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Advances in agronomy volume 17


A D V A N C E S IN

AGRONOMY
VOLUME 17


CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS VOLUME

MARKA. BARMORE
HOWARD
J. BROOKS
A. J. CLINE
ROUSES. FARNHAM
GEORGET. FELBECK,
JR.
H. R. FINNEY
HAROLD
W. FOCLE
H. J. GORZ
ERHARDT

R. HEHN
DONAL
D. JOHNSON
JOHN W. MCKAY
LEWISR. NELSON
W. K. SMITH


ADVANCES IN

AGRONOMY
Prepared under the Auspices of the
AMEZICANSOCETYOF AGRONOMY

VOLUME 17
Edited by A. G. NORMAN
The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

ADVISORY BOARD
H. D. MORRIS
F. L. PATTERSON
K. T. PAYNE

C. 0. GARDNER
C. L. HAMILTON
W. P. MARTIN

1965

@

ACADEMIC PRESS

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CONTRIBUTORS TO VOLUME 17
Numbers in parentheses indicate the pages on which the authors’ contributions begin.

BARMORE,
MARKA. ( G ) ,Chemist, Western Wheat Quality Laboratory,
Crops Research Division, Agricultural Research Service, United
States Department of Agriculture, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington
BROOKS,HOWARDJ . (283). Research Horticulturist, Crops Research
Division, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department
of Agriculture, Beltsville, Maryland
CLINE,A. J . (233), Senior Soil Correlator, Soil Conservation Service, Fort
Collins, Colorado
FARNHAM,
ROUSES. ( 115),Assistant Professor, Department of Soil Science,
University of Minnesota, Institute of Agriculture, St. Paul, Minnesota
FELBECK,
GEORGE
T., JR. (327), Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Chemistry, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode

Island
FINNEY,H. R. (115), Research Assistant, Department of Soil Science,
University of Minnesota, lnstitute of Agriculture, St. Paul, Minnesota
FOGLE,HAROLD
W. (283), Research Horticulturist, Crops Research Diukion, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of
Agriculture, Beltsville, Mayland
GORZ,H. J. (la),
Research Geneticist, Crops Researoh Division, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture,
and Professor, Department of Agronomy, University of Nebraska,
Lincoln,Nebraska
HEHN,E R H A ~R.T (S),
Head, Department of Plant and SOU Science,
Montana State College, Bozeman, Montana
DONAL
D. (233), Professor of Soils, Department of Agronomy,
Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado

JOHNSON,

MCKAY,JOHN W. (283),Research Horticulturist, Crops Research Division, Agricultural Research Seroice, United States Department of
Agriculture, Beltsville, Maryland
V


vi

CONTRIBUTORS

NELSON,
LEWISB. ( l ) ,Manager, O@ce of Agricultural and Chemical Development, Tennessee Valley Authority, Wilson Dam, Alabama
SMITH,W. K. (la),
Professor, Departments of Agronomy and Genetics,
and Agent, Crops Research Division, Agricultural Research Service,
United States Department of Agriculture, University of Wisconsin,
Madison, Wisconsin


PREFACE
In all countries of the world in which scientific agriculture is practiced,
crop production and acre yields have increased markedly in the last two
decades. Fertilizers, efficiently used, have contributed substantially to
this progress. World-wide fertilizer consumption is steadily rising. As
technical and economic resources are acquired in areas now less favored,
so is it to*be expected that striking changes in production will occur.
The slopes may even be steeper. Although specific recommendations
may not be applicable, the principles of efficient practice are transferable, and technological improvements in fertilizer chemistry, which have
made new materials available, have widened the possibilities of fertilizer
choice. In several earlier volumes, authors have dealt with developments
in fertilizer technology and usage, but no apology is needed for returning again to these topics. The lead article in this volume, by L. B. Nelson,
is an authoritative and comprehensive review of the newer developments which hold so much promise in meeting the needs for food by
the expanding world population.
The improvement of crop varieties through recombination of available
germplasm is another powerful factor in increased yields. The article
by W. K. Smith and Gorz on Sweetclover Improvement includes an
elegant discussion of the complex considerations that must be encompassed in a crop breeding program. Similarly, when quality for a specific
purpose is the primary objective, as in the case with wheat for milling
and baking, the criteria to be superimposed on those relating to agronomic characters become quite sophisticated, Hehn and Barmore give
an account of work which, though not widely known, affects everyone's
daily bread.
From time-to-time, it is appropriate to include consideration of horticultural crops, some of which in an era of high labor costs present severe
problems to the grower. Tree fruit and nut production in the United
States are discussed by Brooks, Fogle, and McKay, who stress the necessity for research on improvements in the characteristics of the trees and
modifications in management practice to meet these new situations.
The remaining three chapters are examples of different types of basic
work on soils. G. T. Felbeck presents a scholarly review of the old, but
ever new, problem of the chemistry of soil humus substances, a durable
and recalcitrant problem, which is being reduced slowly by the application of new techniques in chemistry. Organic soils have long presented
difficulties in classification. Systems hitherto available have been less
comprehensive and firmly based than those developed for mineral soils.
Vii


