Kansas State University recently noted that sulfur (S) deficiency in wheat has become common in many areas across Kansas. No-till wheat, in particular, has been affected and experts from the K-State Research and Extension are now sharing their insight into how this is affecting producers.
Historically, S deficiency is typically seen in high-yielding crops that are grown in irrigated, sandy soils that are low in organic matter. However, a reduction in sulfur additions to crops and cooler soil temperatures are resulting in S deficiency in more crops across the board.
When wheat has been impacted by S deficiency, it is typically yellow and stunted in growth. Patchy S-deficient areas of a field that have been impacted by this condition are usually found on hilltops or side slopes where erosion has occurred. It may also be seen where soil organic matter is reduced, or where leaching is more pronounced.
In some cases, S deficiency may be mistaken for nitrogen (N) deficiency. However, N deficient crops will have older leaves that show firing and yellowing. S deficient crops, on the other hand, will have younger leaves that exhibit a pale-yellow hue. Wheat plants with S deficiency also eventually become uniformly chlorotic.
Soil testing for S deficiency can help detect it within crops. There are also fertilizers available on the market that contain sulfur. However, some of these products are best used in pre-plant applications.
For more information on protecting crops from S deficiency, visit the K-State Research and Extension website.