Farming is one of the most important processes for human existence. It is a source of food and other resources for animals as well. However, growing crops is not an easy ordeal.
It takes a lot of time, patience, care, and precautions. In this process, manure and biofertilizers play an important role in supplying nutrition to a plant. However, they are very different from each other.
- Manure consists of decomposed organic matter, while biofertilizers contain living microorganisms that promote plant growth.
- Manure enhances soil structure and water retention, whereas biofertilizers directly provide nutrients and stimulate plant growth.
- Biofertilizers impact plant growth faster than manure, but manure provides long-term soil improvement.
Manure vs Biofertilizer
Manure is an organic matter gotten from animal waste, such as chicken manure. It contains a mixture of organic materials, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Biofertilizers, are microbial inoculants that contain beneficial microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, or algae.
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Manure is the most eco-friendly and natural substance that improves the quality of output from agriculture. It is added to soil as it supplies several nutrients to it.
These nutrients are then used up by microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria present in the soil. Further, higher organisms in the food chain use these microorganisms as food. Ultimately, they end up getting used by plants.
Meanwhile, biofertilizers are mostly used as an alternative to chemical fertilizers. They are eco-friendly, but not as much as the former.
Since they already consist of microorganisms that are nutrient-rich, they make the process of supplying nutrients to the plant a bit quicker. Some of the most extensively used biofertilizers include blue-green algae, rhizobium, and azospirilium.
|Parameters of Comparison||Manure||Biofertilizer|
|Constituents||It consists of animal feces and sometimes compost.||It consists of living microorganisms.|
|Application||It is applied to the soil.||It is applied on soil, seeds, and plant surfaces.|
|Nature||It is the most eco-friendly substance.||It is relatively less eco-friendly and is used as an alternative to chemicals.|
|Benefits||It protects the soil and helps it hydrate and aerate.||It has no such benefits.|
|Example||Its examples include cow dung, cowpea, horse gram, composted plants, etc.||Its examples include blue-green algae, rhizobium, and azospirilium.|
What is Manure?
Manure has been reportedly used since the time of the Ancient Roman Empire. Then, the feces of pigs was mixed with soil to make it richer.
However, this only benefitted almond trees. Numerous years down the lane, several alternatives to this method were devices. Nowadays, manure is the most eco-friendly and non-risky method used while growing crops.
Substances such as cow dung, cowpea, horse gram, composted plants, etc., are mixed in the soil to supply it with nutrients. These nutrients get added into the food chain and are ultimately supplied to the crop.
When this happens, the crop benefits from a surplus of nutrients, giving it a better chance at maintaining quality.
However, despite being natural and organic, they pose several risks and adverse effects. Firstly, the odor of the substance becomes a huge problem for people who regularly work on the farm.
Moreover, they attract several pathogens that are a risk to health. They also attract organisms such as fruit flies and rodents.
Another problem is that nowadays, manures are spiked with antibiotics to make them more nutrient-dense. However, they still seem to be inefficient for plants in many cases.
These antibiotics may be harmful to animals that feed on the plants, and sometimes even humans.
What is Biofertilizer?
Biofertilizers are a relatively newer concept as compared to manures. They were essentially used as an alternative to pesticides and chemical fertilizers which are harmful to plants and hums.
The substance also proved to be more efficient than manure for the supplication of nutrients. However, it must be noted that biofertilizers are not necessarily healthier than manure.
Nowadays, the substance majorly consists of living microorganisms such as bacteria and cyanobacteria. These can be applied to the soil, seeds, and plants.
Therefore, it can often get cumbersome to use it as intense manual labor is needed in most cases. Moreover, several precautions need to be taken as certain biofertilizers can only be used for a specific category or type of plant.
However, an advantage of using this substance is that it is much cleaner and more hygienic as compared to manure. It does not cause any odor. Moreover, it does not attract pathogens and other insects, which is ultimately a healthier situation for farmers.
Regardless, the substance reacts differently to different environments. Therefore, it is hard to have a holy grail biofertilizer that can be used in all places for all plants.
However, several research is being conducted so as to rectify the limitations of the substance and also make it regulated.
Main Differences Between Manure and Biofertilizer
- Manure consists of animal feces and sometimes compost whereas biofertilizer consists of living microorganisms.
- Manure is applied on soil whereas biofertilizer is applied on soil, seeds, and plant surfaces.
- Manure is the most eco-friendly substance whereas biofertilizer is relatively less eco-friendly and is used as an alternative to chemicals.
- Manure protects the soil and helps it hydrate and aerate whereas biofertilizer has no such benefits.
- Examples of manure include cow dung, cowpea, horse gram, composted plants, etc. whereas examples of biofertilizer include blue-green algae, rhizobium, and azospirilium.
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.