viii

PREFACE

Farnham and Finney have faced the need for a new system, which should
be a more refined tool in mapping and management, and which incorporates nomenclature changes consistent with those adopted in “Soil
Classification, 7th Approximation” by the Soil Survey staff of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture. Fascinating aspects of soil genesis are reviewed in the chapter on Colorado Mountain Soils by Johnson and Cline.
This state is veritably a laboratory in which soil-forming processes may
be studied, because of the enormous range of climatic, geological, and
vegetation variables that occur therein. Within a few miles may be found
representative soils that elsewhere lie far apart.
Once again it is appropriate to conclude with a recognition of the
services provided by our authors in making available to their colleagues
these stimulating reviews.
A. G . NORMAN
Ann Arbor, Michigan
July, 1965


CONTENTS

CONTRIBUTORS
TO VOLUME17

........................................

PREFACE...........................................................

Page
v

vii

ADVANCES IN FERTILIZERS
LEWISB. NELSON
I.
I1.
I11.
IV .
V.
VI .
VII .
VIII .
IX .

Introduction .................................................
Fertilizer Consumption and Use ................................
Nitrogen ....................................................
Phosphorus ..................................................
Potassium ...................................................
Mixed Fertilizers .............................................
Sulfur ......................................................
Micronutrients ...............................................
Outlook .....................................................
References ..................................................

1
2
11
29
49
56

70
74
78
80

BREEDING WHEAT FOR QUALITY
ERHARDT
R . HEHNAND MARK A . BARMORE

I.
I1.
I11.
IV .
V.
VI .
VII .

Introduction .................................................
The Protein Story .............................................
Milling and Baking Research Laboratories ........................
Microquality Flour Tests ......................................
Micromilling Methods .........................................
Genetics and Breeding ........................................
Conclusions .................................................
References ..................................................

85
86
88
90
99
100
111
112

CLASSIFICATION AND PROPERTIES OF ORGANIC SOILS

.

R . S . FARNHAM
AND H R. FINNEY

I. Introduction .................................................
11 Distribution and Extent .......................................

.

ix

115
116


CONTENTS

X

111.
IV .
V.
VI .
VII .

Criteria Used in Classifying Organic Soils ........................
Properties of Organic Soils .....................................
Morphology of Organic Soil Horizons ............................
Bases for Proposed Classification System ..........................
Summary and Conclusions .....................................
References ..................................................

117
127
135
143
159
160

SWEETCLOVER IMPROVEMENT
W . K . SMITHAND H . J . GORZ
I . Introduction .................................................
I1. Morphology and Reproduction ..................................
111. Culture and Physiology ........................................
IV . Utilization ..................................................
V . Genetics and Cytogenetics .....................................
VI . Breeding ....................................................
VII . Coumarin ...................................................
VIII . Diseases ....................................................
IX. Insects ......................................................
X . Other Characters .............................................
XI. Conclusions .................................................
References ..................................................

