Transformations and fate of seed-placed sulfur fertilizers in Saskatchewan soils

  • Peas
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • Yields

Lead Investigator(s)

Dr. Jeff Schoenau

Lead Investigator(s) Institution

University of Saskatchewan - Dept. of Soil Sciences

Objective

To determine the forms and plant availability of sulfur formed over a period of weeks to months following application to soils under controlled environment and field conditions. To assess the interaction of sulfur placed in the soil in a band together with phosphorus fertilizer. To develop and employ novel methodology using the new SXRMB beamline at the Canadian Light Source.

Outcome

The form of sulfur (S) fertilizer can influence its behavior and crop response. Canola was most responsive to the sulfur fertilizers, with limited response of wheat and pea to S fertilization in the majority of cases. Sulfate and thiosulfate forms were effective in enhancing short-term soil available sulfate supplies in the seed-row, along with crop sulfur uptake and yield compared to the elemental-sulfur fertilizer form which releases sulfate slowly by oxidation. Gypsum maintained the highest seed-row sulfate concentrations over time, a consequence of its slightly soluble nature which reduced the sulfate leaching. Most of the S uptake occurred over the period from one to four weeks after seeding and fertilizing. Combination of sulfur fertilizer with MAP may provide some enhancement of phosphate availability, but effects were typically small. Using the Canadian Light Source (CLS) synchrotron, thiols and ester sulfates were identified as short-term products formed from seed-row placed sulfur fertilizers in prairie soils that likely originate from microbial immobilization of fertilizer sulfur. The CLS spectra provided some evidence of elemental S oxidation to sulfate occurring over time. XANES spectroscopy revealed that one week after fertilizer application, P species present in the seed-row included similar proportions of adsorbed and poorly crystalline phosphate forms in both Brown and Black Chernozem Saskatchewan soils. However, fertilization with sulfate was noted to increase the conversion from calcium phosphate to adsorbed P forms in the Brown soil.

Agronomy

SPG Contribution

$40,738.33

Project Status

Complete

Duration/Timeline of Project (Year to Year)

2013 - 2016

Co-funders

Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture - Agriculture Development Fund, Western Grains Research Foundation, Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission

Total Project Cost

$150,038.33