If other, more available sources of nitrogen (and to some extent other
nutrients) are used, then the value of organic matter (from a fertility
perspective) lies in its use as a nutrient BUFFER. Raw residue snaps up
excess nutrients and releases them later. All the attendent microbial
activity, and physical bulk of raw residue aids in the physical management
of soil. This, in a nutshell, is why conventional, fertilizer-intensive
agriculture values addition of raw residue more than compost.
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