164
167
170
175
183
191
197
211
115
220
221
223

COLORADO MOUNTAIN SOILS
D . D . JOHNSON
A N D A . J . CLINE

I . Introduction

.................................................
..........................................
111. Characteristics of the Soils of the Mountains of Colorado . . . . . . . . . . . .
IV . Summary ....................................................
References ..................................................
Selected Bibliography .........................................
I1. General Soil Patterns

234
244
256
280
281
281

PROGRESS AND PROBLEMS IN TREE FRUIT
AND NUT PRODUCTION
H. J . BROOKS.
H . W. FOGLE.A N D J . W . MCKAY
I . Pome Fruits
I1. Stone Fruits

.................................................
. . . . . . ..'. ........................................

283
295


CONTENTS

.

Edible Tree Nuts ............................................
IV . Summary ...................................................
References ..................................................

111

xi
313
324
325

STRUCTURAL CHEMISTRY OF SOIL HUMlC SUBSTANCES

. .

G T FELBECK.
]R .

1. Introduction ..............................................
I1. Degradation .................................................
111. Chemical Methods of Functional Group Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
IV . Spectroscopy .................................................
V . Humic Acid-Like Materials from Geologic Deposits Not Classified as
Soils ......................................................
VI . Alternative Hypotheses for the Structure of Soil Humic Substances . . .
VII . Conclusions ..................................................
References ..................................................

AUTHOR
INDEX......................................................
SWJECTINDEX

.....................................................

328
331
342
347
354
357
364
365

369
379


This Page Intentionally Left Blank


ADVANCES I N FERTILIZERS
Lewis B. Nelson
Tennessee Valley Authority. Wilson Dam. Alabama

I. Introduction .................................................
I1. Fertilizer Consumption and Use ................................
A . World ..................................................
B. United States ...........................................
I11. Nitrogen ....................................................
A. Sources of Fixed Nitrogen .................................
B. Nitric Acid .............................................
C. Nitrogen Materials .......................................
IV . Phosphorus ..................................................
A Phosphate Rock .........................................
B Phosphoric Acid Production ...............................
C. Phosphorus Materials .....................................
V . Potassium ...................................................
A . Reserves and Production ...................................
B. Mining and Processing ...................................
C. Potassium Materials ......................................
VI . Mixed Fertilizers ............................................
A . Ammoniation ............................................
B. Nongranulated Mixed Fertilizers ...........................
C. Granulated Mixed Fertilizers ..............................
D. Bulk Blends .............................................
E. Liquid Mixed Fertilizers ..................................
VII . Sulfur ......................................................
VIII . Micronutrients ...............................................
IX . Outlook ....................................................
References ..................................................

.
.

1

.

Page
1
2
2

6
11
12
14
15
29
30
34
38
49
49
52

53
56
60
61
62
65
67
70
74
78
80

Introduction

Changes are occurring more rapidly in the world fertilizer industry
than at any time in its history. Consumption is climbing rapidly . Crop
production and world food supplies are dependent more and more upon
application of fertilizers. and food-deficient countries are recognizing the
importance of fertilizers. Additional phosphate and potash deposits have
been discovered. and better and more efficient mining and beneficiation
methods are being developed. Fertilizer materials that dominated the
world market for years are giving way to newer products . New and
1


2

LEWIS B. NELSON

improved manufacturing processes are appearing ever more rapidly,
bringing more important new materials to the front. New marketing
methods and innovations are exerting tremendous impact.
The world fertilizer industry has become increasingly technologically
minded. It is more sophisticated and more e5cient. Research in the
chemistry and technology of fertilizers is expanding. Important advances
not only are coming more frequently, but also are receiving immediate
and widespread adoption. Farmers, particularly in the more developed
countries, are showing much greater willingness to adopt fertilizer innovations. They are increasingly more knowledgeable about sound fertilizer practices and the economics involved.
All these changes are being felt by world agriculture. Prices paid by
farmers for plant nutrients are declining rather than increasing like so
many items modern farmers must buy. Quality of fertilizers is improved,
and application and handling have become less tedious. Determination
of specific crop and soil needs has become more scientific. Farmers have
learned to better fit fertilizer practices into their overall farm business.
It all adds up to greater returns for every dollar spent on fertilizers.
The rapidly changing technology of fertilizers has been presented in
Advances in Agronomy, first by Jones and Rogers (1949) and later by
Jacob (1959). This paper reviews major developments since 1957, the
last year covered by Jacob's review, and presents a picture of the world
fertilizer industry as it exists today.
II. Fertilizer Consumption and Use

