Feasibility of a new granular rapid release elemental S fertilizer in preventing S deficiency of canola on an S-deficient soil.

Malhi, S.S., Vera, C.L., and Brandt, S.A. (2014). "Feasibility of a new granular rapid release elemental S fertilizer in preventing S deficiency of canola on an S-deficient soil.", Agricultural Sciences, 5, pp. 1025-1036. doi : 10.4236/as.2014.511111  Access to full text


Our previous research has indicated that granular elemental S (ES) fertilizers are not effective in the year of application and also are not consistently as effective as sulphate-S in increasing seed yield of canola in subsequent years, especially when applied at seeding in spring, because of slow dispersion of elemental S particles from granules for subsequent oxidation of ES to sulphate-S. A field experiment was established in autumn 2010 to determine the relative effectiveness of a new rapid release elemental S (RRES, now called Vitasul) fertilizer, in comparison to sulphate-S fertilizer, with various combinations of application times and placement methods (applied at 20 kg∙S∙ha−1) on seed yield, straw yield, oil and protein concentration in seed, N and S uptake, partial factor productivity (PFP - kg∙seed∙kg−1 applied N∙ha−1-blanket application of 120 kg∙N∙ha−1), S use efficiency (SUE-increase in kg∙seed∙kg−1 applied S∙ha−1) and percent recovery of applied S in seed + straw (%) of canola in 2011, 2012 and 2013 growing seasons on a S-deficient Gray Luvisol loam soil at Star City, Saskatchewan. The 11 treatments included two granular S sources (RRES and potassium sulphate) and five application time/placement method combinations (broadcast in autumn and incorporated in spring, broadcast in spring pre-tillage [broadcast and incorporated], broadcast in spring pre-emergence, sideband in spring and seedrow-placed in spring), plus a zeroS control. There was a significant response of seed yield of canola to applied S in all 3 years, but the responses varied with S source and with application time-placement combinations in different years. Seed yield increased considerably with all sulphate-S treatments compared to the zero-S control, although seed yield tended to be slightly lower in some spring and/or autumn broadcast treatments than the other sulphate-S treatments. Compared to the zero-S control, seed yield also increased significantly with all RRES treatments, but the increase was greater with autumn applied RRES than the spring applied RRES in many cases. Autumn applied RRES produced only slightly lower seed yield but spring applied RRES produced much lower seed yield than the highest yielding spring applied sulphate-S treatments. In 2011, straw yields increased significantly with applied S in some S treatments, but there was no significant effect of S fertilization on straw yield in 2012 and 2013. Oil concentration in canola seed increased only with sulphate-S fertilizer treatments in 2011, and it increased with both sulphate-S and ES sources in 2012 and 2013. There was no effect of any S treatment on the protein concentration in canola seed. The response trends of total N uptake and PFP were usually similar to seed yield for both S sources, but total S uptake, SUE and % recovery of applied S were lower with RRES than sulphate-S in many/most cases. In conclusion, the findings suggested the potential of spring broadcast pre-emergence RRES or autumn broadcast RRES in preventing S deficiency in hybrid canola, although seed yields were still slightly lower than the ideal highest yielding spring broadcast/incorporated sulphate-S treatment.

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