U.S. corn farmers yet again proved that they are growing more with less year after year. According to USDA and The Fertilizer Institute data, farmers decreased usage of key fertilizers by roughly one-third per bushel in the last 30 years.
“Farmers truly were the first environmentalists,” said National Corn Growers Association Production and Stewardship Action Team Chair Steve Ebke. “The multigenerational nature of our operations constantly reminds us of why we want to improve both farming practices and our land. By reducing fertilizer usage per bushel, we save valuable resources, decrease our environmental impact and produce our crop more affordably. It is a true win-win situation for farmers and consumers.”
Between 1978 and 2010, phosphorus use decreased by 43.3 percent per bushel with potash and nitrogen use decreasing by 38.6 and 31.5 percent per bushel respectively. The data, based on three-year averages collected by the USDA, highlights the efficiency gains farmers have had during that period. While overall usage declined less sharply, simultaneous dramatic increases in average yields meant significant gains in the efficiency of the product used.
Over the same period, the overall amount of fertilizer use did decline despite consistently increased production. During the 32 year period, phosphorus use per acre decreased by 11.8 percent with 6.9 and 2.6 percent reductions in the use of nitrogen and potash respectively. Over the same span, average yields increased from roughly 95 to 155 bushels per acre.
“U.S. corn is a sustainable, reliable, affordable source of food, feed, fuel and fiber,” said Ebke. “Every year, we are improving our production techniques, increasing efficiencies and decreasing outputs while growing a crop that meets constantly increasing demand.”
For a full report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, click here.
(Source: National Corn Growers Association)