Gro’s Global Fertilizer Impact Monitor: What Does the Data Tell Us?

Talk to our our team about Gro's offering
Talk to our team

Reduced consumption of fertilizers, driven by supply disruptions, high fertilizer prices, and broader impacts of the war in Ukraine on global trade and energy markets, are threatening global agricultural production and worsening food insecurity.

Gro Intelligence’s Global Fertilizer Impact Monitor is the first tool to quantify the potential impact of fertilizer shortages on global crop production under different scenarios in a fully transparent way. 

Built with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and in partnership with the International Fertilizer Association (IFA), an association which represents providers of plant nutrition solutions, and CRU Group (CRU), a leading independent authority on fertilizer, the Global Fertilizer Impact Monitor is designed to help quantify the potential outcomes of the worldwide fertilizer crisis. 

In developing the Monitor, Gro modeled a total of seven different fertilizer application scenarios, based on application rate forecasts and scientific inputs from IFA and CRU Group. These include three scenarios from IFA’s recently published Medium-Term Fertilizer Outlook; CRU Group’s application rate estimate; and three uniform global fertilizer reduction scenarios of 1%, 3%, and 5%. 

Gro modeled the projected changes in yield caused by a given change in nitrogen fertilizer application rates for a given country and crop. From yield, Gro derives a production change. We then aggregate this production change across four major crops–wheat, rice, corn, and soybeans–after converting production to calories. See more on our methodology here.

Gro’s modeling indicates:

  • IFA’s “middle ground” scenario - which factors in a partial resumption of fertilizer exports from the Black Sea region and a continued affordability squeeze - could lead to a global production loss of 53 trillion calories, equivalent to 0.60% of total global corn, wheat, rice, and soybean production.
  • CRU Group’s estimate points to a global production loss of 72 trillion calories, equal to 0.82% of worldwide production across these four crops. 
  • IFA’s “pessimistic” scenario - which assumes an extended Russia-Ukraine conflict and continued Western sanctions, with falling affordability to farmers impacting their incentive to purchase fertilizers - results in a global production loss of 159 trillion calories, or 1.80% of total global corn, wheat, rice, and soybean production.
In developing the Global Fertilizer Impact Monitor, Gro modeled a total of seven different nitrogen fertilizer application scenarios, based on application rate forecasts and scientific inputs from the International Fertilizer Association (IFA) and CRU Group. The above image is a snapshot of worldwide outcomes resulting from the IFA ‘middle ground’ scenario, with darker shades representing greater declines in crop production.

While the overall global impact of reduced nitrogen fertilizer applications is less severe than estimates by other sources had feared, the effects are not distributed equally. Production in some parts of the world will be hit harder as a result of fertilizer shortages than other regions. 

  • For Africa, removing what little fertilizer is traditionally applied has a disproportionate effect on crop production, resulting in food shortfalls that are being compounded by current drought levels. 
  • In Kenya, for example, reduced fertilizer use could decrease crop production between 2.32% and 6.22%, depending on a range of the current most likely scenarios for how prolonged the Russia-Ukraine conflict will be and the availability and price of nitrogen-based fertilizers. 
  • Other countries, such as Mexico, face a potential decline in production of between 2.78% and 4.56%, under various fertilizer scenarios. Mexico is a major corn producer, and a significant reduction in nitrogen application will negatively impact the country’s production of both corn and wheat. 
  • France, Western Europe’s largest wheat producer, faces a similar situation, with tight fertilizer supplies resulting in a decline of between 2.41% and 4.66% in wheat production, depending on the scenario. 

These scenarios are based on forecasts exclusively for nitrogen fertilizer, the most widely used fertilizer type, and do not take into account other variables such as weather conditions, which can further impact production and yield. However, Gro’s in-season Yield Forecast Models account for these variables. 

Please reach out to to learn more about Gro's Global Fertilizer Impact Monitor.

Get a demo of Gro
Talk to our enterprise sales team or walk through our platform