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Journal Articles Agricultural Economics Year : 2015

Evaluating the impact of rising fertilizer prices on crop yields


Because of tensions on fossil energy and phosphorus markets, the rise in fertilizer prices observed during the last decades may continue in the future, putting into question production pathways relying heavily on crop intensification. To evaluate how, in this context, economic choices may alter crop yields, we first construct different fertilizer price scenarios to 2050 based on an econometric relation with oil and gas prices. Other possible scenarios, such as the continuation of historical trends, are also considered. The resulting changes in fertilizer price range between +0.8% and +3.6% per year over the 2005–2050 period. These scenarios are tested in a global land-use model incorporating an endogenous representation of the land–fertilizer substitution. We find that the supply-side response to rising fertilizer prices could lower crop yields in 2050 from −6% to −13%, with a corresponding increase in global cropland area ranging between 100 and 240 Mha if the demand for food and nonfood products has to be met. The sensitivity of these results is tested with regard to assumptions on food consumption, change in potential yield and nutrient use efficiency.

Dates and versions

hal-01174735 , version 1 (09-07-2015)



Thierry Brunelle, Patrice Dumas, François Souty, Bruno Dorin, Nadaud Franck. Evaluating the impact of rising fertilizer prices on crop yields. Agricultural Economics, 2015, 46, pp.1-14. ⟨10.1111/agec.12161⟩. ⟨hal-01174735⟩
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