Return to Content

Digging deeper into organic-based fertilisers

September 10, 2019 by Jessica Fitch

Organic-based fertilisers are a crucial agricultural input. In addition to essential nutrients, they provide much-needed carbon to ensure healthy soils and, in turn, robust crops and yields for the farmer.

Using organic-based fertilisers and mineral fertilisers together generally produces higher yields than either used alone. This benefits farmers directly and improves their farms’ profitability. Combining the two types of fertilisers improves the organic matter content in soils and nutrient use efficiency, both of which improve sustainability.

Refined organic-based fertiliser products vs. raw manures and composts

Refined organic-based fertiliser products:

  • fill nutrient gaps when on-farm sources of nutrients from manures/composts are insufficient;
  • use a variety of source raw materials to ensure a high-quality product with a consistent and predictable quantity and balance of nutrients;
  • are processed to guarantee safety from pathogens and contaminants;
  • contain less water, making them much easier and cheaper to transport.

Raw manure and composts:

  • allow manures and plant residues to have a second useful life;
  • are available on farm or locally with no or little cost to the farmer;
  • vary widely in their nutrient content and balance;
  • require careful handling to avoid potentially dangerous pathogens multiplying;
  • offer no opportunity to control for and/or remove contaminants (indeed some contaminants accumulate through multiple cycles of recycling and re-use);
  • require space, storage and on-farm care.

If you would like to stay up to date with this series of blog posts, follow ECOFI on Twitter.

If you would like to be part of the discussion at EU-level, join ECOFI today.