The need for sulphur fertilizer application
Sulphate is now established as a major fertilizer requirement for arable crops and grassland. Yet most farmland never receives a routine application.
Sulphur deficiency is now widespread and in the UK, for example, yield response to sulphate applications in winter wheat can be up to 30% in some cases, and averages 6%. In brassica crops the benefit is greater, with trials showing winter oilseed rape can give a yield response of as much as 80%.
A recent note Sulphur for cereals and oilseed rape has been published in the UK by the HGCA.
% AREA OF SOME GB CROPS RECEIVING SULPHUR
Despite this, sulphate applications to crops remain low, however. Only 42% of cereal crops receive routine applications. In oilseed rape, despite the established benefits, only 65% of crops receive the sulphate they need. Although nearly all crops would benefit, it is possible that applications have been restricted through a lack of cost-effective, easily spread sulphate fertilizer.
Historically, in industrialized countries arable crops and grassland had never required sulphate applications. Coal-burning had always ensured plenty of sulphur was supplied via atmospheric deposition.
Regulation has ensured this deposition is now a fraction of what it used to be. As a result, large areas of farmed land are sulphur deficient, particularly those with lighter soils or lower rainfall.
SULPHUR EMISSIONS (AS SO2) IN SOME W EUROPEAN COUNTRIES
Nitrogen (N) and sulphur (S) are both essential constituents of plant and animal protein, so now that sulphur is no longer freely available from the atmosphere, wherever nitrogen fertilizers are applied there is likely to be a need for a balancing sulphate fertilizer to ensure yield and quality.
Legumes such as peas, beans, alfalfa/lucerne and clover, which rely on atmospheric nitrogen but are now deprived of similar sulphur, will now almost certainly respond to a sulphate fertilizer.
This Polysulphate website introduces a sulphate fertilizer, Polysulphate™. This new product is produced from Polyhalite, mined in the UK. With 48% SO3, Polysulphate fertilizer provides a reliable and readily available new source of sulphate.