Organic inputs are derived from the processing of plant and animal products that the farmer brings to his crop in order for it to express its production potential (they can be included as biological inputs). The most commonly accepted organic inputs are manure, slurry and green compost.
By decomposing and fermenting, organic materials from the farm or outside allow organic inputs to form. Plants inputs are derived from plant decomposition, they include compost, pruning residues, organic preparations (infusion, decoction), ramial chipped wood etc.
Animal inputs are derived from livestock manure, such as liquid manure, manure, guano, etc.
Animal matter is often mixed with vegetable matter to refine the ratio between carbon and nitrogen.
The main role of organic inputs is to be used either as fertilizer for crops or as soil amendment. Fertilizers are used when the objective is to provide nutrients directly to the plant via the soil or by spraying whereas amendment is used when the objective is to improve the soil physical, chemical and biological properties. The nature and volume of the contribution are adjusted in accordance with the farmer’s objectives (soil and plant health, nutritional inputs…).
Organic inputs also enable a stable level of organic matter in the soil, which provides many benefits such as:
- improvement of the soil structure
- stimulation of the biological activity
- increase in water retention
- Tillage facilitation
- plant health
They can also play a role in protecting crops from pests and diseases (repellent, stimulator of the plant natural defence mechanisms etc.).
The contribution of organic inputs is an important agroecological lever to preserve the agricultural soil quality.