A. WORLD
World fertilizer consumption, excluding mainland China, totaled
24,553,000 short tons of nitrogen ( N ) , phosphorus ( P ) , and potassium
( K ) (32,342,000 of N, Pz06, and K20)for the fertilizer year 1961-1962
[Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations ( FA0 ), 19631,
F A 0 studies show that consumption has climbed steadily since World
War I1 and that most of the increase has been used on existing acreages.
For example, fertilizer consumption increased some 280 per cent since
1945-1946, while cropland acreages increased less than 20 per cent.
Although consumption of each primary nutrient has continued to increase (Table I ) , nitrogen has gained most rapidly. Phosphorus, on the
elemental basis, showed the smallest tonnage increase.
Consumption for the various continents and the U.S.S.R. is given in
Table I. Of interest is the fact that Europe and North and Central
America together consumed about 74 per cent of the worlds NPK both
in 1956-1957 and 1961-1962. (The United States consumed about 90 per


TABLE I
World Plant Nutrient Consumption, Excluding Mainland China, for the Fertilizer
Years 1956-1957 and 1961-1962 in 1000 Short Tonsa
Continent
or country

1956-1957

Europe
3,349
U.S.S.R.
608
North and Central
2,399
America
South America
133
Asia
1,289
Africa
224
Oceania
40
Total
8,042
5

K

P

N

Total

1961-1962

1956-1957

1961-1962

19561957

1961-1962

4,836
947

1,744
366

2,139
406

3,459
694

4,217
648

1956-1957
8,552
1,668

1961-1982
11,192
1,999

sg
z
B
CI

z

3,614
188
1,850
408
50

1,129
65
239
112
304

1,301
98
358
145
379

1,728
65
516
49
38

2,026
111
634
94
111

5,256
263
2,044
385
382

6,941
397
2,842
647
540

11,893

3,959

4,826

6,549

7,839

18,550

24,558

9

M

3

2

5

F A 0 (1963).

w


4

LEWIS B. NELSON

cent of that used in North and Central America.) Percentagewise, the
greatest increases in fertilizer use occurred in the less developed countries; but the tonnages remain small.
F A 0 data for plant nutrient consumption per acre of arable land are
given in Table 11. Europe has the most intensive fertilizer use, followed
by North and Central America and Oceania. However, great variations
exist among countries, depending on their stage of development, density
of population, and climate.
TABLE I1
Fertilizer Consumption per Acre of Arable Land in 1960-1961a
Average pounds per acre of arable land
Continent or country

N

Europe
23.96
U.S.S.R.
2.99
North and
Central America
10.69
South America
2.56
Asia (excluding mainland
China and North Korea) 4.54
Africa
1.23
Oceania
0.98
World average
6.94

P

K

Total

10.96
1.40

21.50
2.48

56.42
6.87

4.05
0.90

6.21
1.63

20.95
5.09

7.18
1.74
0.90
1.96
0.30
0.43
13.21
2.25
9.98
14.65
4.80
2.91
a FA0 (1963). FA0 uses the term “arable land” to include land planted to
crops ( double-cropped area counted only once), land temporarily fallow, temporary
meadows, garden land, and land in fruits.

Countries using over 100 pounds of N, P, and K per acre of arable
land during 1960-1961 (FAO, 1963) were as follows: the Netherlands,
332 pounds; Belgium, 250; New Zealand, 217; Japan, 215; German Federal
Republic, 181; Taiwan, 154; Luxembourg, 146; Switzerland, 142; East
Germany, 134; United Kingdom, 125; Norway, 121; Republic of Korea,
106; and Denmark, 104. It is interesting to note that practically all of
these are well-developed countries having a high density of population.
Countries using between 20 and 100 pounds of N, P, and K per arable
acre include: Austria, 80; Ireland, 75; United Arab Republic, 70; France,
65; Czechoslovakia, 61; Finland, 58; Israel, 56; Sweden, 55; Poland, 34;
Italy, 33; Peru, 32; United States, 26; Greece, 26; Bulgaria, 25; Cuba, 24;
Spain, 21; and Yugoslavia, 20.
Countries averaging less than 20 pounds per acre of arable land include: Hungary, 19; Chile, 12; South Africa, 12; Dominican Republic, 10;
Australia, 9; Brazil, 9; Philippines, 9; Mexico, 7; U.S.S.R., 7; Algeria, 5;
Canada, 5; Rumania, 5; India, 2; and Turkey, 1. F A 0 has not provided
individual data for other low-fertilizer-using countries, apparently because of lack of information.


