Fertilizer research

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 33–51

Fertilizer use and food production: World scene

  • D. J. Greenwood

DOI: 10.1007/BF01072876

Cite this article as:
Greenwood, D.J. Fertilizer Research (1981) 2: 33. doi:10.1007/BF01072876


Cereal yield per ha in the different countries of the world is almost proportional to the rate of fertilizer application. Yields in countries where most people live are severely limited by nutrient deficiencies. Unless steps are taken to rectify these deficiencies, crop yields will always be very poor, even if other improved agronomic practices are adopted.

Much fertilizer is at present wasted because of difficulties in forecasting how to adjust levels and methods of application for differences in conditions. More widespread adoption of ‘mechanistic’ approaches to studying the problems than hitherto offers opportunities for improvement. Considerable scope also exists for saving fertilizer by more re-cycling of nutrients, by greater biological-N fixation and by the adoption of better cropping sequences.

Only a minute fraction of the present consumption of fossil energy in the world is needed to manufacture all the required fertilizer. Adequate supplies of potassium and phosphate minerals probably exist to meet demand. The major problems in the future are likely to arise from the fact that essential resources are very unevenly distributed in relation to where they are needed to grow food.

Key words

energy models N-fixation nutrients re-cycling yield food production 

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff/Dr. W. Junk Publishers bv 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. J. Greenwood
    • 1
  1. 1.National Vegetable Research StationWellesbourne, WarwickUK

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