Neem cake is produced from the neem tree which is a tropical evergreen tree. Neem tree also has many other uses besides enhancing soil. The seeds, bark, and leaves all contain compounds of the neem tree which are proven to be antiseptics, antivirals, antipyretics, anti-inflammatories, and antifungals in their uses.
The neem tree is called “the village pharmacy” in India because of all the ways it is used. However, neem has a garlic-like odor as well as a bitter taste.
What Is Neem Cake?
Neem Cake is the de-oiled residue that can be used after neem kernels are crushed for their oil. In this seed, the kernel contains nutrients like NPK (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) as well as nortriterpenoids and isoprenoids. These nutrients are nematicidal in nature so the seed cake ends up with these properties.
Neem Cake is used in agriculture, horticulture, floriculture, and the turf industry as an organic fertilizer as well as a natural nematicide.
Neem Cake is used as an organic fertilizer because of the various micro and macronutrients in which it is composed of. It controls, at the same time soil-based pathogens and also nematodes. It also inhibits nitrification of the oil and enhances the efficiency of nitrogen providing fertilizer.
Composition Of Neem Cake
Neem cake contains an adequate quantity of NPK in organic form for plant growth. Being a totally botanical product, it contains 100% natural NPK content and other essential micronutrients as N(Nitrogen 2% to 5%), P (Phosphorus 0.5% to 1%), K(Potassium 1% to 2%), Ca(Calcium 0.5% to 3%), Mg(Magnesium 0.3% to 1%), S(Sulphur 0.2% to 3.0%), Zn(Zinc 15 ppm to 60 ppm), Cu(Copper 4 ppm to 20 ppm), Fe(Iron 500 ppm to 1200 ppm), Mn( Manganese 20 ppm to 60 ppm). It is rich in sulphur compounds and bitter limonoid.
Kinds Of Neem Cake
Neem Cakes come in different types of packaging and there are different ways to use them. Neem cake granules are used as a fertilizer and manure in farming and agriculture. The cake is made from the neem tree seed residue; it is environmentally friendly and has the highest azadirachtin content as it is made from all the parts of the Neem Tree.
Neem cake Powder is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur and calcium. It is a natural product and is used for growth and high yield of crops. The nutrient content and fertility of the soil increase when neem Powder is mixed with it.
Neem cake manure helps in producing a greater crop harvest than synthetic manures. It not only helps to increase the fertility of the soil but also acts as a pest repellent.
Neem Cake Bio Mix is a mixture of bio and organic fertilizer with neem being one of its active ingredients. It is used to enrich the soil by providing essential required nutrients.
How To Apply Neem Cake
Neem cakes are applied when the soil is being prepared for sowing. The soil needs to be deeply plowed and the neem cake is mixed into the soil thoroughly. By mixing the cakes thoroughly through the soil, this yields better results with harvests.
Neem cake not only works as an organic fertilizer but can also be used as an IPM fertilizer when used with mixed crops. When using it with mixed crops, it enhances the IPM techniques. IPM is Integrated Pest Management which is an ecosystem approach to grow healthy crops. It is an approach that uses different crop management and growth strategies to yield the most crops with minimum use of pesticides.
Neem Cake For Soil Amendment
The soil to be amended with neem cakes should be plowed thoroughly. This gives you better control of nematodes that are hiding around ready to eat whatever you plant. This will bring them to the surface and disrupt where they are living.
The neem cake should be mixed thoroughly at the rate that is recommended with the soil you are amending. When it is done this way, it gives better results than when it is only applied to the surface of the ground.
If neem cake is mixed with the soil around the roots of plants, vegetable bushes, and trees, it will boost the immune system of the plant.
Some of the crops which benefit from using Neem Cakes are:
- Oranges by controlling the citrus nematodes
- Tomato by controlling Tomato Seedling nematodes
- Tobacco by controlling Root-Knot nematodes
- Fodder trees by controlling nematodes
- Rice, when used with Urea, by increasing the nitrogen uptake and slowing the release of the fertilizer urea.
Benefits Of Using Neem Cake
Neem cakes are more cost-efficient because the fertilizer in them lasts longer. The neem cake remains effective until the next crop is planted because of its long sustaining of organic fertilizer compounds. This, in turn, cuts the cost of having to add extra nutrients.
This soil amendment is twofold. It will provide a better crop yield because it will provide the nutrients required by crops. And secondly, it helps to cure diseases and also controls the growth of nematodes and harmful plant pathogens. Plus, the crop yield is always 15-25% higher when using neem cakes than when using any other fertilizer.
Neem cakes can also improve the organic content of the soil by providing lots of micro and macronutrients. This also improves the fertility of the soil in which your plants or crops are planted.
The use of neem cakes will increase the water holding capacity of the soil and also improve the soil structure. With soil improvement, there will be an increase in beneficial organisms like earthworms. Neem cakes will control harmful organisms like nematodes and pathogens. The use of these cakes reduces the alkaline content in the soil because when they decompose, they produce organic acids.
Reasons neem cake is used as a soil amendment:
- It is bio-degradable and can be used with many other different types of fertilizers.
- It enhances the efficiency of other fertilizers used because it inhibits nitrification.
- It is free from any kind of heavy metal so it is safe for crop use.
- It uses a slow-release process, which means the nutrient release is uniform. This ensures the constant growth of crops or plants during the growing season. Because the nutrients are released slowly, which means crops will have nutrients throughout the growing time.
- The neem cakes act as a nutrient for plants instead of being a nutrient collector. The neem cake contains NPK (nitrogen- phosphorus-potassium) plus other micronutrients which ensures that plants are fed continually.