5

ADVANCES IN FERTILIZERS

Recent surveys in England, Wales, and Scotland (Fertiliser Manufacturers Association, 1964) show that virtually 100 per cent of the
acreage of cereals, sugar beets, and potatoes now receive fertilizer. Peracre rates of nitrogen applied on cereals have increased sharply in recent
years, while the rates for phosphorus and potassium have held fairly constant. Rates used on' sugar beets and potatoes have increased for all three
nutrients. For temporary grass, 69 per cent of the total acreage received
nitrogen and about half received phosphorus and potassium. For permanent grass, 38 per cent of the acreage received nitrogen, 34 per cent
TABLE I11
Use of Primary Nutrients on Major Crops in England, Wales, and Scotlanda
Average rate per fertilized acre (pounds)
Crop

N

15
19
45
51
26
27
Fertiliser Manufacturers Association ( 1964).

Spring cereals
Winter cereals
Sugar beets
Potatoes
Temporary grass
Permanent grass

41
56
118
115
51
43

P

K

32
37
137
147
38
33

Total

88
112
300
313
115
103

phosphorus, and 28 per cent potassium. Use of nitrogen has increased
substantially on all grasslands in recent years, but there has been little
change in phosphorus and potassium. Average rates of application per
acre for different crops are given in Table 111.
Indications are that world consumption of fertilizers will continue
to increase at a rapid rate. Major fertilizer-using countries are continuing
to build plants, and considerable activity is under way in construction
of new fertilizer facilities in many of the low-fertilizer-using countries.
Large ammonia facilities are being built or planned near sources of natural gas, with the intention of exporting low-cost ammonia. Phosphorus
and potassium deposits are being exploited rapidly.
The eventual level of fertilizer consumption in different countries is
subject to considerable speculation. Coleman (1963), for example, has
estimated that world requirements, excluding mainland China, will rise
to 54 million short tons of N, PzO5, and KzO by 1970 and to 77 million
by 1980.
Parker et al. (1964) suggest that fertilizer consumption in the already
high-consuming Western countries will increase at a slower pace than
in the lower-fertilizer-using countries. They project an average annual
increase for the high-consuming Western countries of about 3 per cent,
resulting in a total consumption increase from 22.0 million short tons of


6

LEWIS B. NELSON

N, P205,and K 2 0 in 1960 to 39.8 million in 1980. This conclusion is based
on the current high level of nutrition in most of these countries, the
comparatively low rate of increase of population, and the limited opportunities for agricultural export. Japan may already have reached or possibly exceeded its immediate total fertilizer needs. Countries with more
moderate fertilizer use rates, such as the United States, are likely to
increase at a more rapid rate. Heady and Tweeten (1963), for example,
estimate that fertilizer consumption in the United States will increase
60 to 67 per cent by 1980 over 1960.
According to Parker et d. (1964), eastern Europe and the U.S.S.R.
are expected to increase consumption at an average annual rate of about
12 per cent from 1960 to 1970 and at a somewhat lower rate from 1970
to 1980. Total consumption of N, PZOS, and KzO on this basis would
increase from 5.5 million short tons in 1960 to 27.9 million in 1980. Recent
reports indicate that steps are being taken in these countries, especially
in the U.S.S.R., markedly to increase fertilizer production and use
(Anonymous, 1964h,j).
In developing countries, where the urgency to increase agricultural
production is great and fertilizer use is low, fertilizers must be used in
ever larger amounts to meet the needs of expected increases in population and the greater per capita food consumption associated with
economic development. Estimates by Parker et d. (1964) indicate that
consumption must increase at the average annual rate of 15 per cent from
1960 to 1970 and 10 per cent from 1970 to 1980 if even modest levels of
human nutrition are to be achieved. This would increase the N, PzO5,
and KzO consumption from 3.0 million short tons in 1960 to 31.2 million
in 1980. The task of producing these kinds of increases in nonindustrialized countries is formidable. Lack of education of farmers, credit
limitations, and the high price of fertilizers in relation to the farmers’
ability to pay, underdeveloped or inadequate transportation and marketing systems, and many other factors must be overcome before the full
potential from fertilizers as a developmental tool can be realized,
Coleman (1963) estimates that mainland China has doubled its
fertilizer production since 1958. He further estimates that the minimum
need for plant nutrients by 1969-1970 will be about 5.5 million short
tons of N, PZO5,and KzO.

