NDSU Extension - Ramsey County


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March 28, 2011 Agriculture Column


The old weather man is sure hanging in there with some cooler temperatures.  It sounds like the weather man is going to keep the temperatures cool for the whole next week and then we will have to wait and see after that.  Calving is going quite strong for some and cooler temperatures can be a god send and also be a great hindrance.  Cooler temperatures means less manure muck and drier pens but cooler temperatures also can be possible death loss or frozen ears and or tails.  Of course the opposite holds true for warmer weather.  I do miss this time of year.  It seems as we get older we have a tendency to remember more and more past and for some even get chuckles out of the good and bad times.  I thing I remember and very much miss about calving and lambing was watching the newborn learn the environment and all of the energy  they have, it is very much like your own grandchildren learning their environment  and all the energy they can expel in a short period of time.  The sun is shining as I write this and this time of the morning would find those baby lambs and calves running, kicking and just plain enjoying life and then afternoon would come and you find looking dead as they are resting in the heat of the sun. 

Do we need sulfur for other crops other than canola?

Studies would indicate that a normal N release over a season can be from 20-60 pounds.  This would suggest that a 2-4 pound release of S is also occurring.  Data would also indicate that 2000#’s of harvest dry matter would tie up approximately 3 pounds of Sulfur.  There is also research indicating that Loams may also be at risk on high landscape positions were water movement through soil lasts for some time.

So what does this mean, there has been research completed that would indicate an application on wheat showed a 19% increase in yield.  I must first state that we first think of Sulfur as a Canola nutrient not for any other crops, so to see a yield response in wheat was surprising.  Research done in 2002 by Haderlein and Dowbenko indicated a 1800-1900 pound yield advantage on peas, with a Sulfur application, compared to the check.  Rehm (2005) found yield responses in the 10 bushel range on 6 different soil types with an Sulfur application.  This information was provided by Dave Franzen at Lake Region Extension Roundup (2011), in summary, Dave mentioned that S is an issue for all crops, Soil test for S is not diagnostic, Sandy loam and coarser soils are most at risk, especially on upland positions and Loam   Preplant is better, but rescue is possible if caught early enough, Sulfate forms are best (AMS, Gypsum), Elemental S is not recommended, Elemental portion of ‘blended’ fertilizers  should not be considered.  Now, I am not recommending you jump off of the band wagon and change all of your spring planting intentions, however depending on your circumstance you might want to visit with your consultant for your particular farm.




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