CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — As the air has become cleaner, there is less acid rain that used to be a source of sulfur for corn and soybean crops — but what does this mean for farmers?
Yellowed corn leaves indicate a field is short of the necessary amount of sulfur for a good yield.
“We’re seeing sulfur deficiency pop up all over the place,” says Christie Preston a senior agronomist with Nutrien. “Farmers just need to be aware of how much sulfur they are removing whenever they harvest crop.”
She says farmers need to consider an application of either sulfate or elemental sulfur.
“Depending on the crop being grown and the time of year for application, either source of sulfur could be a good source,” Preston says. “Say if a farmer wanted to apply his phosphorus and sulfur this fall, an elemental form would be needed. Because it is in the elemental form, it is not subject to sulfur leaching potential.
“But, come say next spring, an elemental sulfur with a very fine particle size could still be a good option. But if it’s an in-season application you definitely want to focus more on a sulfate form that is readily plant-available.”
Preston suggests tissue testing to determine if a crop is needing sulfur.
“Tissue testing could be a great diagnostic tool,” she says, “and I say diagnostic tool in that a lot of times, it is used to just determine if there is a nutrient deficiency.
“Take sulfur for instance: a lot of times you can use the nitrogen to sulfur ratio to determine if the sulfur is limiting crop production. Because you understand there is a relationship between nitrogen and sulfur in a lot of crops.”