An interesting alternative to the transition to the use of Compost

Recent calculations of the economic efficiency of the use of mineral fertilizers have shown, that in connection with the increase in prices for products of  the chemical industry, their use in farms has become less profitable than in previous years.

Such a situation forces farmers to find alternative sources of essential nutrients for successful agriculture. One of them is organic fertilizers, which most companies, to put it mildly, did not pay attention. Is it possible to consider organic fertilizers as an equivalent mineral alternative? Will their application make it possible to obtain stable yields?

So let’s find out what possibilities the application of compost, the most widespread organic, opens up before us.

Organic fertilizers play a significant role in the accumulation of humus reserves, the level of which with the constant use of chemical fertilizers decreases. In fact, humus is the energy base of biological processes that occur in soils, a source available for plants  micro and macroelements, physiologically active substances. Humus contains about 80% of all nitrogen reserves and 40% of phosphorus. The content of humus in the soil is one of the most important factors in the fertility of the soil, as it structure depends on the creation water resistance of the soil, improving aeration, regulation of nutrient regime and physical properties of the soil.

The influence of humus on fertility rates can be achieved only due to its optimal content in the soil. Without the use of organic fertilizers, it can lose from 500 kg to 1000 kg per hectare annually. One of the options for increasing the humus content in the soil and obtaining high yields, is the use of organic fertilizers.

Compost is an excellent organic fertilizer, which contains a number of trace elements that are important for plant nutrition.

Name of indicator (units of measurement)
Tests resultsTests method
1pH 10% solution, units of measurement pH8,8Ion
2Mass fraction of moisture, %53,5State Standard 26713-85 p.4.1
3Mass fraction of ash, %49,8State Standard 26714-85
4Mass fraction of organic matter in terms of carbon C, %25,1State Standard 27980-88 p.1
5Mass fraction of total nitrogen in terms of N, %2,5State Standard 26715-85 Kjeldahl
6Mass fraction of total phosphorus in terms of P205, %1,5State Standard 26717-85
ICP-AES
7Mass fraction of total potassium in terms of K20, %3,8State Standard 26718-85
ICP-AES
8Mass fraction of total sulfur in terms of S, %0,57ICP-AES*
9Mass fraction of total calcium in terms of CaO, %3,5State Standard 26715-85
ICP-AES
10Mass fraction of copper in terms of Сu, mg / kg189State Standard 26715-85
ICP-AES
11Mass fraction of iron in terms of Fe, %0,19State Standard 26715-85
ICP-AES
12Mass fraction of zinc in terms of Zn, mg / kg158State Standard 26715-85
ICP-AES

This is necessary to maintain soil fertility and the formation of humus.

This content of nutrients is achieved by observing the conditions of proper composting and storage.

Compost has the maximum efficiency, each element has an organic origin – this form of nutrients is the most rational, and also has the maximum absorption by plants without loss of these precious elements. Compost is used by plants not only in direct action of the first year, its efficiency is traced also in aftereffect, on 2 and 3 years after introduction. The availability of assimilation of nutrients from compost has a prolonged effect, and efficiency – for three years.

Compost in the fertilizer system is most expedient to apply under corn for grain and silage, sunflower, rapeseed and soybeans. Under cereals (winter wheat, barley, rye) it is better to make carefully and clearly control the rate, as it should be agronomic and economically expedient. High doses can lead to crop failure.

Application of compost and mineral fertilizers (ammonium nitrate, ammophos, potassium chloride) on the example of cultivation of corn for the grain showed:

Mineral fertilizersCompost
Nitrogen - 120 kg / ha
Phosphorus - 90 kg / ha6 t / ha
Potassium - 120 kg / ha

Calculating the value of the active substance of mineral fertilizers N120P90K120 per 1 hectare area at current prices for 2020, we had the following indicators

Mineral fertilizers per hectare / priceCompost / price
Total:6,900 UAH / haUAH 6,000 / ha
Ammonium nitrate2180 UAH / ha
Amophos2420 UAH / haUAH 6,000 / ha
Potassium chloride2300 UAH / ha

However, when applying the same amount of N120P90K120 per 1 ha of area contained in the compost (6 t / ha), the costs amounted to UAH 6,000 /ha.

The difference of savings of 15% (900 UAH / ha) indicates that the use of compost will help not only to accumulate humus in the soil and a full range of micro and macronutrients, but also to save 900 UAH per 1 ha land.

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