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Compost vs Artificial Fertiliser

PAS 100 compost is a products (not a waste) that can be spread on land with minimal complications from red tape. Unlike compost spread as a waste, there is no deployment needed from the Environment Agency and no Spreading Permit either. Whilst waiting to apply for the paper work from the EA could put you in a better position financially it is a very time consuming process. Compost not only supplies nutrients to soils, it also has the advantage of improving the soils structure, loosening clay soils, and improving water retention in granular soils. The nutrients are also slowly released unlike highly soluble Artificial Fertiliser, which can be washed largely leached (washed) out in just one season.

Below we will attempt to examine the cost of compost when compared with artificial fertilizers.

PAS 100 Compost
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Compost vs Artificial Fertiliser : Cost Comparison

So compost represents a very cost effective method of improving soil quality, whether you choose a PAS100 or  a waste to land route. There are is also a comparison to be made with regards to the nutrient content.

  PAS100 Compost Compost as Waste Artificial Fertiliser
Administrative Costs (£)      
Spreading Permits 0 EA Fees - 1500
Consultant Fees - 2000
Spreading Deployments 0 EA Fees - 800
Consultants Fees / Testing - 1500
(Annual Charge per 50 hectraes)
Materials Costs (£)      
Cost per Tonne 30
5 260
Application Rates (Tons)

per Hectare
10 10 3

Costs per Hectare
(Based on 50 Hectares)
300 130 650
Time Constraints 2 weeks 12 weeks 1 week


Compost vs Artificial Fertiliser : Nutrient Comparison

So although you can see that compost has much lower Nitrogen values weight per weight than artificial fertilisers it has an extremely well balanced variety of macro and micro nutrients that will improve soil quality.

  Compost Ammoniated superphosphate Ammonium nitrate limestone
Nutrients (% w/w)      
Dry Matter 55 0  
Total Nitrogen 1.66 6 20
Total Phosphorus (P) 0.393 20 0
Total Potassium (K) 1.40 0 0
Total Magnesium (Mg) 0.616 0 4
Total Sulphur (S) 0.368 12 0.4
Total Zinc (Zn) 243 0 0
Total Sodium (Na) 0.082 0 0
Other Nutrients (mg/kg)      
Total Copper (Cu) 46.3 0 0
Total Zinc (Zn) 243 0 0
Iron (Fe) 22716 0 0
Managanese (Mn) 727 0 0
Boron (B) 28.8 0 0


Compost vs Artificial Fertilisers : Result

Whilst it is obvious that compost has lower quantities of nitrogen weight for weight when compared with artificial fertilisers, it should be bourn in the mind that application rates for compost (tones per hectare) will be higher than their artificial equivalent. Costs for compost are around 20% - 40% of conventional / artificial fertilisers. Compost also improves soil structure and has many important micro nutrients such as boron and manganese.

SWEL help farmers who wish to spread compost on their land, please give us a ring (Exeter Office) if you want to learn more.