Organic fertilizer

Meet four types of organic fertilizer and know what care needs to be taken!

Very well-regarded in agriculture, organic fertilizer can have animal origin, such as cattle, chicken and pigs, or vegetable origin, from plants and cultural remains. As Daniel Petreli, a Application Technologies specialist at Jacto, explains, “when it comes to organic fertilizer, it is always something that comes from a decomposition of some material.”

There are different types of fertilizer, with varied applications according to the material used in production. In this article, you will better understand what the main types of organic fertilizer are and what care needs to be taken when using these products. Continue reading and learn more!

What are the types of organic fertilizers available?

There are several ways to find organic fertilizer. So, let’s consider some of the more common types.

1. Composting and earthworms humus

Composting is a method that uses the decomposition of organic remains, such as dry leaves and food to produce a natural fertilizer. It is a great way to recycle waste that would be discarded, taking advantage of its nutrients to aid in the sound development of plants.

The compound used may have plant or animal origin. Before being used in fertilization, however, it needs to go through the decomposition process. This is necessary for the nutrients in the materials to become available for absorption without causing interference in the soil microbiota.

For the process, overlapping compost boxes or compost boxes are used as follows:

  • the bottom of the first box is lined with leaves, and the organic material is deposited above the leaves;
  • in a second box, underneath are deposited humus and earthworms. They help with decomposition;
  • in the third and final box in the pile, the liquid fertilizer produced by the process (slurry) is stored.

Composting is an excellent fertilizer for plants. In general, it is used in vegetable gardens. The producers prefer to put the composting on the ground and then plant the seedlings. Others put it above the ground. Both methods give good results.

This process takes two to three months. Therefore, it is crucial that, during this time, there is correct maintenance of the compost to ensure the earthworms health and the proper functioning of the boxes. One of these essential actions is aeration.

The proper aeration ensures oxygen in the compost, facilitating the material’s decomposition and avoiding odour production that could attract flies and other insects.

The first aeration occurs about 15 days after the start of composting when the material is hot. To do it, it is necessary to turn the organic material. After that, this procedure needs to be redone weekly.

2. Dung from herbivorous animals

Manure comes from various animals, such as poultry, cattle and pigs, and is the most traditional organic fertilizer. It is widely used in vegetable gardens and plantations because it has great potential as a fertilizer, especially when mixed with other types of organic fertilizers.

Before use, this type of fertilizer needs to undergo prior composting since there is a risk of contamination by harmful microorganisms present in faeces. This waste is added to materials on the floor and then turned over every three days, preventing them from becoming too damp. It takes about a month for the fertilizer to be ready for application.

3. Grass

Cut grass is an excellent material to serve as a dead cover in a garden or vegetable garden. It can provide essential nutrients to plants, such as nitrogen, and form a protection that preserves soil moisture and reduces the action of fungi, weed growth and insect proliferation.

Its application is straightforward: just take the freshly cut grass and spread it through the plantation. Another advantage is the low cost, especially in the short term. Because it is lightweight, it is suitable for virtually all types of plants. However, care should be taken to use it only when it is very dry, as it may grow mould at the bottom and contaminate the soil.

4. Sewage sludge

Petreli highlights that “sewage sludge is studied as organic fertilizer”. However, the sewage itself does not benefit the plants; the sludge resulting from the treatment process does. In it, we have an low cost, organic material. This is beside the fact that it is rich in carbon and nitrogen, which is highly beneficial to the soil.

So, the use of sewage sludge in agriculture ensures good results both in terms of sustainability and plant nutrition. On the other hand, attention should be paid to the risks of nitrate contamination, organic products that are toxic and heavy metals.

How do I know which is the best organic fertilizer for my crop?

The expert explains that “usually, registered organic fertilizers have a report regarding their minimum nutrients conditions. We use the dose according to the needs of each culture.” Thus, it is necessary to analyse the guarantee that the company offers on the nutritional conditions informed.

Petreli points out that “companies should be suitable, with good material analysis, good condition and traceability of materials. They should provide a list of the minimum nutrients conditions that the materials offer.”

Another point highlighted by the specialist is that, if the production of organic fertilizer is homemade, “it is important to be closely monitored because the materials undergo fermentation processes, decomposition and then mineralization. So, there is a process that must be respected so that there is no contamination or toxic effect. It must go through the process of decomposition and mineralization to be of good quality.”

Petreli adds that sometimes it takes many months for the material to undergo fermentation. The temperature will change, so it is necessary to guarantee that there is an ideal environment, allowing for decomposition. It may be required to dampen the material, separate the decomposed part with another and mix various materials to form the compound that will be used later.

Although it is possible to produce organic fertilizer on a rural property, it is important to seek fertilizer alternatives in the market to ensure higher quality production.

Organic fertilizers are excellent alternatives to meet the nutritional need of plants. These products can significantly increase property productivity when associated with other fertilizers, and when adopting application technologies.

Do you know of other types of organic fertilizers that are advantageous to the rural producer? Share in the comments!

Interviewee: Daniel Petreli, Application Technologies Specialist at Jacto.


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