Sulfur is one of the elements essential for plant growth. Its functions within the plant are related closely to those of nitrogen and the two nutrients are synergistic. Sulfur is required for plant growth in quantities equal to, and sometimes exceeding, those of phosphorus. Sulfur has a variety of vital functions within the plant's biochemistry. It is a principal constituent of amino acids (qv) such as cysteine and methionine. It is also essential in the formation of enzymes, vitamins (qv) such as biotin and thiamine, and a variety of other important compounds in the plant, including chlorophyll. When sulfur is deficient, both plant yield and quality suffer. Plants that are sulfur-deficient are characteristically small and spindly. The younger leaves are light-green to yellowish, and in the case of legumes, nodulation of the roots is reduced. The oil content of seeds is diminished and the maturity of fruits is delayed in the absence of adequate sulfur.
Plant nutrient sulfur has been growing in importance worldwide as food production trends increase while overall incidental sulfur inputs diminish. Increasing crop production, reduced sulfur dioxide emissions, and shifts in fertilizer sources have led to a global increase of crop nutritional sulfur deficiencies.
Sulphur has also been used for an all-purpose fungicide. Research has shown that sulphur was used to kill soil fungi as well as leaf fungi. Fungi have never developed a resistance to sulphur.
In history sulphur has been used a lot to prevent deseases. The greatest use, however, has been as a base for mixing with nutrients, fungicides and insecticides.
As can be seen, sulphur has been a versatile, all-purpose product.
Why apply as a suspension?
The major problems with powder sulphur are:
1. It is used as dust,
2. It is explosive,
3. It is irritating to handle,
4. It has to be used in large quantities per hectare or acre,
5. The drift causes many problems.
Advantages of using Bio-Sulphur:
Bio-Sulphur is sold as an emulsion. It is manufactured by an exclusive method, namely via excretion of micro particles by sulphur producing bacteria. The particles are thus hydrophilic and due to its size of only a few microns, they provide a manifold more surface area than typical dusting sulphur. Thus, the recommended rates are about 10% of the amount of dust.
In order to get maximum benefit for Bio-Sulphur, the application technique via dilution with water is important.
Due to the composition of Bio- Sulphur, it is very hard to wash off of the leaves by rainfall or over-head irrigation. The particles are resistant to wash-off.
Bio-Sulphur can be handled in IBC containers and in 10 litre cans. It must never be allowed to freeze.
Farmers no longer like to mix dry products in their spray tank…they want to pour products from a pail.
1. Mix easier,
2. Have less waste,
3. Can be handled in closed system.
Remember, Bio-Sulphur, is a concentrated suspension. When mixed in a spray tank it must be diluted with water.
Why use Bio-Sulphur?
The use of Bio-Sulphur will do four things:
1. Provide sulphur as a nutrient for plant growth,
2. Help the plant resist against diseases,
3. Keep away insects,
1. Sulphur as a nutrient. For every ten kg of nitrogen used by a plant, it needs one kg of sulphur to make protein. Without sulphur, a plant cannot make protein or use nitrogen—it will die. Foliar applied sulphur can be used as a nutrient.
2. Sulphur applied as foliar fertilizer has proven to make a plant more resisitant against deseases. Sulphur can make application of fungicides better when used in combination to control fungus diseases.
Research has shown that sulphur will help make fungicides perform better
3. Sulphur helps to keep away insects and can make other insecticides work better when used in combination to control many insects. This is due to the fact that it acidifies the leaf surface.
Bio-Sulphur—Fundamental to every spray tank
No one product does so many things as does Bio-Sulphur when its foliar applied
Anytime that a crop is sprayed before blossoming it could use Bio-Sulphur.
General advantages of BIO-SULPHUR
v The fact that Bio-sulphur is available as an emulsion, rather than a dry powder, makes it a much more user friendly product: it is hydrophilic and thus easy to add as an emulsion to liquid formulations, the product is easy to pour and readily mixable. There are no dust issues which can be inhaled and cause human and animal toxicities.
v As a liquid suspension it has much greater safety than conventional sulphur which can ignite and is thus listed as a hazardous material for shipping purposes
v The small particle of crystals averaging less than 10 microns makes it sprayable using most conventional spraying equipment
v The sulphur is very degradable by microorganism in soil and becomes available to plants as a fertilizer significantly faster than the larger hydrophobic sulphur available from other sources
v It has very low phytotoxicity.
v Sulphur is one of the few compounds which are allowed in organic agriculture.
v It is extremely stable and can be stored without loss of efficacy for years
v Formulations have excellent consistency from batch to batch with minimum levels of potential contaminants
v Very high foliar stability; the product doesn’t wash off readily from leaf surfaces. This does mean that it should be applied prior to fruit formation as it will be visible on the fruit. However, it can be washed off.
v The material is an ideal fertilizer for plants requiring high levels of sulfur such Brassica species. Since most soils are sulphur deficient adding 10 - 16 kg per hectare can significantly increase yields of crops such as canola, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. The cost to return can be very high to grower.
v. Last but not least, Bio-sulphur can be used for PH reduction in the soil. 600 kg per hectare reduces PH by one unit. This is many times more economic than using peat. It can be interesting for blue berry production and for various types of fruit.