Ferrie Answers Farmers’ Questions About Sulfur

This time of year, Farm Journal Field Agronomist, Ken Ferrie starts fielding questions from farmers who are starting to plan for the next season. In this edition of the Boots In The Field Report, Ferrie addresses a variety of questions he’s had pertaining to sulfur.

Ferrie, who owns Crop-Tech Consulting, Inc. near Heyworth, Ill., says the right product—sulfate versus elemental sulfur—and the correct timing, placement and rate will need to vary depending on the situation. "With sulfur, there’s no one-size-fits-all method of treatment," Ferrie says.

Pay the carbon penalty. If a sulfur deficiency shows up in corn shortly after emergence, the cause might be the carbon penalty. The carbon penalty occurs when soil sulfur levels are adequate, but there is an abundant supply of old crop residue, as with continuous corn. With all that food available, microbial populations explode. Because the microbes use sulfur, they temporarily immobilize the supply in the soil. That sulfur becomes available again later, after the microbes die and decompose, but the plants experience a deficiency through six or seven growth stages.

Sulfur deficiencies early in the growing season are especially troublesome. "Plants need sulfur throughout the vegetative growth stages. Since sulfur is not mobile in the plant, early uptake is crucial. A deficiency at that time will cause stunting and shortened internodes. So be aggressive about correcting early-season deficiencies," Ferrie says.

Listen below for more of Ferrie’s sulfur insights and recommendations.


Latest News

How Important is U.S. Ag and Food to the Economy?

In celebration of National Ag Day and National Ag Week, the 2023 Feeding the Economy report shows just how vital the industry is to U.S. families, communities and the world.

Ferrie: Ready, Set, Whoops! A Fast Start To Fieldwork Could Cost You Big In Corn At V5

Caution can help you avoid creating compaction or density layers. Plus, if you're applying anhydrous now, allowing 14 days between the application and planting can prevent dead or damaged plants and costly yield dings.

Nebraska Farmland Values Jump 14% in 2023 — Up 30% in Two Years

This year marks the second-largest increase in the market value of agricultural land in Nebraska since 2014 and the highest non-inflation-adjusted statewide land value in the 45-year history of the survey. 

U.S. Milk Production and Cow Numbers Both Rise

The February 2023 USDA Milk Production report showed an 0.8% increase in year-over-year milk production with a total of 17.7 billion lbs. of milk. Also following suit, U.S. cow numbers also documented growth.

Crude Oil Prices Drop Below $70: What is the Outlook for Consumers at the Pump and Farmers Heading Into Spring Planting?

Oil prices are also off their highs of last year and gas and diesel prices are also sliding at the pump, but will that trend continue ahead of planting?   Energy experts are hoping the answer is yes.  

Can History Making $20 Billion in Inflation Reduction Act Get Rolled Out Quickly Enough?

Industry experts say the new legislative package represents a 'generational opportunity' for conservation funding and needs to reach U.S. farmers and livestock producers sooner rather than later, starting this spring.