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Can fall sulfur application work for you?

By: Dan Kaiser, Extension specialist
The benefits of sulfur application have been widely seen across Minnesota for the last ten years. One question that seems to persist is, what is the best option when applying sulfur in the fall? Coming back in spring with a second pass of dry fertilizer is not always an option. While the sulfate form of sulfur is mobile in the soil, there are a few things to consider when deciding which source of sulfur to choose and when to apply.
Movement of sulfate in the soil profile is not as rapid as nitrate. Sulfate, the form of sulfur available to crops, is an anion and is therefore not held in the soil. Since sulfate is subject to leaching, many seem to compare the leaching potential of sulfate to nitrate. While sulfate can move readily through the soil profile, recent research in Minnesota demonstrates that the sulfate form of sulfur can be applied in fall and benefit corn production.
Facts to consider when applying a form of sulfate in the fallIf your …
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In this episode, Fabian Fernandez, Dan Kaiser and Jeff Vetch discuss sulfur. What does the research say about fall versus spring application? What is the best source of sulfur for corn? Should farmers be concerned about an interaction between nitrogen and sulfur? 
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View the podcast transcript.

Support for this project was provided in part by the Agricultural Fertilizer Research & Education Council (AFREC).

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What source of sulfur is right for you?

By Dan Kaiser, nutrient management Extension specialist
Selecting the right source of sulfur is critical to ensure enough sulfate-sulfur is present in the soil at key uptake periods. Rapid uptake of sulfur occurs in corn from V5 to early silking when 50 percent of sulfur needed by corn is taken up. Roughly 10 percent of sulfur needed by corn is taken up prior to V5, but this timeframe is still critical and deficiencies early in the growing season can limit yield – particularly in cool and wet springs.

Sulfate fertilizer sources like ammonium, potassium and calcium sulfate will provide readily available sulfate to a corn crop. The drawback of these materials is that sulfate can leach through the soil profile immediately after application. While it is possible to leach sulfate, research in Minnesota has demonstrated that sulfate can carry over in medium- to fine-textured soils and be in the soil profile that fall and even the year following application. Fall application of sulfate can s…

A conversation on sulfur

In this episode, Fabian Fernandez, Dan Kaiser and Jeff Vetch discuss sulfur. What does the research say about fall versus spring application? What is the best source of sulfur for corn? Should farmers be concerned about an interaction between nitrogen and sulfur? Thank you to the Minnesota Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council (AFREC) for their support of this podcast.