B. UNITEDSTATES
United States consumption, including Puerto Rico, totaled 7,367,516
short tons of N, P, and K (9,532,065 tons of N, PzO5, and KzO) for the
fertilizer year 1962-1963 (Scholl et al., 1984). Consumption has increased
steadily each year since 1942 when total consumption was 1,344,000 tons
of N, P, and K (2,076,000 tons of N, P206, and KzO).


ADVANCES IN FERTILIZERS

7

Increases in fertilizer use following World War I1 resulted initially
from the response of the American farmer to meet demands for increased
crop production during the postwar reconstruction period when exports
were high. This period was immediately followed by the Korean war,
which again placed a heavy demand on production. Following the
Korean war, however, the demand for farm products declined, but production continued to climb and farm income fell as a result. Caught in
a cost-price squeeze (farm prices fell 12 per cent while the cost of many
production items rose 50 per cent) and government-imposed acreage
controls, the farmer turned to those methods available to him which
would permit more production on fewer acres at less cost. Chief among
these was increased use of fertilizer since it was cheapest relative to the
production boost it gave and capital invested in fertilizer gave quick
returns. During all this time, rapid introduction of new technology into
the fertilizer industry, the construction of more efficient plants, and replacement of older, more expensive forms of fertilizers by less expensive
ones actually resulted in a decline in plant nutrient prices at a time when
most other production costs were increasing (Fig. 1). This, in turn,
further encouraged greater fertilizer use relative to other input factors
(Fig. 2 ) .
Consumption of N, P, and K from 1956-1957 to 1962-1963 increased
55 per cent. As elsewhere in the world, greatest gains were recorded for
nitrogen, which accounted for 37 of the 55 percentile points. Phosphorus
accounted for 7 and potassium for 11. Tonnage gains for each of the
primary nutrients are shown in Fig. 3.
Several factors apparently were responsible for the striking gain in
nitrogen consumption. These included recognition by farmers of the high
requirements of major crops for nitrogen, the need for higher and higher
per-acre yields in order to combat the cost-price squeeze, and the continuing replacement by chemical nitrogen of nitrogen previously produced by legumes in the crop rotation. These, coupled with increased
availability of fertilizer nitrogen at lower unit cost, all worked together
to bring about the upsurge in nitrogen consumption.
Not all regions' in the United States experienced similar gains in N,
1 The units comprising the regions are: New England-Maine,
New Hampshire,
Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut; Middle Atlantic-New York,
New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, West Virginia;
South Atlantic-Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida; East
North CentrubOhio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin; West North CentraZMinnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas; East
South Central-Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi; West South CentralArkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas; Mountain-Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada; Pacific-Washington, Oregon, and California. Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico are reported separately.


8

LEWIS B. NELSON

P, and K consumption during the period 1956-1957 to 1962-1963 (Scholl
et al., 1958, 1964). The New England States gained least-6.3 per cent
and 5,600 tons-reflecting the declining agriculture and increasing urbanization of the region. Both phosphorus and potassium consumption
declined slightly, increased nitrogen consumption making up the difference.
1

1950

1954

1958

1962

FIG. 1. Prices of selected farm inputs in the United States, 1950-1962. (Plant
nutrient costs based on N, P205,and K20.)Index: 1950 = 100. ( U . S. Department
of Agriculture and Tennessee Valley Authority.)

