ISSUE 2 May 17, 2007
YELLOW SMALL GRAINS ON SANDY HILLS
Following some early growth of small grains on sandy hilltops, some of the plants are turning yellow. The new growth is affected, not the older growth. Given the rains that most of the state has received during the last month, the most probable cause of this yellowing is sulfur deficiency. Confirmation can be made using plant analysis, but given the soil and climate circumstances sulfur deficiency fits the description.
Growers who used elemental sulfur thinking that it would protect them against this problem are finding out that it doesn’t. Growers who used some spring-applied ammonium sulfate in these areas probably do not have the problem or the problem is less severe. To alleviate the problem, apply dry ammonium sulfate at 10-20 lb S/a and hope it rains soon. Liquid S products could be used, but they need to be stream-bar applied and again it needs to rain to be effective.
Dr. Dave Franzen
NDSU Extension Soil Specialist