What natural fertilizer product has the most organic matter? How much will I need to apply of one product versus another? Variations in consistency between products like chicken litter can make precise calculations difficult, but we have put together the below table based on several independent data sources to help you try to assess your options as a farmer.
Biosolids like Bloom, chicken litter, and compost can all enrich the soil by adding organic matter that increases nutrient and water holding capacity and improves soil structure. All 3 products also offer affordable macro and micro nutrients in slow-release form, although chicken litter may also contain a significant amount of ammoniacal nitrogen (quicker release). They also all offer a sustainable alternative to chemical fertilizers.
There are importance differences, however. While chicken litter can sometimes contain higher amounts of nutrients than a biosolids product like Bloom, it can also be lower. Its nutrient content is highly variable based on its source. It can also contain contaminants like arsenic and pathogens like E Coli. There is no oversight and testing required of chicken litter or other manure based products, making it a literal and figurative crap shoot to know what you’re getting!
On the other hand, Bloom meets and typically exceeds the EPA’s rigorous standards for Class A, Exceptional Quality biosolids and are internally tested daily and tested by an independent third party monthly. It’s worth noting also that Bloom’s Class A EQ distinction means it meets a much higher standard than Class B biosolids, which are also treated but can contain much higher levels of detectable pathogens, must be incorporated right away, and require a lag time between application and harvesting of edible crops as a result.
Compost, meanwhile, is also not subject to regular testing. While it is generally low in pathogens and heavy metals, it can often contain debris such as plastic and introduce unwanted weed seeds and mushroom spores into your fields, and is typically much more costly.
We have compiled some relevant independent sources of information and referenced them in the footnotes below to help you make an informed choice in how you improve your soil and fertilize your crops. Contact us to consult with one of our agriculture specialists or set up a free sample of Bloom for the farm!
|NPK (wet weight)||Guaranteed minimum|
NPK of 1.5-1.5-0
|Highly variable: Ranges from|
2.6–5.3 P: 0.6–3.9 K: 0.7-5.77
|Ranges; nutrient content highly variable.|
Leafgro ~1-.5 -12
|Plant available nitrogen (PAN; lb/ton)||~9||~20-423|
|Organic Matter (dry weight)||63%||46–92%7||32-41%5|
|Pathogens & heavy metals||Meets or exceeds all EPA standards for Class A Exceptional Quality biosolids||Not regulated; may contain pathogens such as E Coli or fecal coliform and arsenic1||Have to meet 503 metals and pathogens|
|Weed seeds||None||May contain1||May contain|
|Delivered cost||As low as $4/ton, free delivery||Varies, subsidies available||$10-20/cubic yard or more|
|Application rates||General rule of thumb, 10 tons/acre in accordance with NMP||Varies; 3-6 tons/acre for example recommended for hay6||Highly variable; for non-farm use Leafgro suggests 50% incorporation rate|