FIG. 2. Use of selected farm inputs in the United States, 1950-1962. Index:
1950 = 100. ( U. S. Department of Agriculture.)


9

ADVANCES IN FERTILIZERS

Modest gains, well below those experienced nationally, were recorded
in three of the older fertilizer-using regions. NPK use in the Middle
Atlantic States increased by 77,000 tons or 20 per cent, in the South
Atlantic by 240,000 tons or 23 per cent, and in the East South Central
by 159,000 tons or 26 per cent. Consumption of phosphorus showed the
least gain in all three regions, apparently reflecting the decreasing crop

I

1957

I

I

1959
1961
Year ended June 3 0

I

I

1963

FIG.3. Consumption of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the United
States and Puerto Rico, years ended June 30, 1957-1963. (U. S. Department of Agriculture.)

response to this element resulting from its large residual buildup in the
soils. Nitrogen and potassium use increased in all three regions, the
largest increase in potassium occurring in the South Atlantic States.
NPK consumption in the East North Central States increased 622,000
tons or 58 per cent, the largest gain again occurring with nitrogen. In
the West North Central States, plant nutrient usage increased 802,000
tons or 136 per cent. Nitrogen use more than doubled, and large increases
occurred both for phosphorus and potassium. The West South Central
States experienced a 408,000-ton or 110-per cent increase, with a large
increase in nitrogen and smaller gains for the other two elements.
In the Pacific States, NPK use increased 195,000 tons or 50 per cent
from 1956-1957 to 1962-1963. Percentagewise, the increase was about


10

LEWIS B. NELSON

evenly divided among the three elements, but the largest tonnage increase, 157,000 tons, was with nitrogen, the most used element in the region. (In 1962-1963, the Pacific States consumed 466,000tons of N, 70,000
tons of P, and 44,OOO tons of K.) Consumption in the Mountain States
increased 105,000 tons or 85 per cent. This region, traditionally a sma11
user of potassium, used 172,000 tons of nitrogen, 50,000 tons of phosphorus, and 6,000 tons of potassium in 1962-1963 compared with 9O,OOO,

Cror,

TABLE IV
Use of Primary Plant Nutrients on Major Crops
in the United States During 19595
Average rate
Percentage
per fertilized acre (pounds)
K
Total
fertilizedh
N
P

~

Corn
Sorghum
Soybeans
Peanuts
Cotton
Tobacco
Sugar beets
Potatoes
Vegetables
Tree fruits
Wheat
Rice
Oats
Barley
Tame hay and cropland
pasture
Improved permanent
pasture
5

64
21
16
67
64
99
93
88
75
73
38
93
30
37

41
54
9
12
68
75
91
99
72
94
26
53
19
30

11

20
Ibach et al. ( 1964).
U. S. Department of Agriculture.

16
12
15
15
63
41
58
40
26
13
14
14
10

31
19
32
39
41
151
44
117
68
85
28
28
30
23

66
129
289
176
274
180
205
67
95
63
63

28

21

40

89

27

16

28

71

20

88
85
58

30,000, and 3,000 tons, respectively, in 19561957. Fertilizer consumption
in Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico changed little either in the amounts
or proportions of the elements used.
The most recent US. Department of Agriculture data on fertilizer
use by crops is given in Table IV. The high cash return crops-tobacco,
tree fruit, vegetables, potatoes, sugar beets, and cotton-are the most
completely and highly fertilized. Only a relatively small percentage of
the small grain acreage is fertilized, and, where applied, the fertilizer is
used at relatively low rates. Soybeans, which seldom respond much to
fertilizer, receive very little. Hay and pasture are unquestionably the
most underfertilized crops in the country.


