Saturday, 15 July 2006

Increasing Fertilizer Efficiency by Sulphur Fertilizer through Balanced Fertilization and Fertilizer Interaction in Chinese Agriculture.

Mingxian Fan, The Sulphur Institute, 1140 Connecticut Avenure, NW., Suite 612, Washington, DC 20036

Sulphur deficiency is increasingly becoming one of the limiting factors to further sustainable increases in agricultural production. The Sulphur Institute collaborated with 15 institutions throughout China to evaluate soil sulphur deficiency and sulphur fertilizer requirements from 1997 to 2004. A total of 572 field trials have been completed in 14 provinces, evaluating direct effects of sulphur fertilizer on major agricultural crops, over the six year period. The data generated from field trials showed that sulphur fertilizer significantly increased crop yields in 495 trials, 87% of the total trials completed. Average yield increases achieved with sulphur fertilization varied from 7% to 30%, among different crops. It improved fertilizer economic efficiency, with high Value Increase: Input Cost Ratio (VCR) calculated from the field trial results for the seven years, ranging from 10 to 40; and increased agronomic efficiency from 8 kg of soybean to 368 kg of sugarcane per kg S. Sulphur fertilizer, moreover, enhanced nutrient uptake and fertilizer use efficiency through interaction of sulphur with other fertilizer nutrients, from 4% to 39.2% increases in N use efficiency and from 5.4% to 10.5% in P use efficiencies. Therefore, inclusion of S into current fertilizer recommendation systems in China is essential for efficient utilization of applied N, P, and K; and of great practical importance in modern agricultural production for desirable sustainable yields and economic returns. Key words: sulphur deficiency, sulphur fertilizer, nutrient uptake, fertilizer use efficiency, crop production.

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