Sulfur Under Scrutiny: Research Results Released

The sulfur from Polysulphate increases the whole plant biomass of oilseed crops including mustard and sesame, and improves yield parameters

May 4, 2021
2 mins

Everywhere in the world farmers are scrutinizing fertilizer performance to get the best for their crops. Research from France compares Polysulphate performance in providing the sulfur that crops need with the performance of alternative, commonly used, sulfur-containing fertilizers.


Seeking Solutions to Sulfur Deficiency

Sulfur deficiency is a limiting factor for crop production in many regions of the world, particularly for brassica and cereal crops. The research in France was commissioned to better understand the situation. It measured the performance of common arable crops – oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) and winter wheat (Triticum aestivum) under polyhalite fertilizer in comparison with commonly used sulfur fertilizers. It was carried out in northeast France, in the arable heartland.

Western Europe, as P. Dugast, the research report author points out, has seen increasing reports of sulfur deficiency amongst brassica and cereal crops. This is due largely to the decrease in atmospheric sulfur inputs from reduced industrial pollution. To maintain productivity, particularly with oilseed rape, farmers are evaluating the choice of sulfur inputs available.


Putting Polysulphate Under the Spotlight

In a series of experiments on different soil types and in two different farming years, Polysulphate was applied in some plots and granulated ammonium nitrate containing sulfate was applied in others.

In both mustard and sesame crops, sulfur application (through Polysulphate) brought about significant increases in grain yields. Sulfur application appeared to increase the whole plant biomass, affecting most yield parameters, including oil concentration. In addition, sulfur application significantly increased potassium uptake by the plants, indicating a synergistic relationship between the two elements.

The paper concludes that sulfur application at a macro-element dosage level significantly increases yields of oilseed species, such as mustard and sesame.

In the winter wheat trials the results are less conclusive on the benefits of sulfur supplement. According to the report author this could be due to the initial sulfur level in the soil, in both sites, being adequate to provide all the crop requirements in winter wheat.


Seeking Answers and Finding Questions

Like a lot of research, this work in France has raised more issues for further investigation. The impacts of sulfur fertilizers on grain and flour quality are just two examples in the report’s conclusion.

It is through investigation and problem-solving that we can develop the crop production answers that our growing global population needs from farmers and their farming – and from our fertilizer, Polysulphate.



The research paper Use of Polyhalite as a Source of Sulfur for Oilseed Rape and Winter Wheat in France was published in e-ifc No. 43 by the International Potash Institute.