Fertilizers

Although Albrecht has been endeared to advocates of organic farming methods for his balanced holistic view, he was pragmatic when it came to the use of artificial fertilizers in addition to manures. Thus he writes, 'Fertilizer use should not serve to divert attention from manure conservation, its maximum production, and its wisest use. All possible practices in better soil management should be exercised first and then fertilizers purchased and added to make up the deficiencies in soil fertility that need to be balanced for most effective crop production. Manure use represents putting back much of what came from the soil. Fertilizer use represents putting on some fertility purchased and brought from outside the farm, to add to the soil's supply' (Albrecht, 1942, and in Walters, 1992).

Current organic farming methods seek to reduce bought-in manures to a minimum, but some fertilizers are allowed as permitted inputs on a restricted basis (Lampkin and Measures, 1999). In general, only fertilizers that release nutrients through an intermediate process, such as chemical weathering or the activity of soil organisms are allowed (Stockdale et al., 2000).

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