Implications When Using Sulfur On Wheat for Growers

If you are a wheat grower, you should know that fall and winter seasons are likely less ideal for wheat crops, particularly in southeastern North Carolina. Therefore, custom agronomic companies and growers looking forward to the best return on investment must be able to monitor the fertility of soil and the nutritional status of the plant.


In a series of soil tests done by the North Carolina Agriculture and Consumer Services, they were able to measure important plant nutrients, which include sulfur. They have also made recommendations for fertilization when necessary. For this reason, growers are required to check their recent soil reports and ensure that sulfur problems are not overlooked.


One of the methods of checking low levels of sulfur is when the soil reports are just several months old with rain being frequent in the interim. In this condition, tissue testing would be the quickest and most reliable method of checking for low levels of sulfur.


Take note that sulfur is known to affect the metabolism of plants, protein production, and enzyme activities. When the supply of sulfur in plants is not enough, the result will be manifested in the small size, light green or yellowish color, and the plant will be skinny. For this reason, the plants won’t be able to utilize the available nitrogen more efficiently. Custom agronomic companies are aware of this. 


According to agronomist Rick Morris, it is essential for growers looking for high return to be able to pay attention to sulfur fertilization. Thus, it is possible to increase yields of up to 5 bushels per acre when applying sulfur-based fertilization on soil tests or plant-tissue recommendations. About 1 quarter-pound of sulfur will be required for each bushel of wheat produced in order to achieve a high-yielding wheat crop. So if you have confirmed the deficiency in sulfur, you need to apply 20-25lbs of sulfur per acre of land together with the required fertilizer.


If there is a deficiency of sulfur content in wheat, you can observe the whole plant to be pale, with a high degree of chlorosis on its younger leaves. Unlike nitrogen, sulfur is not a mobile agent in plants, so you can’t expect to see severe symptoms of the deficiency of the lower leaves than they are at the upper leaves, unlike nitrogen.


Most of the sulfur found in soil has been in organic form, but plants accumulate only sulfate-sulfur. The bacteria in the soil would mineralize organic-sulfur to sulfur just like the organic-nitrogen was converted to nitrate-nitrogen. The available sulfur in plants are derived from soil’s organic matter release. The cold temperature in the spring has contributed to the sulfur deficiency in wheat, but not in the warm moist soils. The mineralization of sulfur can also be decreased with no-tillage and heavy residue. Sulfate is also similar to nitrate, which becomes highly mobile in soil. It reaches below the root zone with heavy rainfall. Due to this mobile activity, it is not recommended to conduct soil testing for sulfate-sulfur.


If you would want to eliminate sulfur deficiency in wheat, it is essential that you add sulfur in the fertilizer program. You can mix sulfur solution up to 15-40lbs of sulfate-sulfur on each acre in order to prevent sulfur deficiency. Custom agronomic companies, like Precision Agronomics, are experts in this field. Contact us today if you have questions about our agronomic services. 



Precision Agronomics is located at 9438 West SR 28 in West Lebanon, IN and is proud to serve: Marshfield, Johnsonville, Foster, Stone Bluff, Bismarck, and the surrounding areas. Contact us today for more information!

Custom Agronomic Companies - Wheat



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