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Agricultural Sulphur – Why Soil Sulphur Deficiency is so Complex

Agricultural Sulphur Deficiency is a growing problem for Australian farmers. We provide a layman’s explanation of this growing risk and how you can manage it.

Agricultural Sulphur Deficiency is on the Rise in Australia – Here’s Why

Your soil is growing denser no matter how much aerating you do.  Your leaves are discoloured.  Your yields are lacklustre.  Your soil smells wrong or like nothing at all. You’re likely one of a burgeoning number of Australian farmers experiencing poor soil health.  Why?   Because the solution is far more complex than dumping synthetic fertilisers onto your fields.  At Guano Gold®, our focus on agronomy innovation gets to the root of farming problems.  Literally, to roots throughout the entire growing cycle. Preparing land for growing crops takes time.  Rehabilitating damaged or depleted soil is a science, not an art, and the science of dense, compacted soil usually starts with soil conditioners and fertilizers like Guano Sulphur Gold® .

Imbalanced macro and micro elements are a major risk to Australian farmers

Sulphur deficiency and imbalance has been documented in Eastern Australian soilsince 1958, and the CSIRO recognises micro and macro nutrient imbalance as a threat to Australian farming.  Since the mass adoption of synthetic fertilisers in the 1950s, Australian farmers have seen bumper crops…and long-term damage to their most valuable possession – their land.  While you don’t need to become an organic farmer to rehabilitate your fields, moving away from synthetic fertilisers and towards more sustainable sulphur fertilisers and farming practices isn’t just a “trend”.  It’s at the heart of agricultural science and agribusiness. Fallow land riddled with imbalanced nutrients will not yield a sustainable income.  It’s that simple.

How does land become sulphur deficient?

The short answer is that sulphur is highly mobile and can flush away with a good rain. It’s also very soluble, in that it bonds with other elements in your soil like magnesium (forming magnesium sulphate). Your sulphur levels are vulnerable to most changes in the soil, including the use/overuse of synthetic fertilisers, liming or compost use, or prolonged weather events like droughts.  Because sulphur is so moveable, it’s possible to have a strong sulphur reading on your soil test, only to find that the sample site produced an anomaly.  Preparing your soil for planting means having a thorough understanding of the chemistry of your soil – and sulphur’s tendency to change can make this exceedingly difficult.  When your family’s livelihood (or your share price) rides on next season’s crop, inconsistent sulphur levels have been known to keep farmers up at night.

Is sulphur application keeping you up at night?  Just call us.  Our solution will restore your sleep.

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Sulphur application issues

Most synthetic chemical fertilisers enrich your soil with sulphate sulphur.  This type of sulphur is water soluble and floods your fields with intense sulphur levels. For many vegetable crops, canola crops and other Australian farming favourites, this looks great on a soil test. Water soluble sulphate sulphur can simply…trickle away.  Simply by irrigating your growing crops, you could be depriving their young roots of the nutrients they need to thrive.  Sulphur application should be both fast and slow release. It should be available throughout the entire growing cycle.

Elemental sulphur’s role in rehabilitating depleted soils

Guano Sulphur Gold® is a rich, fast and slow-release fertiliser that kickstarts the rehabilitation of compacted, odourless soil through pure, elemental sulphur.  Guano Sulphur Gold® is a fast and slow-release solution rather than a single fast flood of sulphur that can simply wash away long before your seeds are ready to germinate.  Time, temperature, organic soil levels and water all play roles in unlocking the sulphur in your soil.  This means that your crops feed on sulphur (and a host of other vital nutrients) throughout the entire growing cycle.  Constant, steady, fast and slow-release premium quality nutrients.  

Cutting edge agri-science meets ancient sustainable farming

Guano Sulphur Gold® is, well… the shiz.  It’s made from organic sea bird excrement, recognised as the gold standard in fertilisers for centuries.  The mass exodus to synthetic fertilisers in the 1950s meant short term gains in crop production but long-term damage to soils.  And that damage is becoming increasingly evident.  Meanwhile, seabird guano continues to give the right balance of nutrients to today’s crops, with a sulphur release cycle best suited to achieve higher yields and long-term soil health.  But only when you use authentic natural seabird guano with added elemental sulphur.  
Like synthetic fertilisers, not all guano derived products are created equal.  There are plenty of poor-quality guano derived products out there.  And not all guano products are suited to land rehabilitation or to all soil types or crops.  The ancient farmers had the right idea, our agronomists have the cutting-edge knowledge to recommend the correct use of guano derived products.  Guano Sulphur Gold® and the whole Guano Gold® product range is scientifically proven to be a key player in soil rehabilitation; Australian certified and developed specifically for Australian soils.  

