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Manure vs. Biofertilizer: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 12, 2024
Manure is organic matter, mainly animal feces, used as soil fertilizer; biofertilizer is a substance containing living microorganisms that enhance nutrient availability to plants.

Key Differences

Manure is a traditional form of organic fertilizer consisting primarily of animal feces and sometimes other organic materials like compost. It is used to improve soil fertility by adding organic matter, which enhances soil structure and moisture retention. Biofertilizer, on the other hand, specifically refers to preparations containing live or latent cells of efficient microbial strains, which directly contribute to the nutrient availability for the plants.
The primary function of manure is to add organic content to the soil, which indirectly helps in nutrient supply by enhancing soil microbial activity. Biofertilizers work more directly by introducing specific strains of bacteria, fungi, or algae to the soil, which then interact with plant roots to increase the availability of primary nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
Manure is typically produced through natural processes on farms and requires proper composting to minimize pathogens. It has a broad and variable nutrient composition, depending on the source of the manure. Biofertilizers are industrially manufactured products that contain specific, known concentrations of beneficial microorganisms, ensuring a more consistent and targeted impact on plant growth.
In terms of environmental impact, while both manure and biofertilizers are considered eco-friendly options compared to chemical fertilizers, biofertilizers often have a more pronounced effect on reducing the need for chemical fertilizers. Manure, if not managed properly, can lead to issues like run-off and water pollution.
Manure is commonly used in organic farming and gardening and is valued for improving soil health over time. Biofertilizers, while also used in organic agriculture, are particularly important in sustainable farming practices due to their role in enhancing soil fertility and plant health with minimal ecological disruption.

Comparison Chart


Organic matter, mainly animal waste
Living microorganisms

Primary Function

Adds organic matter, improves soil structure
Directly increases nutrient availability


Natural farming by-product
Industrially manufactured

Nutrient Consistency

Variable, depends on source
Specific, consistent microbe strains

Environmental Impact

Eco-friendly but can cause pollution if mismanaged
Eco-friendly, reduces chemical fertilizer use

Manure and Biofertilizer Definitions


It is an age-old, organic method of enriching farmland.
Manure has been used for centuries to improve crop yields.


Biofertilizer is produced through an industrial process.
Modern agriculture increasingly relies on biofertilizer for sustainable farming.


Manure improves soil texture and fertility.
Adding manure helps in maintaining the health of garden soil.


Biofertilizer contains living microorganisms that enhance soil nutrients.
Applying biofertilizer can significantly increase nitrogen content in soil.


It is a natural by-product of livestock farming.
Cattle farms produce large quantities of manure.


It promotes plant growth by increasing the availability of primary nutrients.
Biofertilizer is used to boost the phosphorus uptake of plants.


Manure composition varies based on animal diet and bedding material.
Chicken manure is often richer in nutrients than cow manure.


It is a key component in eco-friendly and sustainable agriculture.
Biofertilizer reduces the dependency on chemical fertilizers.


Manure is organic material, primarily animal feces, used as fertilizer.
Farmers spread manure on fields to enrich the soil.


Biofertilizer includes bacteria, fungi, and algae beneficial to plant growth.
Rhizobium biofertilizer is used in legume cultivation for nitrogen fixation.


The dung of livestock or poultry.


Any fertilizer of biological origin


What is manure primarily made of?

Manure is primarily composed of animal feces and sometimes other organic matter.

Can manure be used in all types of farming?

Yes, manure is versatile and can be used in various farming practices, including organic farming.

How is manure prepared for use as fertilizer?

Manure is often composted to reduce pathogens before being applied to fields.

Is biofertilizer suitable for organic farming?

Yes, biofertilizer is suitable and beneficial for organic farming practices.

How does biofertilizer enhance soil fertility?

Biofertilizer introduces beneficial microorganisms that increase nutrient availability in the soil.

Can biofertilizer replace chemical fertilizers completely?

While biofertilizers can significantly reduce chemical use, they may not always replace them entirely in all farming conditions.

What are the environmental benefits of biofertilizer?

Biofertilizer reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, promoting a more sustainable agricultural practice.

Can using manure cause environmental issues?

If mismanaged, manure can lead to pollution problems, such as run-off into water bodies.

Does manure help in water retention of soil?

Yes, manure improves soil structure, which enhances its water retention capacity.

Does manure provide immediate nutrient availability to plants?

Manure typically provides a slow release of nutrients, enhancing long-term soil health.

What is the nutrient content of manure like?

The nutrient content of manure varies based on the animal source and diet.

What types of microorganisms are in biofertilizers?

Biofertilizers can contain bacteria, fungi, or algae, each aiding in specific nutrient processes.

How does biofertilizer impact soil health?

Biofertilizer improves soil health by enhancing microbial activity and nutrient availability.

How does manure affect soil pH?

Manure can slightly alter soil pH, usually making it more neutral.

What crops benefit most from biofertilizer?

Legumes, grains, and many vegetables can significantly benefit from biofertilizer.

Are biofertilizers easy to apply?

Biofertilizers are generally easy to apply, similar to other liquid or granular fertilizers.

What is the shelf life of manure?

Properly stored manure can have a long shelf life, especially if composted.

Can biofertilizers help in pest control?

Some biofertilizers can enhance plant resistance to pests and diseases.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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