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Difference between Manure and Fertilizer

Agriculture has a major contribution to the economy of a country. It fulfills a wide range of our day to day needs. Manure and fertilizers are used to increase the fertility of the soil and thereby agricultural productivity. Both are used for the same purpose but they are entirely different from each other. Let us see how manure differs from fertilizer!


Manure is an organic substance derived from the decomposition of plant and animal wastes like crop residue, animal dung etc. It is formed by dumping the animal and plant waste in a pit in an open area and then allowing it to decompose with the help of microorganisms. The organic matter obtained after the decomposition is called natural or organic manure. It is rich in organic material but has less plant nutrients. So, it provides a lot of organic matter to the soil but needs to be supplied in a large amount as it contains fewer nutrients.

Manure helps increase the fertility of soil by increasing its capacity to retain water, by improving its texture and by increasing the population of friendly microbes. It also makes the soil more porous that aid the exchange of gases.


Fertilizers are industrially manufactured chemicals or artificial products that contain plant nutrients in order to make the soil more productive and promote plant growth. Fertilizers are of mineral origin and can be nitrogenous, potassium salts, phosphatic, and salts containing other elements. It contains more nutrients than organic manures. As fertilizers are chemical in nature and their formation does not involve decomposition so microbes are not needed to produce fertilizers. Fertilizers are produced in factories following a chemical procedure and applied to the soil to increase the yield of crops like paddy, wheat, maize etc.

Fertilizers can be of two types: organic fertilizers and synthetic fertilizers. The fertilizers that are made up of natural materials like composted plant materials, bone, seaweed, peat etc., are called organic fertilizers. The fertilizers made up of chemicals which instantly dissolve in water and quickly used by plants are called synthetic fertilizers.

Based on the above information, some of the key differences between manure and fertilizer are as follows:

Manure Fertilizer
It is an organic substance obtained by the decomposition of plant or animal wastes. It is an artificial product or industrially manufactured chemical that contain plant nutrients.
It is prepared by dumping the plant and animal wastes in the pits in an open area. It is manufactured in the factories through the chemical procedure.
It provides humus to the soil. It does not provide humus to the soil.
It has less plant nutrients than fertilizers. It has more plant nutrients than manure.
It is likely to be insoluble in water, so it is slowly absorbed by the soil and plants. It dissolves easily in water so quickly absorbed by the soil and plants.
It is economical as it can be easily prepared by decomposing plant and animal wastes. It is costly as it is produced in the factories through machines.
It does not harm the soil and improves the quality of soil in the long run. The excessive use of fertilizers can decrease the quality of soil and harm the organisms living in the soil.
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