Should you use natural or chemical fertilizers?
The debate between natural fertilizer and chemical fertilizer rages on in almost all farm circles. Natural fertilizers, sometimes called organic fertilizers, are made of natural ingredients, such as manure or food compost. Chemical fertilizers are man-made and contain chemicals that increase the size and yield of your crops.
Almost every farmer will take advantage of some kind of fertilizer in order to guarantee the quality and volume of their crops. While it is possible to grow crops successfully without fertilizing, it's more difficult because soil conditions will dictate which crops can grow where, and after you've farmed a field for a few years, the soil can become weak and inhospitable.
Agricultural fertilizer is an important tool for most farmers. However, many consumers now prefer to shop for organic foods that are grown free of chemicals, so you need to be aware of local market trends before you decide which type of fertilizer to use.
Many farmers will find that they can charge higher prices for their produce if it's grown organically, and most will find that organic fertilizers are cheaper because they can be produced using farm waste products. Manure and food compost are the most common types of organic fertilizers in use, so a farmer who also grows livestock can simply load the animal waste onto a manure spreader and spread it over the fields.
However, when using waste products as fertilizer, there are environmental laws designed to protect ground water from being contaminated with animal waste. You have to pay particular attention to the irrigation systems in place, including the slope of the land, which will naturally drain moisture from your fields into local water systems.
Liquid fertilizer is a favorite among many farmers because it's easy to apply. Large operations may even take advantage of crop dusting planes to spread liquid manure over bigger fields. Liquid fertilizer doesn't have to mean chemical fertilizer, either. Compost and animal waste can easily be converted into liquid manure by adding water to the waste, compressing and filtering it into liquid. This helps farmers to combine the convenience of liquid fertilizer with the benefits of organic farming.