Organic does not equal fertilizer-less
Farmers who opt for organic farming need to resign from the many benefits offered by artificial fertilization. Environment-friendly farming does not put a ban on the use of fertilizers, though, nor does it exclude nitrogen-based fertilizers.
Fertilizers in organic farming
By definition, environmentally-friendly production of food is based on increasing the reach of natural plant cultivation methods. The fertility of soil is maintained by crop rotation and the maximum use of natural and organic fertilizers. The use of the latter kind of fertilizers is recommended as a last resource, to supplement minerals in the soil.
The fertilizer’s role is to maintain or increase the soil activity, and create perfect conditions for the development of plans. On organic farms, compost, manure and urine are used as basic fertilizers. Those may be supplied via mineral fertilizers (ground rock, chalk fertilizer, borax, phosphatic rocks) organic fertilizers (bone meal, tree bark, sawdust), and residue from natural water reservoirs.
Are nitrogen-based fertilizers banned?
The kinds of fertilizers which may be used by organic farms are subject to official regulations and the list is provided and updated by the Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation in Puławy. The substances which may not be used in organic farming include fertilizers based on communal waste, waste from fur animal farms, and mineral fertilizers produced by the industry, including carbon ash from combined cycle plants, power plants, and industrial plants. Nitrogen-based fertilizers are included in the last category.
Until recently, their use was banned altogether. At present, a small number of nitrogen-based fertilizers is allowed in organic farming. Consequently, agricultural manufacturers who wish to take up environmentally-friendly production are not limited to using compost and manure.
Why it is worth it
Nitrogen-based fertilizers which are used in the appropriate manner do not impact the soil in a negative manner. Their application, if done in the right way, does not lead to the accumulation of nitrates in the soil or leaking of the nitric compounds to the groundwater. Organic farming, which is as a rule distinct from the intensive farming kind, may reap many benefits from the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers, increasing the yield per hectare. Higher yield will help to reduce the price of organic food, making this method of cultivation of plants and fruits more popular.