Do we need sulfur in Ohio?

By Greg LaBarge, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

Historically, most soils in Ohio supplied adequate sulfur for plant growth, but atmospheric deposition of sulfur that kept soil adequately supplied has declined. Soil tests that work well for other nutrients do not correlate well to determine sulfur fertilization needs. A combination of lower atmospheric deposition of sulfur and an unreliable soil test should have Ohio crop farmers watching their crops closely for sulfur deficiency symptoms. Field trials in 2020 and 2021 show only infrequent yield responses to sulfur addition in corn and soybean. Several sources of sulfur are available for application where needed.

Sulfur has been a free nutrient due to 15 to 20 annual sulfur (as sulfate) deposition from the air across Ohio. The atmosphere’s sulfur source is flue pipe emissions from coal-powered industrial plants. Rainfall washes sulfur from the air, where it was soil available to crops or immobilized into organic matter.… Continue reading