Skip to main content

Temporal and regional variations of China’s fertilizer consumption by crops during 1998–2008

Abstract

The agricultural and land policies in China are always focused on protecting its food supply and security because of the country’s large population and improved diets. The crop production guide ‘Take Grain as the Key Link’ prompted peasants to plant grain on most of the agricultural land, leading to the majority of fertilizer being used in grain crops for many years in China. This situation has changed dramatically in recent years. Based on data pertaining to provincial crops sown area and fertilizer use per unit area in 1998 and 2008, the temporal and spatial variations of China’s fertilizer consumption by crops were analyzed at the provincial level, and the results are presented here. (1) Fertilizer consumption in China grew strongly in the last decade, while the growth was mainly attributable to the increase of fertilizer consumption by horticultural crops. The fertilizer consumption of grain crops dropped from 71.0% in 1998 to 57.8% in 2008. Thus, it is concluded that the emphasis of fertilizer consumption is shifting toward horticultural crops. (2) There were marked differences in the growth rates of fertilizer consumption from the regional point of view. The national average growth rate of fertilizer consumption was 31.9% during 1998–2008. The western and northeastern parts of the country came close to the national average, while the eastern part was lower, with an average of 13.0%, and central China was much higher (50.8%). The increase of fertilizer consumption in central and west China was higher than the other zones, which already accounted for 77.9% of the national total. Thus, it is concluded that the consumption emphasis of chemical fertilizer shifts toward the central and western regions. (3) The decline of fertilizer consumption by grain crops was largely due to the decrease in sown area compared with the increase by vegetable crops attributable to the enlarging sown area; the increase by orchard crops was affected by both expanding the sown area and fertilizer use per unit area.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Bosede A J, 2010. Economic assessment of fertilizer use and integrated practices for environmental sustainability and agricultural productivity in Sudan Savannah Zone, Nigeria. African Journal of Agricultural Research, 5(5): 338–343.

    Google Scholar 

  • Choudhury A T M A, Kennedy I R, 2005. Nitrogen fertilizer losses from rice soils and control of environmental pollution problems. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 36(11/12): 1625–1639.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gong P, Liang L, Zhang Q, 2011. China must reduce fertilizer use too. Nature, 473(7347): 284–285.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Huang J K, Hu R F, Cao J M et al., 2008. Training programs and in-the-field guidance to reduce China’s overuse of fertilizer without hurting profitability. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 63(5): 165A–167A.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Huang J K, Rozelle S, 1995. Environmental stress and grain yields in China. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 77(4): 853–864.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kunzova E, Hejcman M, 2009. Yield development of winter wheat over 50 years of FYM, N, P and K fertilizer application on black earth soil in the Czech Republic. Field Crops Research, 111(3): 226–234.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Li S Y, 1993. Yield stability and fertilizer efficiency of long-term triple cereal cropping in paddy fields of China. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 16(2): 151–153.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Li X B, Wang X H, 2003. Changes in agricultural land use in China: 1981–2000. Asian Geographer, 22(1/2): 27–42.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ma W Q, Li J H, Ma L et al., 2008. Nitrogen flow and use efficiency in production and utilization of wheat, rice, and maize in China. Agricultural Systems, 99(1): 53–63, doi: 10.1016/j.agsy.2008.10.001.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ma W Q, Mao D R, Zhang F S, 2001. Effect of adjusting cropping system on the fertilizer consumption in China. Phosphate & Compound Fertilizer, 16(4): 1–3. (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Stone K C, Camp C R, Sadler E J et al., 2010. Corn yield response to nitrogen fertilizer and irrigation in the southeastern coastal plain. Applied Engineering in Agriculture, 26(3): 429–438.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wang Q B, Catherine H, Stanley R J, 1996. Grain production and environmental management in China’s fertilizer economy. Journal of Environmental Management, 47(3): 283–296.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Xin L J, Li X B, Zhu H Y et al., 2009. China’s potential of grain production due to changes in agricultural land utilization in recent years. Chinese Geographical Science, 19(2): 97–103, doi: 10.1007/s11769-009-0103-x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zeng X B, Chen T B, Hu Q X et al., 2002. Grain productivity and its potential as related to fertilizer consumption among different counties of China. Acta Geographica Sinica, 57(5): 539–546. (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Zeng X B, Li J M, 2004. Fertilizer application and its effect on grain production in different counties of China. Scientia Agricultura Sinica, 37(3): 387–392. (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Zhang W F, Ji Y X, Ma J et al., 2008. Driving forces of fertilizer consumption in China (II): Planting structure. Resources Science, 30(1): 31–36. (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Zhu J, 2004. Public investment and China’s long-term food security under WTO. Food Policy, 29(1): 99–111.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Xiubin Li.

Additional information

Foundation: National Natural Science Foundation of China,No. 40971062; National Basic Research Program of China, No.2010CB950902; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41101085; No.41171079

Author: Xin Liangjie (1978−), Ph.D, specialized in land use change and its effect.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Xin, L., Li, X. & Tan, M. Temporal and regional variations of China’s fertilizer consumption by crops during 1998–2008. J. Geogr. Sci. 22, 643–652 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11442-012-0953-y

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11442-012-0953-y

Keywords

  • fertilizer consumption
  • by crops
  • temporal and regional variations
  • China