At this point in human history, every one pretty much everyone knows about the importance of agriculture to society. We all need food to survive and in some lands, a large amount of finances have been invested into the agriculture sector. Farmers put in a lot of work to grow the food we eat. Plants draw a lot of water and nutrients from the soil that they’re planted in. If none of the nutrients aren’t replaced then this can have disastrous effects for crops that are planted later on. This is where fertilizers come in.
Not all soils are suitable for growing crops. Ideal soils for agriculture are balanced in contributions from mineral components, air, and water. The balanced contributions of these components allow for water retention and drainage, oxygen in the root zone, nutrients to facilitate crop growth; and they provide physical support for plants. In the event that soil for the intention of agriculture does not possess all of the desired properties for planting, then fertilizers can be used to improve the quality of the soil.
Fertilizers are anything that put back nutrients into the earth and help plants grow. Fertilizers can come in a variety of forms, but the two main types are Organic and Chemical. There are both pros and cons when it comes to the two types, and it’s up to you, the individual to know and choose what is best for you, your crops and the environment.
Chemical fertilizers, also known as, synthetic, or artificial fertilizer, are made from refined fertilizer substances along with chemical fillers. Ammonium sulphate, ammonium phosphate, ammonium nitrate, urea, ammonium chloride are just a few of the many different types of chemical fertilizers.
Some growers prefer chemical fertilizers because these products are a rich source of 3 important chemicals: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. However, there is a drawback. Chemical fertilizers do contain toxic compounds and acids that could affect plant growth and the soil itself. There are many debates on whether the use chemical fertilizers should be banned or discontinued because of some of the side effects associated with them. Still, the use of inorganic fertilizers persist for the obvious reason of their benefits. Here are three reasons why people choose to use chemical fertilizers.
The price is one of the reasons why some growers prefer chemical fertilizers to organic fertilizers; synthetic fertilizers are cheap. Apart from being affordable, chemical fertilizers are more accessible too. They can be purchased at garden stores, hardwares, groceries etc.
Another reason people go for synthetic fertilizers is due to the quick turn-around on results. You don’t have to wait for weeks or months before you can see the results once you’ve applied chemical fertilizers to the soil. You will see the improvements in your plants within days. Chemical fertilizers release nutrients at a much faster rate compared to organic fertilizer.
Chemical fertilizers are also more specific in their use. When compared to organic fertilizers, which do not always give specific direction on the amount to be used, chemical fertilizers generally give directions on how to handle and the quantity to be used accordingly. This can be a great help to famers in general.
On the flip side, there cons, downsides to using non-organic fertilizers. Here are a couple.
Chemical fertilizers tend not to be eco-friendly at all. For one thing, it’s made from petroleum products, which are not sustainable. In addition, chemical fertilizer can leach into water sources, causing water pollution. Manufacturing chemical fertilizer consumes enormous amounts of energy too.
Doesn’t Improve Soil Structure
While chemical fertilizers support plant growth, they do nothing when it comes to improving the soil structure and quality. Chemical fertilizers won’t enhance the soil’s health or support the life within the soil itself. Frequent use over time can do irreparable damage.
Frequent Application and Over-Fertilization
Because chemical fertilizers release their nutrients quickly, it is possible to over-fertilize plants. Over-fertilization can kill plant life and upset the garden’s entire ecosystem!
Chemical fertilizers aren’t recommended for repeated applications and long-term use. These products could cause the buildup of dangerous chemicals including as arsenic, cadmium, and uranium. In addition, long-term use of chemical fertilizers may alter the soil’s pH permanently, contributing to the release of greenhouse gases and killing off entire microbial ecosystems.
Now that we’ve learned a bit about synthetic or chemical fertilizers, let’s see about organic. Just as there are different types of chemical fertilizers, there are also a variety of natural or organic fertilizers. They have somewhat similar benefits as the inorganic types, but can have varying effects that can be both positive and negative. Here are some pros to using Organic fertilizers.
Better Soil Structure
Organic fertilizers enrich the soil by breaking down and releasing nutrients. This process improves the overall nutrient profile of the soil while also enhancing its structure. By using organic fertilizers, the soil is able to retain water and nutrients better.
Slow Release of Nutrients
Organic fertilizers release nutrients into the soil slowly. By slowly releasing nutrients into the soil, the plants could absorb all the nutrients they need to grow without stressing out or over-fertilizing the crops.
No Toxin Buildup
As we mentioned previously, synthetic fertilizers tend to release harmful acids and toxic chemicals into the soil, which may harm the plants. Since organic fertilizers are made from biodegradable matter, these products do not release harmful chemicals or salts that are deadly to plants or other life.
You don’t have to worry about polluting the waters or the soil if you use organic fertilizers. Organic fertilizers are not only biodegradable; they often enrich the soil and environment.
Now for the drawbacks.
A Slow Start
Organic fertilizers have to break down into the soil first before you can see the results. It’s not unusual to see the results within a few months after the first application has broken down completely. Do not expect overnight results here. That’s not going to happen.
Yes, organic fertilizers are more expensive than chemical fertilizers simply because of the way it is processed. But again, this product can be made on your own. There are many DIY recipes for organic fertilizers that you can create right in your kitchen. Maybe I will go over some of those in another post.
When it comes to choosing which to use, the decisions is yours based on your plants’ needs, the amount you’re willing to spend, and methods of planting. As you’ve seen, there are pros and cons on both sides, so weigh your options carefully.
At Your Equipment Suppliers, we can give you information and guidance on making the best choice for boosting you agriculture and food production business.