Biofertilizers and Green Manure

Biofertilizers (a type of organic fertilizers)

Substance which contains living microorganisms ex. Azobacter, Rhizobium, Bacillus, Nostac, Anabaena. When applied to seed, plant surfaces, or soil, it promotes growth by increasing the supply or availability of primary nutrients (nitrogen, Phosphorous etc.) to the host plant

Biofertilizers

Pros 

  • Increases crop yield by 20-30% & also provide protection against drought and some soil-borne diseases
  • Replaces chemical nitrogen & phosphorus by 25%, and stimulates plant growth
  • Cost-effective, Environment friendly & also helps to some extent, to cleanse the plant from precipitated chemical fertilizers
Cons 

  • Effects are slower compared to chemical fertilizer
  • Difficulty to store as sensitive to temp. and humidity changes
  • Much lower nutrient density — requires large amounts to get enough for most crops
  • Sometimes, are hard to locate/purchase in faraway rural areas

Green Manure

  • a type of cover crop grown primarily to add nutrients and organic matter to the soil.
  • a green manure crop is grown for a specific period of time, and then ploughed under and incorporated into the soil while it is still green or shortly after flowering
  • provides subsidy on purchase of seeds & on cost for production of seeds for green manure plants

 

Types

Leguminous plants 

  • Nitrogen fixing ability
  • Ex. Cowpeas, Soyabeans
Non-leguminous plants

  • for weed suppression & addition of biomass to the soil
  • Ex. Sudan grass, Millets, Sorghum and Buckwheat

 

Advantages

  • Helps in soil improvement and soil protection
  • Provides forage for pollinating insects
  • Deep rooting properties → Increase aeration of soil+ Efficient at suppressing weeds
  • Fix nitrogen in soil, thus Less chemical fertilizers are required
  • Provides habitat for predatory beneficial insects which kill and eat harmful insects thus less pesticides are required

Disadvantage

  • Leguminous plants require good amount of irrigation
  • The “time” factor: you cannot plant the primary marketable crop during green manuring phase.
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