US farmers advised to use sulfur-containing fertilizer to boost wheat yields

30 May 2019

US farmers advised to use sulfur-containing fertilizer to boost wheat yields

Research findings released in the US advise farmers to be aware of the increasing incidence of sulphur deficiency in their soil and to consider using sulphur-containing fertilizers to redress the balance to maintain good yields.

Declining soil sulphur from atmospheric pollution

The report, by the K-State Research and Extension group, that serves the interests of farmers in the state of Kansas, highlights how an important free source of sulphur for soil is greatly reduced. Switching from burning coal to natural gas and low-sulphur coal in the US has greatly reduced air pollution with atmospheric sulphur which used to make its way through rainfall to the land and to crops.

Add sulphur to boost wheat yields

According to Romulo Lollato, a wheat production specialist with K-State Research and Extension, sulphur deficiency has become a big challenge for wheat production in the southern Great Plains. He suggests that farmers need to consider applying sulphur fertilizer, especially on sandier soils and if there is low soil organic matter. Failing to take account of sulphur requirements leads to yield losses and quality suffers. Another implication of low sulphur is that when sulphur was extremely deficient in the fields in the study, the crop showed no response to nitrogen.

Polysulphate plugs the sulphur gap

As a multi-nutrient fertilizer, Polysulphate contains sulphur together with potassium, calcium and magnesium. This makes this crop nutrition product ideal for meeting crop sulphur demand for good growth and to facilitate full uptake of nitrogen when applied. Using Polysulphate ensures the crop gets what it needs and enables effective use of nitrate fertilizers, rather than them being unused by the crop and becoming an environmental hazard when they leach away through the soil into water courses.

The research work in Kansas is usefully highlighting the issue of sulphur deficiency that is affecting an increasing proportion of farmers around the world. It also signposts the clear route to solving the problem and achieving effective and sustainable crop production through a balanced and targeted fertilizer strategy.

For more details read the report summary on adding sulphur to boost wheat yields.