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What is the difference between organic and mineral fertilizers? 

Organic fertilizer
Written by Han van der Kooij | Last update: 06-11-2020

The difference between mineral and organic fertilizers is their composition and functions. Mineral fertilizers provide large amounts of nutrients that plants need to grow strong. Organic resources contain organic carbon which is an essential ingredient for healthy soil. To be able to create the optimal NPK proportion, the right amount of these nutritional elements is of high importance. NPK stands for the elements nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), which are needed for a solid base. In this article, the difference between organic and mineral fertilizers, also called chemical fertilizers, is explained by our fertilizer specialist. 

Organic fertilizers

Organic fertilizers consist of natural materials, such as bacteria, molds, insects, worms and other organisms. The soil live is stimulated by these natural materials. Organic fertilizers often need to be converted by certain organisms in the soil, in order to become available to the plant as nutrition. The moment, amount and order in which the elements are taken in, are decided by the plant itself. Organic fertilizers indirectly ensure the plant’s resistance for plagues, viruses and diseases.  

For some cultivators, the use of organic fertilizers brings along a disadvantage; the product can smell. This because they’re made of natural materials of plant or animal origin. Apart from the disadvantages, organic fertilizers also have many advantages. Our fertilizer specialist highlights some of the advantages.

Video: SQM Fertilizers

Mineral fertilizers

Mineral fertilizers, also known as chemical fertilizers, are not fully built on natural materials. This, because mineral fertilizers emerge after a chemical process. Nonetheless, the materials that can be found in these fertilizers, can also be found in the natural environment. 

All elements that are present in a mineral fertilizer can be taken in by the plant instantly, since no conversion is needed. This is seen as an advantage, because the fertilizer is not dependent on the soil live. Besides, these fertilizers are easily soluble and therefore easy to add to the plant. In addition, the nutritional scheme can be composed in line with the plant’s needs and is therefore always in line with the cultivator’s wishes.

As opposed to making use of organic fertilizers, the use of mineral fertilizers gives the plant the opportunity to ‘choose’ one or more element which is needed at that specific moment. With mineral fertilizers the possibility for a more steered/aimed fertilization is given. Therefore, it is possible to meet all of the plant’s needs, which are calculated in the nutritional scheme. The crop’s ‘choice’ is no longer necessary. 

The soil live is not contributed to by mineral fertilizers, which can be seen as a disadvantage. Also, the amount of sodium in mineral fertilizers is higher than in organic fertilizers. Sodium could pile up and cause damage in the roots, if mineral fertilizers aren’t added to the plant correctly. This is definitely something that should be paid attention to when making use of mineral fertilizers.

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Which fertilizers are better for the crop?

The right choice of fertilizer for your crop, is dependent on several factors. The type of substrate, nutritional need and sensitivity of the crop, and the way in which you like to add fertilizers to the crop, are factors that should be taken into account when making a decision. 

In the process of making a choice between the two types of fertilizers, it is recommended to be advised by one of our fertilizer specialists.

More information

Do you have questions about the difference between organic and mineral fertilizers? Then please contact one of our product specialists or ask your question via the form below. We will then contact you as soon as possible - on working days even within 24 hours.

Han van der KooijAbout Han van der Kooij

Han van der Kooij, fertiliser product specialist at Royal Brinkman, understands the customer like no one else. After being a grower himself, for 26 years, he knows the ropes and is aware of what is involved in being a grower. Converting his own knowledge and experience into recommendations that are useful to growers, is what he likes best about his job. "Finding that this leads to good results, makes me quite satisfied."

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