11

ADVANCES I N FERTILIZERS

As shown in Table V, over 37 per cent of all plant nutrients used in
the United States are applied to corn. Tame hay and cropland pasture,
wheat, and cotton each account for over 8 per cent of the total used.
Nutrient use on each of the other crops is considerably less as a result
of either low acreages or low nutrient use per acre.
TABLE V
Total Acreage Fertilized and Percentage Distribution of Plant Nutrient Use by
Major Crops in the United States During 1959

Crop

Corn
51,095
Sorghum
3,725
Soybeans
3,633
Peanuts
963
Cotton
9,398
Tobacco
1,115
Sugar beets
846
Potatoes
1,087
Vegetables
3,739
Tree fruits
2,981
Wheat
18,986
Rice
1,504
Oats
7,868
Barley
5,300
Tame hay and cropland
pasture
13,314
Improved permanent
pasture
4,740
All other, including
nonfarm
a

Nutrient use,
per cent of U. S. total

Total acreage
fertilized
( 1000 acres)

N

P

K

Total

39.3
3.9
0.3
0.01
12.4
1.6
1.4
2.1
5.3
5.4
8.6
1.6
2.8
2.9

36.5
1.2
2.5

37.7
0.5
3.1
1.1
7.0
5.0
0.2
2.9
6.1
4.0
6.8
0.5
0.7

37.9
2.0
1.9
0.6
8.8
3.2
1.1
2.6
6.1
3.8
8.4
0.9
4.1
1.9

5.3

12.7

11.6

9.7

2.2

3.5

3.2

2.9

-

4.89

3.2
-

4.5
-

100.0

100.0

100.0

0.6

6.5
3.4
1.5
2.9
6.9
2.0
9.5
0.6
4.7
1.8



5.1

4.1

100.0

U. S. Department of Agriculture.

111. Nitrogen

Recent years have seen a marked revolution in the nitrogen fertilizer
industry. Changes have occurred not so much from the introduction of
new materials, but in greatly expanded production and consumption, the
changing importance of the different nitrogen materials, the sources of
hydrogen used in the manufacture of ammonia, and in improvements of
manufacturing processes.
According to the British Sulphur Corporation’s statistics on world
nitrogen production for 19621963 ( Anonymous, 1964d), three-fourths
of the worlds fixed nitrogen (15,434,000short tons) is produced by nine


12

LEWIS B. NELSON

countries: United States, 26.9 per cent; West Germany, 9.5; Japan, 8.4;
U.S.S.R., 8.4; France, 5.9; Italy, 5.3; United Kingdom, 4.4; and Canada
and the Netherlands each 3.1. Approximately 85 per cent of all fixed
nitrogen is used in fertilizers. The major exporters of nitrogen fertilizers
are West Germany, Italy, and Japan.
The nitrogen industry is expanding rapidly (Table VI), with the
greatest expansion in the United States. By the end of 1985, a number
of new projects also are expected to be completed in India, Pakistan,
Burma, Malaya, Vietnam, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Japan, Philippines, and Australia. New projects in Africa are under development and
construction. Central and South American countries are adding substantial tonnages, The United Kingdom and other western European
TABLE VI
Output and Per Cent Changes in World Production of Nitrogenous Fertilizers
between 1958-1957 and 1961-1962a
Output, 1000 short tone N
Continent or country
Europe

U.S.S.R.
North and Central America
South America
Asia
Africa
Oceania
a

World total
FA0 (1963).

1956-1957
4,079
634
2,496
249
990

44
29
8,521

1961-1962
6,009
1,036
3,631
287
1,539
183
31
12,716

Per cent
increase

47.3
63.4
45.5
15.3
55.5
315.9
6.9
49.3

counties are expanding production. Recently announced plans by the
U.S.S.R. involving 28 new nitrogen plants, if carried to completion, probably would amount to the most massive fertilizer nitrogen expansion
program in the history of the industry (Anonymous, 1964f).
According to Coleman (1963), world consumption of nitrogen can be
expected to double between 1960 and 1970, the percentage increase
being greatest in the nutritionally deficient countries. In tonnage, however, greatest increases are expected to be in those countries already
consuming large amounts of nitrogen and in eastern Europe and the
U.S.S.R.
A. SOURCESOF FIXED
N~OGEN
Over 80 per cent of the estimated 20-million-ton nitrogen capacity of
the world is based on synthetic ammonia. In early 1963, some 278 synthetic ammonia plants were in operation and another 43 were under construction (Sweeney, 1963). The remaining 20 per cent of the worlds


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