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Canola sulfur strategies under review

As canola establishes a foothold in the crop lineup of northern farming systems, new recommendations for central west NSW are set to improve profitability.

Maurie Street, Grain Orana Alliance (GOA) chief executive officer, Dubbo, NSW says the long-accepted recommendation for the blanket application of 20 kilogram per hectare of sulfur to all canola crops has recently been challenged by new research.

He says reviewing this strategy could improve canola’s profitability as unwarranted applications of sulfur is reducing the profitability of many canola crops and rates should be at least reviewed to reflect more accurate rates of removal by canola of four kilograms per tonne of grain removed.

“Canola is more frequently responsive to nitrogen applications and at least some expenditure on fertiliser may be better redirected from sulfur to nitrogen applications.

“Sulfur deficiency occurs in canola and in a few cases shown to be quite severe but the frequency is most likely lower than thought and can be rectified early in crop without ongoing penalty.”

Mr Street says three years of trialling funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and carried out by GOA has failed to demonstrate a response to the addition of sulfur in yield or oil even in soil types selected for very low sulfur.

“Numerous recent trials by other organisations have also failed to demonstrate responses to sulfur in canola,” he said.

“Soil test ‘critical’ levels are uncalibrated so are most likely too high and should be reviewed.”

To download the GRDC Update paper detailing sulfur strategies for canola, click here

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