Journal of the Department of Agriculture, Western Australia, Series 4


J S. Yeates


Sulfur fertilizers, Pastures, Crops, Deficiency diseases

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Sulphur deficiency has long been recognised as a potential problem of legume pastures in the higher rainfall areas (over 750 mm a year) of south-west Western Australia. Before the introduction of granulated superphosphate (about 1970), sulfer deficiencies commonly developed in spring on susceptible soils despite autumn applications of superphosphate (containing about 10.5 per cent sulphur).

In loww and medium rainfall areas sulphur deficiency is rarely reported, at least partly because of annual superphosphate applications. However large areas of the sandy-surfaced soils of Western Australia would become sulphur deficient for pastures and crops if sulphur inputsd in fertilisers were substantially reduced.

This could occur as a result of widespread use of 'high analysis' nitrogenous and phosphatic fertilisers containing little sulphur (Table 1) and rerduced rates of superphosphate application on older land.

Research over a number of years into the behaviour of sulphur in the soil and plants has led to a better understanding of the role of sulphur nutrition in Western Australian agriculture. This article discusses the research findings and sulphur fertiliser recomendations which have been developed from the work.