Seeing the Benefits of Sulphur Fertiliser

Grassland farmers need to ensure optimum nutrient availability to achieve the growth required for silage. This is not possible without the correct use of balanced nutrition, including sulfur fertilizer.

February 4, 2021
2 mins

Grassland farmers are encouraged to take advantage of the benefits of using sulphur fertiliser, particularly for silage crops. A report from one of the most important grass-growing areas in Europe highlights how an application of sulphur-containing fertiliser early in the season provides the crop with what it needs to complete high-performance growth.


Sulphur Needed by High Performance Grass Crops

With the increased temperatures and day length that come with the arrival of spring, grass crops respond with vigorous growth which needs to be sustained throughout the growing season.

The grass for silage crops must be capable of super-performance to be cut as many as six times a year to be stored for winter forage. The quality of growth required is not possible without the correct use of balanced nutrition, including sulphur fertiliser.


Seeing the Need for Sulphur Fertiliser

Unfortunately, according to the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) of Northern Ireland, very few grassland farmers soil-test. “Most farmers are completely in the dark regarding the nutrient status of their soils.”

Incorrect interpretation of the signs of nutritional problems in the crop make the situation worse. “Farmers often assume that yellowing of swards is symptomatic of phosphate deficiency, when in fact it is almost certainly the result of sulphur deficiency.” Swards acutely deficient in sulphur are pale green to yellow.


The Need for Sulphur Fertiliser is Widespread

The evidence collated by AFBI is compelling. “In the past, sulphur deficiency was primarily confined to sandy soils, and typically occurred during summer. Today, however, it is widespread on both sandy and clay textured soils and is now most prevalent in spring.”

Furthermore, they have issued sulphur fertiliser recommendations for farmers. “AFBI recommends applying between 25 and 35 kg SO3/ha, routinely, as sulphur-containing fertiliser (NS or NKS) to all silage swards in spring, even to those where slurry has been applied.”


Treating the Crop and Sulphur Fertiliser with Respect

There are numerous initiatives steering farmers towards a better understanding of their grass swards. Choice of variety, timing of cut, the treatment of the crop post-harvest and feeding are all helping to maximise quality and productivity and feed performance in livestock.

At ICL, we want to help farmers to understand the soil beneath their sward and the role of sulphur in soil and the plant. Combining this knowledge with the use of our sulphur-containing fertiliser Polysulphate enables grassland farmers to achieve better crop and business results simply, economically, and effectively.