Manure vs inorganic fertilizers — manure supports better soil quality by improving almost all soil properties

American Society of Agronomy Read full ScienceDaily article here

Researchers dug into how fertilizing with manure affects soil quality, compared with inorganic fertilizer in croplands…. They found:

  • Manure helped keep soil pH — a measure of acidity or alkalinity — in a healthy range for crops. Inorganic fertilizer made the soil more acidic.
  • Manure significantly increased total nitrogen compared to fertilizer treatments. Nitrogen is key to plant growth.
  • Manure increased water-stable aggregates. These are groups of soil particles that stick to each other. Increased water-stable aggregates help soil resist water erosion. Inorganic fertilizer application decreased these aggregates.
  • Manure increased soil electrical conductivity at all soil depths in comparison to inorganic fertilizer and control treatments. Higher soil electrical conductivity means higher salt levels in the soil…..

Ozlu said, “I recommend gardeners use composted manure, especially in solid form, because manure is the fertilizer that supports better soil quality by improving almost all soil properties. Inorganic fertilizer is better in terms of electrical conductivity, but it does not improve other soil properties and crop yields better than manure.”

Ekrem Ozlu, Sandeep Kumar. Response of Soil Organic Carbon, pH, Electrical Conductivity, and Water Stable Aggregates to Long-Term Annual Manure and Inorganic Fertilizer. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 2018; 82 (5): 1243 DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2018.02.0082