Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Global data on fertilizer use by crop and by country

Citation

Ludemann, Cameron; Gruere, Armelle; Heffer, Patrick; Dobermann, Achim (2022), Global data on fertilizer use by crop and by country, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.2rbnzs7qh

Abstract

Understanding how much inorganic fertilizer (referred to hereafter as fertilizer) is applied to different crops at national, regional and global levels is an essential component of fertilizer consumption analysis and demand projection.

Good national scale information on fertilizer use by crop (FUBC) is rarely available because it is difficult to collect and time-consuming to process and validate. Only in a limited number of countries, official agricultural statistics track fertilizer consumption by nutrients and products. A small subset of these countries regularly collect farm-level data on actual fertilizer use, i.e. the amounts applied to different crops and other associated nutrient management practices.

To fill this gap, a first global FUBC report was published in 1992 for the 1990/1991 period, based on an expert survey conducted jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN, the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) and the International Fertilizer Association (IFA). Since then, similar expert surveys have been carried out and published every two to four years in the main fertilizer-consuming countries. IFA has led these efforts since 2008. To our knowledge, this remains the only globally available data set on fertilizer use by crops and countries.

This dataset includes data from a survey carried out by IFA to represent the 2017-18 period (hereafter known as the latest FUBC data) as well as a collation of all previously collected FUBC data (hereafter known as the historic FUBC data). The survey benefited from the agronomic expertise of numerous experts to provide and validate estimates. This is the best effort that IFA can achieve with its current resources. It provides a general overview of how fertilizers are being used worldwide, for the three main nutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P, reported here as P2O5) and potassium (K, reported here as K2O). We caution, however, that for many countries the estimates provided here are associated with substantial uncertainties. Likewise, comparisons with previous reports must be made with caution because methodologies and sources of information have changed over time.

Methods

Latest fertilizer use by crop survey data

During 2020-2022 IFA collected and standardized FUBC data for the 2017-18 period, primarily through a survey of various country correspondents. As of May 2022 this is the most recent survey for FUBC data. Country correspondents were selected based on their knowledge for estimating fertilizer use, average fertilizer application rates and areas of crops for N, P2O5 and K2O for their respective country, and access to any locally available farm data.

Country correspondents were asked to complete the questionnaire with the greatest detail possible, or to provide data for the crop breakdown available in their country. The task of aligning the data with FAO crop area statistics was particularly challenging, and sometimes impossible. Even when correspondents were able to mostly follow the provided crop breakdown, crops that are minor in a country’s agriculture were often included in a group of crops or other crops. For example, for most EU countries, the data provided by Fertilizers Europe follow the crop breakdown that is specific to their own annual survey. In this crop breakdown, rice is grouped with rye, triticale and oats, soybean is grouped with sunflower and linseed, and cotton is not identified.

Historic fertilizer use by crop survey data

For historic FUBC data the following sources had data manually extracted from the original pdf documents into a standardized format:

·          FUBC report number 1: FAO et al. (1992)

·          FUBC report number 2: FAO et al. (1994)

·          FUBC report number 3: FAO et al. (1996)

·          FUBC report number 4: FAO et al. (1999)

·          FUBC report number 5: FAO et al. (2002)

·          FUBC report number 6: Heffer (2009)

·          FUBC report number 7: Heffer (2013)

·          FUBC report number 8: Heffer et al. (2017)

References

FAO, IFA, IFDC. 1992. Fertilizer use by crop 1. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 82 p.

FAO, IFA, IFDC. 1994. Fertilizer use by crop 2. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 64 p.

FAO, IFA, IFDC. 1996. Fertilizer use by crop 3. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, 74 p.

FAO, IFA, IFDC. 1999. Fertilizer use by crop 4. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, 78 p.

FAO, IFA, IFDC, IPI, PPI. 2002. Fertilizer use by crop 5. Rome, Italy.: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 67 p.

Heffer P. 2009. Assessment of Fertilizer Use by Crop at the Global Level 2006/07 – 2007/08. Paris, France: International Fertilizer Association, 11 p. https://www.ifastat.org/consumption/fertilizer-use-by-crop.

Heffer P. 2013. Assessment of Fertilizer Use by Crop at the Global Level. Paris, France, 10 p. https://www.ifastat.org/consumption/fertilizer-use-by-crop.

Heffer P, Gruere A, Roberts T. 2017. Assessment of fertiliser use by crop at the global level. Paris, France: International Fertilizer Association, Institute IPN, 19 p. https://www.ifastat.org/plant-nutrition.

Funding

International Fertilizer Association