British Survey of Fertiliser Practice (1992-2015)

The British Survey of Fertiliser Practice (BSFP) is an annual survey based on the selection each year of a representative sample (c1500) of farms from mainland Britain. The survey is the primary source of information regarding the application of organic and inorganic fertiliser in Great Britain. The first time results were integrated into one report for Great Britain was 1992, before this each country (England and Wales from 1942, Scotland from 1983) had their own report which ran parallel to each other. The main purpose of the survey is to estimate average application rates of nitrogen, phosphate and potash for a wide range of crops and grassland. Information is also collected on applications of sulphur fertilisers, organic manures and lime. Within the later surveys there is also analysis of longer term trends in fertiliser use.
The main sections currently contained within the BSFP include:-

Section A - The British Survey of Fertiliser Practice - This is an introduction to the survey and a outline of the structure. Section A of the report also goes into large detail about the survey methodology and general trends and issues in the year in question (e.g. crop areas and weather)

Section B1 - Commentary on fertiliser use in Great Britain - This is the main section of the report and gives the yearly overview of fertiliser results and trends from recent history. The section then gives separate details on the use of fertiliser (N,P,K,S) on tillage crops and grassland.

Section B2 - Commentary on fertiliser use in Great Britain - Analysis of the longer trends in fertiliser use in Great Britain split into sections on nitrogen, phosphate and potash.

Section C - Tables detailing the fertiliser use for Great Britain, plus separate data for England and Wales and for Scotland. Data include rates and proportions receiving fertiliser by crop type, by farm type, by fertiliser type.

Section D - Use of Organic Materials - Information on farm handling and use of organic manures and the fertiliser value of organic manures. This section only came into the survey in 2007.

Section E - Spreading precision, record keeping, nutrient management plans - Farmers asked a series of questions about the care taken in application of fertilisers and manures and in record keeping. This section was created in 2013 as it was within section D previously when only related to organic manures.


Study area

Provenance & quality

In 2000 to help improve the survey response and to reduce the year-on-year variability, a core of respondents agreed to complete the survey for a number of years. Following on from this in 2006 and 2007 a review of the panel structure was undertaken to ensure that the proportion of respondents who had participated on the panel for five consecutive years or more constituted no more than 20% of the total sample. In the 2014 survey 70% of the sample had responded in the previous year.


Alison Wray


Spatial reference system
OSGB 1936 / British National Grid


Topic categories
Environment , Farming , Economy
Agricultural Practices Agriculture Fertiliser,  National Nitrogen Phosphorous Tabular