Nitrogen is vital for plants growth in the formation of proteins which is in turn vital to much of living matter. Since science started to get involved in agriculture in 1845 nitrogen has been grossly abused.
Scientific studies have grossly overplayed the importance of applying nitrogen products to the soil for plant growth leading to its abusive use.
Any applied nitrogen – be it man-made or raw manure which have a more concentrated form like poultry manure – over reacts the soil’s natural biological functions giving succulent growth that is detrimental to animals and humans because it lacks complexity. Nature attempts to take such crops out of the cycle by eliminating them with insects and fungal attack.
Atmospheric nitrogen is made available to plants by soil microbes. With just a small amount of lime and/or carbon in the form of compost the soil’s biology is stimulated to convert atmospheric nitrogen to plant available nitrogen. The resulting nitrogen is stable in the soil. There is no leaching to waterways.
Thus biological farming is not only more environmentally sound, it also reduces the costs spent on nitrogen products and chemicals which are subsequently eliminated.
Two illustrated presentations about the nitrogen and nitrogen fixation can be watched here:
The Nitrogen Cascade
Although it doesn’t tell the complete story of the soil biology it is useful in increasing an understanding of how atmospheric nitrogen can be converted and become plant available.