U.S. Fertilizer Consumption Table and U.S. Consumption of Primary Plant Nutrients

Producing more grain means more fertilizer demand. Aside from the recent decline in FY 2008/2009, total nitrogen consumption has grown modestly in the United States, while consumption of phosphorus and potash have been relatively stable since the mid-1980’s.

U.S. Corn Production and Nutrient Use on Corn

Between 1980 and 2014, U.S. farmers more than doubled corn production using only slightly more fertilizer nutrients than were used in 1980. This analysis is based on fertilizer application rate and corn production and acreage data reported 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 less than 1.6 pounds of nutrients per bushel produced. In total, this represents an 114 percent increase in production using only 4.5 percent more nutrients during that same timeframe. Corn production accounts for half of U.S. fertilizer use. Experts estimate that 40 to 60 percent of world food production is attributable to fertilizers.