The battle between synthetic and natural fertilizers continues as organic farming takes center stage in the fight against some of the most common food-related diseases. As you well know, the majority of major diseases now have something to do with our diets and lifestyles. People are consuming food they shouldn’t. They are following diet fads that are plain bad for them. They are triggering quite several disease outbreaks because they are living such unhealthy lifestyles.
This also puts into question the kind of fertilizers that organic farmers use on their crops and food products. Since organic farming does not allow the use of synthetic and chemical fertilizers, what exactly do farmers use to grow their crops naturally? They use natural fertilizers, which have been extracted from living things. They can either be plant- or animal-derived.
Examples of natural fertilizers are animal manure, mushroom manure, sewage waste, food production waste, blood meal, bone meal, and cottonseed meal.
How can farmers ensure that they are using organic and natural fertilizers? Almost all biodegradable materials can be used to improve the soil and boost its nutrients. However, to really be organic, these materials should contain no traces of chemicals. Farmers must make sure that these fertilizers are free from chemicals by testing them repeatedly. Chemicals should also be removed from the products that these biodegradable materials are coming from.
However, this is by no means an assurance that all fertilizers labeled as organic are free from harmful contaminants. Problems occur mostly when the components of these fertilizers are exposed to pesticides, antibiotics, and other chemicals before or during the process to turn them into organic fertilizers.
That is why many farmers are depending on themselves to produce organic fertilizers. This way, they can be sure that they are producing chemical-free fertilizers for their organic farming activities. They source waste from animal husbandry operations for their compost. They then introduce microorganisms to boost the nutrients in the soil and plants.
Admittedly, natural fertilizers have lower levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium than their counterparts in synthetic fertilizers. Organic fertilizers have four times less the N-P-K levels of synthetic fertilizers. This, of course, does not mean that the latter is better. Natural fertilizers add vital organic matter to organic farming methods and they also improve soil texture. This is always an advantage for organic farmers because it lessens the need for them to provide the plants and crops with nutrients only found in the natural component of the soil and in organic materials.