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Manures and Fertilizers

When crops are grown one after the other, it decreases the productivity of the soil. However, this can be overcome by adding manures and fertilizers to the soil. This increases the yield of the plants and also restores the productivity of the soil. Therefore, manures and fertilizers are paramount for efficient crop production.

Table of Contents

What is Manure?

Manure is obtained from the decomposition of dead plants and animals. They essentially function as sustenance to the crops. They help in the proper cultivation of crops. The addition of manure enables the soil to hold more water. Organic manures have acids that dissolve the nutrients in the soil and make them available to the plants.

Advantages of Manure

  • It increases the water-holding capacity of the soil.
  • It makes the soil porous and facilitates the exchange of gases.
  • The texture of the soil improves.
  • The number of microbes increases in the soil.

The process of adding manures is known as manuring. Manuring should be done at regular intervals, otherwise, the plants become weak. However, the use of manure has many drawbacks too. They can be rather difficult to transport and are not nutrient specific.


A fertilizer is a chemical substance that contains necessary nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous to make the soil fertile. Popular examples of fertilizers are urea, potash, and ammonium sulphate.

Advantages of fertilizers

  • They are quick in providing plant nutrients and restoring soil fertility.
  • They are portable and easy to transport.
  • Plants easily absorb fertilizers.
  • Fertilizers improve and increase the productivity of many crops such as wheat, maize, and rice.

However, these are chemicals, and they have the potential to decrease the fertility of soil if used constantly. Furthermore, it also pollutes water bodies.

Manures and fertilizers, both are added to increase soil fertility and enhance the growth of plants but are distinct in some way or the other. The major difference between manures and fertilizers are summarized below:

Difference between Manures and Fertilizers

Manures Fertilizers
Manure is obtained naturally by the decomposition of dead plants and animals. Fertilizers are chemical substances and are not typically natural.
It is not very rich in nutrients. It is rich in soil nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.
It is slowly absorbed by the plants. It is easily absorbed by plants.
It provides a lot of humus to the soil. It does not provide any humus to the soil.
They are prepared naturally in the fields. They are prepared in the factories.
These do not improve the physical conditions of the soil relatively These improve the physical condition of the soil.
Does not adversely affect the plant or the soil if supplied in large quantities. Adversely affects the soil and the plant if supplied in large quantities.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How is manure different from fertilizers?

Manure is the organic matter added to the soil to increase its fertility. On the contrary, fertilizers are chemicals that are added to the soil to increase its fertility. Fertilizers might harm the soil, but manure is environment-friendly.

Why is manure considered over fertilizer?

Manure adds nutrients to the soil without affecting its fertility. It does not damage crops and produces healthy plants. Fertilizers are chemicals which lower the fertility of the soil if used regularly. They also damage the crops and make them unhealthy for consumption.

Which chemical is used in fertilizers?

Ammonium nitrate, a good source of nitrogen is an important ingredient in the production of fertilizers. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are other macronutrients essential present in fertilizers.

What is green manure?

Green manure is the cover crops or plants left in the fields to decompose. These act as manure for the soil.

Does NPK fertilizer harm the soil?

The NPK fertilizer, if overused, harms the soil. These are often harmful to the soil food web.


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