Sulfur is applied to irrigated corn (Zea mays L.) grown on sandy soils. The objective of this study was to evaluate the sprinkler-irrigated corn response to S. Treatments were a factorial combination of 0, 14, 28, and 42 kg S ha-1 as (NH4)2SO4 applied on the soil surface at four locations at planting and in season (V5). Tissue samples were collected at V8 and R2 and evaluated along with corn grain yield and soil pore water SO2 2--S concentration measured at 60 cm with suction tube lysimeters. Application of S increased V8 plant mass, V8 whole plant S concentration and S uptake, and R2 leaf S concentration but did not increase corn grain yield. Decreased V8 plant mass was a result of S deficiency and was only corrected when some S was applied at planting. A total of 28 kg S ha-1 was sufficient to ensure adequate plant growth and S uptake whether S was applied at planting, in-season, or as a combination of the two timings. Concentrations of S were elevated in soil pore water from at planting and in-season S application indicating a portion of the S applied were still available for most-and at the end of-the growing season. Sulfur fertilizer is crucial early in the growing season for irrigated corn to ensure optimal corn growth. Rate of application is more important than time of S application in irrigated corn production. Incidental applications of S may reduce the need of S fertilizer for irrigated corn.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council for providing funding for this research and the University of Minnesota Department of Soil, Water, and Climate Field Crew for their technical support on the study.
© 2019 The Author(s).