AbstractModern agriculture must strive to maximize yields, crop quality, and profit in the most sustainable manner. The rational use of fertilizer is one of the most influential factors affecting these traits. In this paper, we examine trends in fertilizer consumption on global, regional and local scales and describe the possible reasons for the trends in fertilizer consumption in Puerto Rico. World fertilizer consumption has more than quadrupled since the 1960s. Fertilizer consumption in most regions is either stable or increasing, with the biggest increase occurring in Asia. In contrast, the annual rate of fertilizer consumption in Puerto Rico was -2,740 t/yr, for the period between 1990 and 2006. Fertilizer consumption rates (in kg/ha) in Puerto Rico lag behind those of other countries in Latin America and elsewhere. The decrease in annual fertilizer consumption is primarily related to reductions in agricultural land- area (as defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO), and to a minor extent, to lower fertilizer rate applications. The latter suggests that most farmers are not fertilizing to maximize yields.
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