Wheat School: Check your sulphur source and rates

RealAgriculture agronomist Peter Johnson is a big proponent of pushing nitrogen rates to pump up winter wheat yields. But for higher N rates to pay, growers must ensure the crop has an adequate supply of sulphur or they risk inducing sulphur deficiency.

In this episode of the RealAgriculture Wheat School, Wheat Pete explains why growers need to pay attention to the form of sulphur they’re applying this spring to ensure they don’t short the crop of its sulphur requirements.

Johnson says growers need to understand that 100 percent of the sulphur in dry ammonium sulphate, calcium sulphate, or any of the sulphate forms is immediately available to the crop.

But when growers use ammonium thiosulfate (ATS) only 50 per cent of this sulphur source is available to the crop.

“If you are using ammonium thiosulphate we have to up the rate,” says Johnson. “We need to go to at least five gallons, or 14 pounds, of sulphur… Maybe even six or seven (gallons) to get up to 20 pounds if we really want 10 pounds available for the wheat crop.”

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Bernard Tobin

Bernard Tobin is Real Agriculture's Ontario Field Editor. AgBern was raised on a dairy farm near St. John's, Newfoundland. For the past two decades, he has specialized in agricultural communications. A Ryerson University journalism grad, he kicked off his career with a seven-year stint as Managing Editor and Field Editor for Farm and Country magazine. He has received six Canadian Farm Writers' Federation awards for journalism excellence. He's also worked for two of Canada's leading agricultural communications firms, providing public relations, branding and strategic marketing. Bern also works for Guelph-based Synthesis Agri-Food Network and talks the Real Dirt on Farming.


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