Difference Between Manure and Fertilizer


Main Difference

The main difference between Manure and Fertilizer is that Manure is natural that consists of animal and plant wastes, whereas Fertilizers are chemical substances that are nutrient-rich.

Manure vs. Fertilizer

Manure is animal droppings mainly from farm animals. Fertilizers are inorganic salts that improve the fertility of the soil. Manure is natural, whereas fertilizer can be natural or human-made. Manure is rich in nitrogen content, while other plant nutrients are less in it; on the other hand, the manufacture of fertilizers takes place based on the need for the nutrient. Manure is bulkier than fertilizers. Manure is less soluble in water; hence its absorption in the soil is less; on the converse, fertilizers are soluble in water, readily absorbed in the ground.


Manure makes the condition of the soil, whereas fertilizers improve the soil texture. Manure is rich in humus, while fertilizers do not provide any humus. Manure act as a food source for the soil microbes. Fertilizers are dangerous for soil organisms. Manure is cattle dung, plant residues, or human excreta; on the other hand, fertilizers are chemicals, grass residues, or kitchen scraps. Manure makes the soil porous, so gaseous exchange takes place quickly. Fertilizers do not improve soil crust as much as manure.

Manure is less concentrated, while fertilizers are highly concentrated. The preparation of manure happens in the fields by a natural process, whereas the production of fertilizers takes place in factories with machines. Manure is not so much expensive; conversely, fertilizers are costly. Manure is not dangerous for the environment. Fertilizers harm human’s health as well as animals. The overuse of manure does not harm crops. The overuse of fertilizer reduces crop yield.


Comparison Chart

Manure is animal droppings that is beneficial for plantsFertilizer is chemical substances used for the productivity of crops
NaturalNatural and synthetic
BulkierNot bulky
Cattle dung, human wastes, plant residuesInorganic salts or natural sources
Less in waterMore in water
Nitrogen Loss
More significant in the form of AmmoniaLess
Soil Texture
Lighten and improveImprovement is less
Provide humus to plantsDoes not provide any humus
Absorbed slowlyReadily absorbed
In fieldsIn factories
Feeds microbes in the soilHarm microbes in the soil
No harm, improve soil qualityHuman health problems
Not harmful for cropsCrop loss
Transport Cost

What is Manure?

The decomposition of animal wastes and plant residues by the living microbes produces manure. Manure is a natural substance prepared by farmers. Animal wastes dump in large areas. This matter is left for decomposition. After its completion process, the obtained material is called organic manure. The substance is abundant with natural stuff but deficient in plant nutrients.

Manure is beneficial in many aspects as it increases soil fertility and improves the crust of soil to make it water absorbable. Manure supply enough humus to plants. The soil microbes use hummus and crumble it. These microbes get food and, in return, supply nutrients to the plants. Some are nitrogen fixation bacteria, while some help in the proper absorption of minerals from the soil.

Manure makes the crust soft and porous; the gaseous exchange takes place smoothly. The nutrient content of manure is less, but the nitrogen content is higher. The slurry is spread on top of the soil. But most of the nitrogen is lost in the form of Ammonia in the environment. The nutrients of manure mainly depend upon the age of manure and on the diet of the animal.

Manure is eco-friendly does not pose any harmful impact. Manure is a waste material. So there are many precautionary measures for using it. It has a bad smell. It is unhygienic for health. So the person needs to wash his hands after using it. The plant products are washable before consumption.

What is Fertilizer?

Fertilizers can be natural or human-made. Fertilizers are nutrient-rich substances manufactured in highly concentrated forms. The nutrient can be nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and Sulphur. The synthesis of fertilizers takes place in industries with machines. Therefore, they are expensive. Fertilizers are mainly inorganic salts, a form of chemical. Therefore, these are not eco-friendly, pose harmful health impacts on animals and plants. Its overuse leads toward less crop yield. It is not symbiotic to soil microbes.


  • Organic Fertilizers: The natural stuff can be a fertilizer, increase fertility and productivity of the plants. Grass residues, bone meal, pine needles, or fish emulsion spread on the upper surface of the soil. It increases the soil’s ability to absorb moisture in it. It is purely natural fertilizer, used in organic farming techniques. The natural elements are food for the soil microbes; the microbes retain the condition of the soil and make it healthy.
  • Synthetic Fertilizers: The synthetic fertilizers are artificial nutrients abundant chemicals. It cannot add humus to the soil. Its uses are extensive for crops and lawns. The fertility of the land, especially the mineral composition, reduces over time. For compensation of the loss, synthetic fertilizers are the best option.
  • Compost: The kitchen scraps and field scraps decompose and yield an organic matter that is called compost. The matter is put in a pile, and naturally, the conversion forms compost.

Key Differences

  1. Manure is animal waste used for the better growth and development of plants, whereas fertilizers are the chemical substances used to increase crop yield.
  2. Manure is natural, whereas fertilizers can be organic or synthetic.
  3. Manure supply less nutrient in fields; conversely, fertilizers are rich sources of nutrients.
  4. Manure is bulkier on the flip side fertilizer is not bulkier
  5. Manure consists of animal dung, human wastes, and plant residues; conversely, the composition of fertilizers is inorganic salts.
  6. Manure is soluble in water but takes more time; on the other hand, fertilizers have more solubility in water.
  7. Manure losses Nitrogen content in the air, if left in the environment on the flip side, nitrogen loss from fertilizers is less.
  8. Manure improves the soil texture make it pourable, whereas fertilizers also improve soil texture, the improvement is less as compared to manure.
  9. Manure is a source of humus to plants; conversely, fertilizers do not supply any humus.
  10. Manure is less concentrated, while fertilizers are in concentrated form in the shape of grains.
  11. Manure is less soluble; hence its absorption is slow; on the flip side, fertilizers dissolve readily.
  12. Manure can be prepared in fields, whereas the production process of fertilizers takes place in factories with machines.
  13. Manure is a source of food for the soil microbes that helps in mineral absorption; conversely, fertilizers harm the soil microbes.
  14. Manure does not affect the environment; on the other hand, fertilizers pose hazardous effects on living organisms.
  15. Manure is harmless even if used in excess, whereas the over the use of fertilizers cause yellowing and wilting of crops.
  16. The transport expenses of manure are higher on the flip side; the transport expenses of fertilizers are less.


Manure and Fertilizers are both used for the growth and development of plants. Manure is a natural form that increases soil fertility and improves soil composition. Fertilizers are nutrient-rich that improves the mineral composition of the soil.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss