Growers advised to assess soils for sulphur

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Soils could be short of sulphur this season as a result of depleted reserves following the wet weather.

Sulphur is a highly mobile nutrient, and farmers should assess soil requirements to correct nutrient deficiencies as sulphur plays a key role in nitrogen conversion and supports crop quality throughout the growing season. Lower sulphur levels mean the availability of other nutrients is reduced, explains Guillaume Franklin, nutrition agronomist at Origin Fertilisers.

“Sulphur is an essential nutrient for protein formation and improves nitrogen utilisation. However, due to its negative charge, it doesn’t bind to clay particles in the soil and is highly mobile, so the wet weather this winter will have depleted reserves. Now is the time for farmers to assess how they will supply the crop with its sulphur requirements this season.”

Most farmers will be familiar with applying nitrogen sulphur fertilisers at regular times throughout the season to maintain nutrient availability to the plant. However, if farmers have already secured straight nitrogen supplies for the season, there is another option to provide the crop with immediate and sustained sulphur release.

“Polysulphate is a multi-nutrient fertiliser and is rich in sulphur, potash, calcium and magnesium,” continues Mr Franklin. “It is mined in the UK and has a very low carbon footprint compared with other sulphur products. It’s fully soluble and all the nutrients are fully available to the plant.”

Farmers shouldn’t forget that although Polysulphate has a release pattern extending to 55 days, it does offer the crop a sulphur supply immediately following application. The four nutrients start to dissolve after spreading and, even though they are available for a longer period, crops can access the nutrition straight away, helping to increase nitrogen use efficiency and support early growth stages.

Mr Franklin says that Polysulphate offers farmers an alternative to sulphur applications this spring. “We’ve found Polysulphate offers a very different release profile than other commonly used forms of sulphur, and one that better matches the growth of the crop, which is one of the main reasons we are seeing such significant benefits in grassland.”

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