A fertiliser is a natural or artificial substance containing chemical elements (such as Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K)) that improve growth and productiveness of plants. Some synonyms include the terms "enrichment" or "plant nutrient".

A fertiliser can be made of different combinations of materials such as:

  • virgin material substances and their mixtures
  • non-processed or mechanically processed plants, plant parts and extracts
  • compost
  • energy crop digestate
  • other digestate
  • food industry by-products
  • micro-organisms
  • agronomic additives
  • nutrient polymers or other polymers
  • certain animal by-products

Mineral fertilisers

Fertilisers manufactured by a chemical/industrial process or mined as opposed to organic material that contains carbon. They are also called chemical fertilisers, artificial fertilisers or inorganic fertiliser.

They include:

  • simple mineral fertilisers such as urea, ammonium nitrate and sulphate
  • complex mineral fertilisers such as NP, NK and NPK mixtures
  • mineral-organic fertilisers such as calcium cyanamid

Organic fertilisers

Fertilisers derived from organic origin such as animal products (e.g. livestock manure, dried blood, hoof and bone meal), plant residues or human origin (e.g. sewage sludge). Organic fertilisers contain carbon (C) and nutrients of solely biological origin and exclude material which is fossilized or embedded in geological formations.

Organic fertilisers include:

  • livestock manure
  • other organic fertilisers such as compost, sewage sludge or industrial waste.

Organo-mineral fertiliser

An organo-mineral fertiliser is a co-formulation of one or more inorganic fertilisers and organic fertilisers.


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