Studies on the effectiveness of various sulfur fertilizers under controlled conditions

G.H. Dijksterhuis, O. Oenema

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    Three factorial experiments with four replications were conducted in a greenhouse to examine the effectiveness of gypsum, elemental sulfur (ES powder) and three S containing N fertilizers, viz., ammonium sulfate (AS), urea ES, and Ureas (20% AS and 80% urea). All experiments were conducted twice in different years. In the first experiment with uncropped soil, the effects of soil type, leaching rate (2.3 and 6.9 mm water per day) and urea addition on sulfate leaching losses were studied. Leaching losses decreased in the order Ureas > ammonium sulfate (AS) > gypsum urea ES. Increasing the leaching rate greatly increased sulfate losses from both soils. Losses were greater in the sandy Typic Hapludoll than in the clayey Oxic Paleustalf. Sulfate adsorption was found to decrease strongly with rising the pH in both soils. Hydrolysis of urea temporarily raised the pH of the soil, thereby increasing the sulfate leaching losses. In the second experiment the effects of S rate (0–65 mg per kg soil), split application and leaching rate (0 and 2.3 mm per day) on sulfate leaching losses and apparent S recovery (ASR) by three successive cuts of ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) were studied. Herbage yield more than doubled when S was applied. The effectiveness of the sulfate fertilizers was greater when S was split-applied than given all at once. With split applications the ASR decreased in the order: Ureas > AS > gypsum > urea ES > ES powder. ES fertilizers were least effective, because the oxidation rate of ES to sulfate was clearly too slow. In the third experiment the effects of S rate (0–40 mg per kg soil) and split application on sulfate leaching losses and ASR in the grain of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) were studied under leaching conditions (2.3 mm per day). Grain yield increased strongly due to S application. Split application greatly increased the effectiveness of the sulfate fertilizers and appeared to be an effective tool in satisfying the S need of the crop under leaching conditions. Again, ES fertilizers were least effective, because the oxidation rate of ES was too slow to meet the S demand of the crop. In all experiments leaching losses of sulfate from the ES fertilizers were smaller than from the sulfate fertilizers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)147-159
    JournalFertilizer research
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1990


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