Agriculture And Fertilizers

Every living organism requires nutrients for their growth and other metabolic activities. For their survival, they follow a mode of nutrition. We humans and animals depend on plants for nutrients. Plants have an autotrophic mode of nutrition where they prepare their own food and obtain their nutrients via photosynthesis. The soil is not fertile enough to provide essential macro and micronutrients to plants in sufficient quantity. Hence they need another source of nutrition. Manures and fertilizers are the alternatives used in agriculture for this purpose.



Agriculture is the art of growing food and cash crops for the basic requirement for every living being. This is practiced through a series of phases. In ancient times they used to cultivate in a very small field by using certain procedures for their management and improvement but today the agricultural practices and technologies are growing very rapidly as it includes a set of procedures to be followed to raise crops. The different agricultural practices followed includes the preparation of soil, sowing of seeds, removing unwanted plants from the field, manuring, and irrigation of crops, harvesting and storing of yielded crops. For the higher technology in farming and agricultural practice requires the knowledge of harvesting and methods of storing and protection of grains.

Types of Agriculture

Agriculture is divided into three main types:

  • Arable farming is a farming system of growing crops in fields. Paddy, wheat, barley are the main crops grown by the Arable farming system.
  • Pastoral farming is a farming system for producing livestock and raising animals. Beef, cattle’s, sheep’s, hens and other animals are examples of Pastoral farming animals.
  • Mixed farming is the farming system which is the combination of both arable farming and pastoral farming.



Manures are the natural source of nutrients obtained from cow dung, leaves, human excreta, and other wastes. Fertilizers are commercial products available in different forms like solid, gas or liquid. They contain salts and organic chemicals which consist of essential plant nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus in known concentrations. They make soil fertile and provide nutrients to plants for better growth and higher yield.

Types of Fertilizers

There are six different types of Fertilizers.

  • Potassic Fertilizers
  • Complete Fertilizers
  • Phosphate Fertilizers
  • Compound Fertilizers
  • Nitrogenous Fertilizers
  • Organic Nitrogenous Fertilizers

Use of Fertilizers

Unlike manures, fertilizers are very expensive and are used in large amounts in farming fields. As a part of crop production management, farmers largely depend on fertilizer. But they should only be used when it’s necessary. Manure should not be replaced by fertilizer as constant use of it may lead to infertility of soil and pollution. During over irrigation, fertilizers get washed along with excess water and are unavailable for absorption by plants which cause water pollution. Also, replenishment of organic substances in the soil get affected and microbes will be harmed due to clogging of fertilizers in soil. Sometimes fertilizers cause various plant diseases. Therefore, the amount and frequency of their use need to be checked and controlled. It should always be optimum.

Due to these disadvantages, nowadays organic farming is much preferred over fertilizer. Organic farming is a new method of farming where crops are grown with the help of natural compost.

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Practise This Question

Rhizobium produces nodules in leguminous plants.