|As previously stated in Organics Granulation: The Need,”Organics,” as they are called, are a varying range of materials. Organics come from many sources, but originate from three main channels: Agricultural (manure and compost), Industrial (DAF Sludge, food waste, and restaurant waste), and Municipal (biosolids and composts). In general, anything with a cellulosic structure that can be broken down, is considered an organic.|
|For the purposes of this series, we will be primarily focusing on the agricultural sector, and the benefits brought on by organics granulation within the agricultural sector.|
|There are many advantages to the use of organic fertilizers over chemical fertilizers such as NPK blends. Fertilizers from organic wastes and manures are generally considered a low-analysis fertilizer with macronutrient content < 10% by weight. Rich in micronutrients such as iron, boron, and sulphate, organic and organic based fertilizers do not typically require the supplementation of micronutrients that inorganic fertilizers do. While these micronutrients exist naturally in organics, inorganics can lack these, causing the need to supplement plants with micronutrients, which can be costly. Furthermore, organics add organic matter to the soil, which brings many advantages all on its own.|
|Organic matter is recognized by the “black” color it adds to the soil, versus a soil which is light brown, indicating a lack of organic matter. Organic matter helps soil to hold in nutrients, making them more readily available for use by the plant. This equates to less nutrient run-off, and ultimately, less nutrient supplementing. Overall, organic matter creates a more healthy soil for plant growth, and is less prone to erosion. Effective processing of the valuable nutrients found in organics allow producers to decouple their operation from the environmental costs of handling waste streams while providing an additional revenue stream for the farm.|
|Simplified Mixer-Dryer Process Flow Diagram|
Many people are of the thought that because organic fertilizers technically have a lower nutrient content than inorganic fertilisers, one must apply double, triple, or even quadruple the amount of fertilizer when using organics. However, this is not necessarily true. Although organic fertilisers may technically contain a lesser nutrient content than inorganic fertilisers, often, the nutrient content in organic fertiliser is much more readily available to the plant. Because of this, less fertilizer and nutrient supplementing is actually required when using organics. Moreover, when using inorganic fertilisers, the lack of organic matter in the soil means the soil cannot properly hold the nutrients, and in order for the plant to get enough, one must account for the percentage that will upfront go to waste via nutrient run-off and nitrification, and subsequently, apply that much more.
Next we will look at the various process used for organics granulation.
Just in case you missed it…
Organics Granulation: The Need