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View from the Cab: Sulfur in soybeans

Dr. Shaun Casteel speaks with local growers this month / CIFN photo.

A Purdue University Extension soybean specialist believes soybeans need more sulfur.

Dr. Shaun Casteel says sulfur accumulation differs between the 1960s and 2010s. Back in the day when soybeans reached the R6 growth stage, they accumulated about 50 percent sulfur and now only about 35 percent is taken up after R6.

“There’s a lot more going on later in the season now,” Casteel explained during the Brandt field day at Lexington this month.

These days, late August and early September are critical points for soybeans which used to get sulfur from the atmosphere but that’s not the case anymore.

“We are starting to see sulfur response on soybeans in several situations,” Casteel added.

In past years, more sulfur was deposited in the atmosphere each year in the coal powered areas of the country where emissions were greater. We are only getting five pounds from the atmosphere these days. Casteel believes sulfur and nitrogen are the keys for high-yielding soybeans.

“You’ve got to build it in the plant.”

According to Casteel, we are at .18 pounds for each bushel of grain and that needs to be increased to .35 pounds.

For more on this topic and other soybean information from Casteel, check out or call 765-494-0895.

Surprisingly, there isn’t much to report regarding area harvest activity last week. I thought more growers would be out harvesting corn but apparently, the moisture content is too high. I have heard of one grower deciding to quit for a couple of days while the corn dries down more out in the field.

There are a few soybean fields around here which look like they’ll be ready for harvest any day. I’ll be anxious to hear how the yields turn out – especially from those early planted soybean fields. We haven’t ventured out to the field just yet but the fall preparations are underway on the farm.

(The View from the Cab blog is powered by Petersen Chevy-Buick in Fairbury)

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