The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) has announced that between 1980 and 2010, U.S. farmers nearly doubled corn production using slightly fewer fertilizer nutrients than were used in 1980.  

The announcement is based on fertilizer application rate data released last week 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 3.9 pounds of nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) for each bushel and in 2010 they grew 12.45 billion bushels using 1.6 pounds of nutrients per bushel produced. 

In total, this represents an 87.5 percent increase in production with 4 percent fewer 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.   

“Through improvements in modern technology and old fashioned ingenuity, our farmers are using fertilizer with the greatest efficiency in history and have again shown why U.S. agriculture will continue to feed the world,” said TFI President Ford West.