Sulfur Fertilizer Uses | A Guide

In agriculture, farmers mostly use DAP, urea, and sometimes muriate of potash. Consequently, farmers often ignore sulfur fertilizer, which is the fourth essential element in soil nutrition. As a result, there is a widespread deficiency of this element in the soils.

Being that, the soil which has less sulfur is called sulfur deficient soil. Therefore, for higher production, after soil testing, use manure as recommended.

Importance of sulfur

  1. Important contribution to the formation of proteins.
  2. Helps in the formation of foliage in leaves.
  3. Increases the activity of enzymes in plants.
  4. Helps in the formation of gulcoside in mustard oil.
  5. Increases the percentage of oil content in oilseed crops.
  6. Improves the quality of tobacco, vegetables and fodder crops.
  7. Increases starch content in potatoes.

Symptoms of Sulfur Deficiency in Crops

You can determine the amount of sulfur in plants by observing the characteristics of growing plants and by chemical analysis of the plants. As for its deficiency symptoms, though, they first appear on young leaves, which persist even after giving nitrogen.

  1. New leaves turn yellow.
  2. Food crops mature relatively late and do not mature properly from seed.
  3. The knots located in pulse crops do not develop properly.
  4. Due to this, there is an adverse effect on the natural nitrification process.
  5. The nutritional value of fodder crops decreases.
  6. In cotton, the leaf circle becomes red in colour.
  7. Leaves become cup-shaped in mustard. The lower surface of the leaves and the stem turn red.

Concentrations in Sulfur Deficient Plants

It has been found by experiment that the amount of this element based on dry matter in 45-55 days old paddy, wheat, maize, jowar, etc. indicates the deficiency of sulfur in plants by 0.1 to 0.2%. Similarly, the concentration of sulfur in groundnut, mustard, soybean, etc. 0.1 to 0.25% indicates a deficiency of this element.

Main Source

This element can be supplied by using sulfur-containing fertilizers as per the table.

FertilizerSulfur %Method of use
ammonium24Apply sulfate as basal dressing before sowing or at the time of sowing and as topdressing in a standing crop.
single super phosphate12 Apply as a basal dressing at the time of sowing. 
elemental85-100Moist soil with good sulfur circulation in the air 3-4 weeks before sowing.
Pyrite22-24 Suitable for barren land. It should be done in moist soil 3-4 weeks before sowing on the soil surface.
gypsum13-18The crops in which the requirement of selection is high. Apply in moist soil 3-4 weeks before sowing.

Increase in yield

The use of sulfur in fertilizers has been found to increase the production of crops.

Approved amount of Sulfur in crops

It has been found in various researches that for most of the crops its quantity is 20-40 kg/ha. has been approved to date. It has been approved in higher quantity in oilseeds and fodder crops as compared to food grains. Undoubtedly, on the basis of research, the use of sulfur in wheat, paddy, pulse crops has been estimated to increase the yield by 25, 17, 20, and 20-30% respectively.

S.No.Cropkg Sulfur/ha
1.Cereal crops (wheat, maize, paddy)24-40
2.Pulses crops (gram, lentil, urad, moong)10-40
3.Oilseed crops (groundnut, mustard, sunflower)20-50
4.fodder crops25-50
5.Tuber crops (potatoes)25-60

Tips in management

  1. Make sure to get the soil tested to ensure the use of balanced fertilizers.
  2. The optimum rate of sulfur utilization should be 20-40 kg/ha in crops grown in soils deficient in it.
  3. The proper ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, potash and sulphur should be 4:2:1:1.
  4. According to its source, it should be used by sprinkling or mixing it in the soil before sowing the crops.
  5. Several sources are available to meet the shortage of sulfur, including single super phosphate and gypsum being the most common sources of sulfur.


Due to intensive agriculture, the deficiency of sulfur in the soil is increasing day by day. The approved balanced fertilizer management is incomplete without the supply of sulfur, so do not neglect this element at all. Also, keep in mind that this element has an important contribution in increasing the quality and productivity of crops.

If you want to know more about farming, kindly visit our blog section. Several farming tips and information are readily available to help you with your own farm.

Recent Posts