Use of Microbial Inoculants and Organic Fertilizers in Agricultural Production

Tom Miles

Use of Microbial Inoculants and Organic Fertilizers in Agricultural Production
FFTC, J.F. Parr, S.B. Hornick, and D.D. Kaufman, 1994-11-01
Soil-Microbial Systems Laboratory
Agricultural Research Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Beltsville, Maryland, U.S.A.

Because of exploitive and improper farming practices, agricultural lands worldwide
have been subjected to such degradative processes as soil erosion by wind and water, nutrient depletion, and loss of soil organic matter, all of which have contributed to a serious decline in soil productivity. These degraded soils could be restored and rehabilitated vo an optimum level of productivity by proper and regular additions of various organic wastes including crop residues, animal manure, green manure, sewage sludge and municipal solid waste. Alternative agricultural practices and the ultimate goal of a long-term sustainable agriculture depend largely upon the addition of organic amendments to soil. However, the chemical and physical properties of
these wastes may limit their acceptance by farmers as organic amendments. This paper discusses how composting and co-composting technologies can transform organic wastes into products that can be used safely and beneficially as soil conditioners and biofertilizers, and how the agronomic and economic value of these wastes can be estimated and quantified. Finally, the paper considers the potential use of microbial inoculants for controlling the soil microflora and achieving a more favorable environment for optimum crop production and protection.