Falling Acreage of Planted Crops Weighing on Fertilizer Demand

Falling Acreage of Planted Crops Weighing on Fertilizer Demand

US demand for fertilizers is forecast to fall to 28.1 million metric tons in 2021. As structural changes in agricultural markets lead to declining acreage of planted crops, less fertilizer will be needed to sustain plant growth. Additionally, fertilizers are improving such that higher crop yields can be obtained with smaller volumes of fertilizer, inhibiting demand.

Regulatory Factors & Environmental Concerns

Fertilizers are regulated by federal and state laws, many of which address the explosive nature of some fertilizer compounds such as ammonium nitrate. Overuse of fertilizers is also a major concern, as runoff can negatively affect waterways and ecosystems. Some state and local governments have restricted the use or sale of chemical fertilizers: for instance, Virginia prohibits phosphate fertilizers for lawn use, and its golf courses are required to implement nutrient management plans by July 2017. Much of the regulations concerning phosphate and nitrogen are intended to combat fertilizer runoff, which can cause algal blooms that harm underwater life and impact the quality of drinking water.

Organic Produce Trends Sustaining Demand for Organic Fertilizers

Although demand for chemical fertilizer types is forecast to decline, sales of organic fertilizers are expected to perform better. Suppliers of organic fertilizers such as dried manure and compost will benefit from continued growth in demand for organic food items. However, organic produce will remain a relatively small share of the overall produce market, restraining growth in demand for fertilizers derived from biological sources.

Want to Learn More?

For in-depth analysis of fertilizer trends, see Fertilizers: United States, a report published by the Freedonia Focus Reports division of The Freedonia Group.

This report contains historical data and analysis of fertilizer demand in metric tons of nutrients from 2006-2016 with projections to 2021. Demand is segmented by fertilizer type as follows:

  • nitrogen
  • phosphate
  • potash
  • organic
  • other fertilizers.

Demand is also segmented by application as follows:

  • corn
  • wheat
  • soybean
  • cotton
  • other agriculture
  • non-agriculture.

While you’re there, you can check out related reports such as Pesticide Adjuvants: United States and Power Lawn & Garden Equipment: United States.

About the Author

Cara Brosius is a Research Analyst with Freedonia Focus Reports. She holds a degree in economics, and her experience as an analyst covers multiple industries.