Canola School: Seed Toxicity — How Much is Too Much Sulphur?

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There’s no doubt that access to available sulphur is incredibly important to canola development and yield. Applying and managing this nutrient, however, has challenges — ammonium sulfate can be incredibly toxic to young sprouts and other forms of the fertilizer can also take some time before sulphur is made available to the plant.

In an effort to get all the nutrients that a growing crop needs within close reach, farmers can be tempted to push seed-placed ammonium sulfate rates. While there are decent guidelines available for safe rates for seed-placed product, soil conditions, such as high calcium carbonate content, can make even “safe” rates dangerous. These conditions often occur on eroded knolls or parts of a field.

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Laryssa Grenkow has done her masters work at that University of Manitoba on exactly this topic. At this year’s CanoLAB event at Brandon, Man., Lyndsey Smith caught up Grenkow and had her explain why and when ammonium sulfate can be toxic and how variable rate technology may play a role in managing the risk.

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