Growers may consider reducing fertilizer rates for various reasons such as lower crop prices, higher input costs, lower than expected yields, or uncertainty of profitable yield responses.
Organic matter (O.M.) plays a significant role in crop production and soil health. Building and maintaining a healthy soil that has more O.M. can aid in providing a stronger foundation for higher crop yields and resiliency to environmental stresses.
Carbon is the currency of nature: the backbone of soil organic matter and the energy source for soil microorganisms. Therefore, much interest in soil health focuses on increasing carbon storage in soil. When you reduce tillage or increase crop rotation diversity, you expect soil organic matter to increase. However, soil organic matter often change slowly for several years. In fact, less than 1% of plant biomass carbon returned to soil eventually becomes stable humus organic carbon.
Soil health is the cornerstone of balanced crop nutrition. Up to 60% of yield is dependent on soil fertility. Setting the foundation for healthy soils provides greater crop productivity and sustains the land for generations to come.
Sulfur (S) is an essential element for all crops. Sulfur deficiency has become more common due to decreased atmospheric inputs, higher yields, and a shift to high-analysis fertilizers with little or no S. Commonly used S fertilizer sources contain either sulfate-S (SO4-S) or elemental sulfur (ES).