Guano Sulphur Gold® covers all those farming chemical bases

Guano Gold® products contain Citric Soluble Phosphorus and a host of micro and macro elements to ensure both fast enrichment and long, slow-release benefits to soil.  Our focus is on testing and feeding crops according to the results.  If you’ve noticed severe changes in your soil, our custom blends can address specific nutrient deficiencies.  Our team of soil experts, agronomists and veteran farmers can work with you to determine how to rehabilitate your soil in a single year.  We can even automate the process for you, so that each crop rotation could deliver better results, year on year.  

“Exceeds Conventionally Grown Crops” “Guano Gold® products have enabled Waltanna Farms to continually lift its Organic production to a point where it meets or exceeds that of conventionally grown crops, doing this in an Organic or Bio Dynamic way is very Rewarding and Achievable.” - Michael Nagorcka

How to test if Guano Sulphur Gold® is right for your fields

  1. Know your crops.  Monitor any discolouration in leaves.  Different crops produce different symptoms of sulphur imbalance.

  2. Know your land.  Regular soil testing is NOT a cost, it’s an Investment and will give you a better overview of soil issues than a single, one-off test.  Agricultural sulphur measurement can be complex.

  3. pH matters.  Soil pH is the most talked about element of soil health.  If you’re constantly trying to bring your soil pH in line with a specific crop, you may be doing more harm than good long-term.  Consult an agronomist to understand your options for pH problematic soils.

  4. Interpret soil test results accurately.  Your soil test results may indicate underlying problems that aren’t immediately apparent.  Our agronomist can help you to interpret and understand underlying issues in soil test results. Speak to a Guano Gold® Expert Now 

  5. Don’t “just try” new fertilisers.  The biggest challenge of soil management is finding the right chemical balances.  When one element becomes dominant, it can destroy other vital elements in the soil.  Take a methodical approach to applying fertilisers.

  6. Rehabilitate individual elements.  Micro elements play a vital role in crop growth. Opt for a comprehensive approach to soil rehabilitation. Every nutrient matters.

  7. Strictly manage rotation.  If you rotate on a five-year cycle, drawing the most data from your ongoing results means strictly documenting soil treatments and results.  

  8. Don’t dismiss sustainable farming.  Dismissing sustainable farming as a fad could cost you your livelihood. Don’t buy into fads.  Be led by the data.  Use a systematic methodology for assessing how your land performs under sustainable fertilisers vs synthetic fertilisers.  Once you have the data, you can make the right decisions for your farm. 

Agricultural sulphur advice

If in doubt, ask.  Guano Gold® ’s team of agronomists can help you to determine the best steps for rehabilitating your underperforming soil, or to simply help you move away from over-zealous synthetic fertilisers.  Our team can help you interpret your soil tests, and even organise ongoing testing and custom agricultural sulphur solutions for your farm’s needs.  

Don’t do anything to your soil before you get expert advice.  The right advice could change everything.

Talk to a soil expert now 

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Being so far away from our markets, durability is critical and the Silica is really good in terms of hardening up the skin and making the melons better to transport.Ord River WA irrigator David Menzel-Barradale
The problem with many organic fertilisers is that they have very low rates of nutrients, meaning you need to put out high rates. A product like Guano Gold has 12pc P, whereas Guano Sulphur Gold has 10.5pc P, obviously with additional sulphur. These figures compare very favourably with something like a single superphosphate product. Agronomically, it’s a good product in any setting, not just for organic producers.Garry Allison, Landmark Agronomist. Mount Gambier, SA
For the broadacre croppers, Guano Gold works really well in paddocks where they have had issues with nutrient tie-up. He said the majority of synthetic P products have large rates of water soluble P. The problem with that is that you can have instances where it ends up tying up zinc in the soil so you run into problems with zinc deficiencies. Not only does the slow release nature of the Guano Gold product work well over the entire season, it also contains zinc for the crop as well as the other nutrients.Moree agronomist Rob Drewitt
We strongly recommend the Guano Gold products to fellow farmers if they are looking at improving their Calcium and Silica levels using various methods of application such as foliar and granular.James and Aimee Thomas Falkirk Macadamia Farm
I have recommended Guano Gold products for 20 years and in all cases had excellent long-term results increasing in pasture productivity.Paul Baguely - PB Ag Consulting
They are high analysis products so you get your nutrients without having to put too much fertiliser out.Anthony Beutel, Googa Farm Organics
We have known since the 1930s that phosphorus is one of the main elements required to grow a successful crop of not just the (flax) plant but the seed. It was one of those products that was first out in a granular type form and it was so much easier to get an even coverage over the ground, rather than a powder form. Later on the product became a little more refined, so we could put it through our air-seeder. We also broadcast some of it, prior to seeding, when we are cultivating ground. The products have great characteristics in relation to phosphate and silica, which is exactly what we need for flax.Waltanna Farms flax-seed farmer & Ambassador for Guano Australia, Michael Nagorcka

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