On first thought the answer would likely be yield or economics. Upon deeper contemplation the answer might be growing populations. However one of the other drivers for the use of fertilizer is changing diets. As standards of living increase, one of the changes that people make are improvements to their diet. For example the daily caloric intake in China has gone up by 50 percent since 1978. Within this increase is a near doubling of protein consumption, of which the majority of this is due to eating more meat. This is partially why for example Australian beef exports saw strong increases last year in beef exports.
What does this increase in meat consumption have to do with fertilizer? This increase in consumption ultimately increases the consumption of grains. Depending upon the protein type, more grain must be utilized to produce more meat. For example, for every pound of chicken, two pounds of grain are used to grow this protein. For cattle it is eight times, pork is almost four to one. Certainly this is dependent upon what the animal is fed but it takes more grain to produce more protein. This along with growing populations is why China has gone from being an exporter of corn, to an importer.
How does one increase the production of grains? Certainly one of the ways this is achieved is through the proper use of fertilization.
If you would like to discuss a fertilizer or other mining project, please contact Schlumpberger Inc.