.

 Compost Manure

Compost manure improves soil structure, increasing its water and nutrient-holding capacity. It improves crop yield and the nutritional value of the soil and crop.

Farmyard Manure 

Farmyard manure increases soil’s water holding capacity and improves soil structure, allowing it to carry more nutrients. It also increases microbial activity in the soil, which improves mineral delivery and plant nutrition in the crop.

Sources of Manure

The various sources of the manure are:

  • Human habitation wastes such as urine, night soil, sludge, sewage, and domestic waste.
  • Goat and sheep droppings, cattle dung, urine, and biogas plant slurry.
  • Slaughterhouse waste such as bones, meat, horn and hoof meal, and fish waste.
  • Agricultural industry by products and crop waste.
  • Water hyacinth, weeds.

Advantages of Manure

Manure provides various advantages as a natural fertilizer and soil conditioner. Its organic nature and nutrient content make it valuable for agricultural and gardening purposes. Some of the advantages of the manure are as follows:

  • Manure contains essential nutrients and minerals that are necessary for plant growth.
  • Manure releases nutrients slowly over time, reducing the risk of nutrient leaching and runoff.
  • Manure adds organic matter to the soil, improving soil structure, water-holding capacity, and aeration.
  • Manure introduces beneficial microorganisms to the soil, enhancing microbial diversity and activity.
  • Organic matter from manure helps bind soil particles together, reducing the risk of soil erosion caused by wind or water.
  • Manure replenishes nutrients in the soil, preventing nutrient depletion and maintaining soil fertility. This is important for long-term sustainable agriculture.

Difference Between Manure and Fertilizer

The difference between manure and fertilizer is as follows:

Features Manure Fertilizer
Source Organic waste from animals and plants Natural or synthetic compounds
Nutrient Content Variable and contains organic matter Specific nutrients in calculated ratios
Nutrient Release Slow release over time Immediate or controlled release
Nutrient Types Contains various nutrients naturally Contains specific nutrients (N, P, K)
Organic Matter Rich in organic matter Limited organic matter content
Soil Health Benefits Improves soil structure and microorganisms Focused on nutrient supply, less on soil improvement
pH Adjustment Can have some influence on soil pH Limited influence on soil pH
Environmental Impact Generally more environmentally friendly Can contribute to nutrient runoff
Application Timing Applied based on organic matter breakdown Applied based on crop growth stage
Overuse Less likely to cause nutrient imbalances Potential for nutrient imbalances
Application Often needs composting or curing Direct application or blending
Soil Fertility Maintains soil fertility over time Requires monitoring and adjustments
Cost Can be cost-effective, but labor-intensive Can be expensive

FAQs on Difference Between Manure and Fertilizers

1. Define Manure.


Manure is organic matter derived from animal waste, plant residues, and composted materials. It is often used as a soil amendment to improve soil fertility and structure.

2. What are Fertilizers?


Fertilizers are substances containing essential nutrients that plants need for healthy growth. They can be synthetic compounds or naturally occurring materials.

3. What is the important difference between manure and fertilizers?


Manure is organic matter derived from animal waste and plant residues, providing nutrients and improving soil structure gradually. Fertilizers are synthetic or natural compounds with concentrated nutrients for immediate plant uptake.

4. What Nutrients do Fertilizers Provide?


Fertilizers supply nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N-P-K), which are vital for plant growth and development. They may also contain secondary and micronutrients.

5. What is Green Manure?


Green manure is a cover crop, usually of legumes or other plants, grown and then plowed back into the soil to improve soil fertility and structure.

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