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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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