Organic fertilizers

Manure is organic matter used as organic fertilizer in agriculture. Manures contribute to the fertility of the soil by adding organic matter and nutrients, such as nitrogen that is trapped by bacteria in the soil. Higher organisms then feed on the fungi and bacteria in a chain of life that comprises the soil food web.

There are two main classes of manures in soil management: green manures and animal manures. Compost is distinguished from manure in that it is the decomposed remnants of organic materials (which may, nevertheless, include manure).

Animal manure
This manure is feces — excrement of plant-eating mammals (herbivores) and poultry — or plant material (often straw) which has been used as bedding for animals and thus is heavily contaminated with their feces and urine. Cow, buffalo, horse and chicken manure are the most common you will find in India. Manure serves as a growing medium,or a porous, absorbent material that holds moisture and soluble minerals, providing the support and nutrients in which most plants will flourish. To maximize plant growth, it is sometimes necessary to dilute compost with soil or peat to reduce salinity or to add neutralisers to bring the pH closer to 7, or additional nutrients like fertilisers or manure, wetting agents, and materials to improve drainage and aeration, such as sand, grit, bark chips, vermiculite, perlite, or clay granules.

Green manures
Leaf manure These manures are crops grown for the express purpose of plowing them under. In so doing, fertility is increased through the nutrients and organic matter that are returned to the soil. Leguminous crops, such as clover, also "fix" nitrogen through rhizobia bacteria in specialized nodes in the root structure. As recycling continues to prove a worthy effort, the benefits of using compost have been extensively studied. The results reveal physical, chemical, biological, and environmental benefits. There are many uses for compost, all of which have proven beneficial in some way. Compost benefits the soil where it is used by improving drainage and moisture absorption, especially in soils that are otherwise poor quality. This makes growing in various types of soils easier and more productive. Compost also benefits the plant matter grown in the soil by providing nutrients to the plant’s growing area. Compost does not make an effective fertilizer for vegetable and ornamental plants, but it helps reduce runoff, making the use of fertilizer more productive and keeping it out of the water.

Worm manure
Manure is the aerobically decomposed remnants of organic matter. It is used in landscaping, horticulture and agriculture as a soil conditioner and fertilizer. It is also useful for erosion control, land and stream reclamation, wetland construction, and as landfill cover (see compost uses).

Environmentally, the use of compost has been shown to remediate, or clean up, contaminated soils by reducing toxic runoffs, binding certain toxins that might otherwise escape, and it prevents erosion when used near roadways, lakes, rivers, and streams. In addition to the biological, chemical, and environmental benefits of compost, the use of compost creates economic benefits. Using compost reduces the amount of fertilizer, water, and pesticides needed to produce healthy plants, and it is cheaper than artificial soils.