Fertilizer often constitutes the major source of nutrients in a crop system. Therefore the input of nutrients in the form of fertilizer is often an important component of crop nutrient balances and assessments or monitoring of nutrient use efficiency at different scales. Crop nutrient balances highlight regions of the world where crop production could be limited by nutrients and/or where there are an excessive quantity being applied. The former situation may result in poor crop or livestock production with detrimental effects on food security, while the latter situation may lead to a loss of nutrients with potentially detrimental effects on the environment.
Collection of FUBC data is difficult and time-consuming at a global scale. While statistics for grain production in a country can be relatively easily estimated given you can attribute the quantity of grain back to a certain crop, this is not the case for FUBC data. Firstly, good information on country level FUBC is rarely available or monitored by statistical bureaus. Secondly, attributing fertilizer back to one certain crop can be made more difficult in countries where there is integration of grassland with crop production. In these cases fertilization of arable land can be part of a crop rotation that aids productivity of the subsequent grassland crops, or vice versa. Thirdly, multiple crops per year, or multiple crops in the same area of land can make a binary distribution of FUBC back to a single crop more difficult.
The first country level FUBC data were published in 1992 to fill the gap in data availability3 with (up until the present study) the latest results published in 2017. The first data were based on a survey of experts conducted by FAO, IFDC and IFA. Similar surveys were undertaken and published every two to four years for the main fertilizer-consuming countries. IFA has led these survey efforts since 2008. To our knowledge these are the only globally available dataset for FUBC.
The current dataset includes data from the latest FUBC survey conducted by IFA as well as a collation of all available FUBC data. The current 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. Nevertheless, this dataset constitutes the best estimates of FUBC at a country level with a global coverage to date.
Read more at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41597-022-01592-z#Sec7
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