Washington, D.C. -- The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) announced today that between 1980 and 2014, U.S. farmers more than doubled corn production using just under six percent more fertilizer nutrients than were used in 1980. The announcement is based on fertilizer application rate data released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
Specifically, in 1980, farmers grew 6.64 billion bushels of corn using 3.2 pounds of nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) for each bushel, and in 2014 they grew 14.22 billion bushels using 1.6 pounds of nutrients per bushel produced. In total, this represents a 114 percent increase in production using just 5.7 percent more total nutrients during that same timeframe. Corn production accounts for half of U.S. fertilizer use and experts estimate that 40 to 60 percent of world food production is attributable to fertilizers.
“Numbers don’t lie, and this trend of continuous environmental and economic performance improvement is something that agriculture should be very proud of,” said TFI President Chris Jahn. “But we are not resting on our laurels, and believe that farmers and the businesses that serve them will continue this 34 year trend of improving efficiency.”
“Truly sustainable agriculture protects the environment and grows farm profitability,” continued Jahn. “Through the more widespread adoption of 4R nutrient stewardship, (use of the right fertilizer source at the right rate, right time and right place) farmers and the fertilizer industry will continue to help feed a growing world population.”
Note: for questions regarding the statistics and methodology for arriving at these efficiency numbers, please contact TFI Vice President of Economic Services, Harry Vroomen.