The results of a two year survey, carried out by Hutchinsons and Cobb Agri, has shown that sulphur levels are low in many soils, and appear to be decreasing year on year.
The survey, which began in 2014 across farms in Shropshire and Herefordshire, showed only 13 per cent of all crops sampled had a result in the normal range, all others were low or slightly low.
The 2015 samples collected showed 55 per cent of crops had low sulphur levels, triggering a high nitrogen: sulphur ratio content of 16: 1 or above.
Andrew Goodinson, of Hutchinsons, says: “A reading of 18:1 would mean a low sulphur status and the need for sulphur treatment for the next crop.”
Sulphur depletion is largely down to reduced atmospheric deposition, however, last season, high yielding crops are likely to have depleted soil resources even further.
Sulphur is a fundamental nutrient needed for protein synthesis and its presence increases the efficiency of nitrogen, therefore it plays an important role in plant growth.
“Given the close relationship between nitrogen and sulphur in plant nutrition, it’s crucial to address these low levels and to prevent underutilisation of any further nitrogen applications,” says Mr Goodinson.