Three Symptoms of Sulfur Deficiency in Canola

We recently discussed signs of sulfur deficiency and how to identify sulfur deficiency in corn, but what specific symptoms can you look for to identify sulfur deficiency in your canola crop? As one of the most widely grown crops in Western Canada it’s important to understand how to optimize your canola’s nutrient management program to get the most out of every seed planted. The following three symptoms of sulfur deficiency in canola (with photos) can help you correct a deficiency before it’s too late.

1. Yellowing and curling on new leaves

As with many other crops, sulfur deficiency may show as yellowing on new leaves. With canola you may also see the leaves begin to curl inwards as seen in the photo below.

Image by IPNI

2. Purpling of leaves

Are you seeing purple in your canola field? Purple on canola leaf edges or undersides as seen in the photos below may show up when sulfur deficiency becomes more severe.

Image by IPNI

3. Light yellow/white buds

Is your canola crop not budding with the typical bright yellow buds/flowers? When your canola crop reaches the bud or flowering stage, pale yellow or white buds and flowers as seen in the photos below may be a sign of sulfur deficiency.

Confirming the diagnosis

If you’ve spotted one or more of these sulfur deficiency symptoms in your canola crop, the next step is confirming the diagnosis with a tissue and soil sample. Soil sampling alone is not an effective method to determine sulfur deficiency but when paired with a tissue sample can help determine if sulfur deficiency is present.

Determining sulfur application rate

The best way to prevent a sulfur deficiency is to determine the specific sulfur application rate your crop requires based on nutrient removal rates and total uptake. Talk to an agronomist to calculate the nutrient harvest index and sulfur fertilizer rate your crop requires.

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