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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 75 No. 6, p. 1036-1040
     
    Received: Jan 24, 1983


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doi:10.2134/agronj1983.00021962007500060038x

Corn Response to Sulfur Application in Coastal Plain Soils1

  1. R. B. Reneau Jr.2

Abstract

Abstract

Sulfur (S) fertilization is expected to increase corn (Zea mays L.) yields in coarse-textured, well-drained, and low organic matter Coastal Plain soils. This increase is expected because of the reduced quantities of S applied to agricultural lands in the form of by-products from fertilizers applied to satisfy other nutrient requirements, increased removal of S from soil with increased crop yields, and increased emphasis on reducing atmospheric pollutants (thus decreasing S additions from atmospheric sources). This study was conducted to determine if corn yields could be increased by S additions to Coastal Plain soils and to determine if extractable soil S or tissue analyses could be employed to predict this response. Ten S fertilization experiments were conducted over a wide range of soils during 1978,1979, and 1980. Results showed that increased corn yields can be expected with S application on soils that are moderately well to well-drained, low in organic matter, and belong to the fine loamy or coarser textured family of soils, and have acid monocalcium phosphate extractable soil SO4-S concentrations ≤ 2.3 mg kg−1 in the surface horizon. When extractable soil S present in the Ap horizon was related to actual yield increases (∆y max) with a refitted Mitscherlich equation, a significant relationship was evident and 62% of the observed variability in relative yield could be explained. Fertilizer applications ranging from 18 to 28 kg S ha−1 were required to achieve 90% of maximum yield. The requirements appeared to be dependent on the method of application (broadcast preplant or split between broadcast and sidedress). When the relationship between total S and N:S ratio in the leaf below and opposite the ear leaf at silking and ∆y max was examined, 67 and 82% of the observed variation in ∆y max could be explained by a refitted Mitscherlich and a linear equation, respectively. From these equations it was estimated that the critical concentration for total S and N:S ratio would be 1.7 g kg−1 and 16, respectively. These data indicate that extractable soil S or tissue analyses could be used to identify fields that might be S deficient.

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