All You Must Know About Sulphur: “The 4th Major Nutrient”

Sulphur is essential for many growth functions in plants including nitrogen metabolism, enzyme activity and protein and oil synthesis. It is classified as a secondary element, along with Mg and Ca, but it is sometimes called “the 4th major nutrient”. Sulphur is not mobile in the plant, so a continuous supply of Sulphur is needed from emergence to crop maturity. A deficiency of Sulphur at any stage of growth can result in reduced yields. All the crops, fruits, vegetables, grains, or pasture crops, they all need sulfur to reach their full yield potential.

♻️ Role of Sulphur in Crop Nutrition:

▪️Nutrient Component: Sulphur is a vital component of amino acids, proteins, and enzymes, which are essential for plant growth and development.

▪️Chlorophyll Formation: It is crucial for the synthesis of chlorophyll, the pigment responsible for photosynthesis.

▪️Protein Synthesis: It is vital for the formation of proteins, making it essential for overall plant development.

▪️Photosynthesis: Sulphur is involved in chlorophyll production, aiding in photosynthesis.

▪️Stress Resistance: It enhances a plant’s resistance to environmental stressors.

▪️Yield and Quality: Adequate Sulphur levels contribute to higher crop yields and improved quality in terms of protein content and flavor.

▪️Nutrient Balance: Sulphur helps maintain a balanced nutrient profile in plants, especially in conjunction with nitrogen.

♻️ Deficiency Symptoms:

▪️Chlorosis: Yellowing of young leaves, starting with the lower leaves.
▪️Reduced Growth: Stunted growth, smaller leaves, and delayed maturity.
▪️Poor Yield: Decreased crop yield and quality, particularly in oilseed crops.
▪️Nutrient Imbalances: Sulphur deficiency can lead to imbalances with other nutrients like nitrogen.

♻️ Different Forms of Sulphur:

▪️Elemental Sulphur: Requires microbial conversion to sulfate form before plant uptake.
▪️Sulfate (SO4²⁻): Readily available to plants for uptake.
▪️Organic Sulphur: Present in organic matter, released through decomposition.
▪️Sulphur-containing Fertilizers: Such as ammonium sulfate or potassium sulfate.
Recommended Doses of Sulphur:

♻️ Recommended Doses:

▪️Sulphur requirements vary by crop type, soil type, and region.
▪️Common recommendations range from 10 to 40 kg of Sulphur per hectare for most crops.
▪️Soil testing is essential to determine specific Sulphur needs.

▪️Application methods include broadcasting, banding, or foliar spraying, depending on the crop and soil conditions.

Balancing Sulphur levels is critical to optimize crop growth, prevent deficiencies, and ensure healthy, high-yielding crops.

©Rahul Padwal
Pune – India 🇮🇳

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