(Natural News) Organic farming is becoming a trend – even for big agricultural companies which normally make use of conventional farming methods – and for good reason: Researchers found that using organic fertilizers promote greater plant growth.
A team of Brazil-based researchers conducted a study to see how differently plants – soybean, in particular – will grow if the fertilizers used to increase their fertility are all organic.
Using a randomized block design, four types of organic fertilizers were tested on soybeans planted in an area in the Midwest of Parana State, Brazil. The land used for the study was a no-tillage and crop rotation area. (Read: Yummier and juicier: Using natural fertilizers increases fruit yield and size.)
Doses of the following organic substances were used in the experiment in five repetitions:
- Organic mineral fertilizer, NPK fertilizer 02-20-10 + 25 percent chicken manure dose of 600 kg ha-1 at sowing
- Organic fertilizer chicken manure dose of 2000 kg/ha at sowing
- NPK 02-20-10 fertilizer at a dose of 800 kg/ha
To get more accurate and specific results, the researchers evaluated the following factors:
- The height of plants at flowering stage and grain filling
- The height of the first pod that grew
- Number of produce
- Thousand grain weight
- The number of pods per plant
- The number of seeds per pod
The results showed both the organic-mineral fertilizer and the organic fertilizer chicken manure positively affected plant growth. Moreover, they also helped increase the number of pods per plant, as well as produced pods that have two or three seeds inside.
Other benefits of organic fertilizers
Aside from improving plant growth, using organic fertilizers has a lot of benefits, not just in farming but also in the environment, and the health of the people consuming the produce.
- Lower cost and requires little time to prepare
- Conditions the soil
- Improves the fertility of the soil
- Improves soil texture, drainage, and aeration
- Produce that grew on organic fertilizers contain zero toxins
- Reduces the cost of maintaining the land
- Reduces the need for expensive farm inputs
- Promotes a safe and healthy environment
- Production of organic fertilizers creates employment opportunities for many people
- Competitive economy
Meanwhile, chicken manure is not the only organic waste you can use as a natural fertilizer. There is often other unused organic materials lying around your farm, or even your home, which can be turned into an organic plant food.
- Bone meal — This is made from scrap bones from slaughterhouses, which are then finely ground to produce fertilizer. Bone meal contains high levels of calcium and has up to 15 percent phosphate. It’s mostly used on flowers, bulbs, and fruit trees.
- Blood meal — This type of fertilizer is made from dried animal blood turned into powder. It is rich in nitrogen and is often used to promote green leafy growth.
- Shellfish fertilizer — Shellfish and crabs are crushed and processed to become fertilizer. It is also rich in protein and has a good amount of phosphate, making it ideal to boost flowering.
- Seabird guano — This is made from the accumulated excrement of seabirds. It contains high levels of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and other trace elements. Seabird guano is often used to promote flowering and growth of strong root systems.
- Rock phosphate — This is sourced from finely ground lime-phosphate and has high concentrations of trace micronutrients, as well as over 30 percent phosphate. Farmers use it, given it remains in its original state until the plants absorb its nutrients.
Get more insights about organic farming and its benefits at Harvest.news.