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Volume 986: debated on Monday 16 June 1980

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the percentage rise for all fertilisers in 1979; and what is his Department's estimate of the increased percentage crop yield which accrues from using fertilisers.

The increase in consumption of inorganic fertilisers during the year ended 31 May 1979*, the latest period for which figures are available, was

Nitrogen+ 2·7 per cent.
Phosphate+ 1·5 percent.
Potash+1·0 per cent.
Total Plant Food+2·1 percent.
*The Fertiliser Manufacturers Association : Fertiliser Statistics 1979.
Fertiliser use in agriculture cannot readily be related to individual commodities, still less to yields which vary from year to year for a number of reasons, including differences in weather. Overall use of inorganic plant foods has increased by about 19 per cent. during the last 10 years. During this period the composition of total agricultural output and the level of other inputs such as labour, capital and energy has changed, and the volume of agricultural output as measured by estimates of gross output at constant prices is estimated to have risen by some 13 per cent.