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Summarize this article about the use of fertilizers in not more than 120 words.

 
In the early days of farming, people did not understand how plants obtained essential nutrients. It so happened that wood ash, fish remains and slaughterhouse waste were thrown on vacant land just to get rid of them. Then, people started to notice that the grass, bushes and shrubs on this vacant land began to grow very well. They reasoned that if their farmland were similarly treated, the growth of their crops would also improve. People gradually began to realize that the nutrients required by plants came from the soil and that the amount of nutrients could be increased by the application of such organic remains to the soil. Thus started the manuring process in farming.

The practice of manuring has been practized as early since the seventeenth century. However, the importance of manuring was not properly understood until scientists began to study the nutritional needs of plants and gave birth to fertilizers. Thus, gradually, the use of fertilizers became accepted by farmers.

There are many types of manure and fertilizer currently being used. Manure is a substance derived from animals and plants. The most important advantage of using manure is the fact that they not only supply a wide range of plant nutrients, but also improve the structure of the soil. It cements together the soil particles to form soil crumbs. The crumb structure is a desirable condition of cultivated soil. The addition of manure to soil will increase the inorganic and humus content which helps to prevent soil erosion and loss of plant nutrients when it rains. The common manure used in farming consists of farmyard manure, compost, blood meal, bone meal and fish meal.

Unlike manure, fertilizers are inorganic substances which do not improve the structure of the soil. They only supply extra amounts of nutrients to the growing plants when applied to the soil. The commercial fertilizers commonly used today can be classified into three major categories; namely, nitrogen (N), phosphate and potash fertilizers.

Besides knowing the type of fertilizer to use, a farmer also needs to know when to apply the fertilizer and how to apply it. The fertilizer should be applied at the time when the plants need a particular nutrient most. The time and method of application will determine how profitably the fertilizers have been used in farming. Fertilizers which have not been properly applied cannot be absorbed in large quantities by plant roots. These fertilizers may be washed away by rain or they may kill the plants. This would mean a definite financial loss for the farmer.     

 
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Answer
 
The use of fertilizers began quite by accident when unwanted substances were thrown onto land. This has resulted in the knowledge that plants get their nutrients from the soil and these could be increased by the manuring process. Thus, the use of fertilizers began to be accepted by farmers. There are organic and inorganic fertilizers. Organic fertilizers improve the status of the soil and helps to prevent soil erosion and loss of nutrients. Inorganic fertilizers supply the extra nutrients needed by the plants. Farmers also need to know when to apply the fertilizers. Otherwise, they will lose plenty of money when inappropriately applied as the plants may die or the fertilizers get washed away by rain. ( 117 words )
     
shrub   A woody plant of relatively low height, having several stems arising from the base and lacking a single trunk; a bush
     
manure   To fertilize (soil) by applying material such as barnyard dung
     
compost   A mixture of decaying organic matter, as from leaves and manure, used to improve soil structure and provide nutrients
     
 
 

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