Sulfur, an overlooked nutrient.
Those of you who have attended my seminars or watched some of my videos have heard me talk about the importance of sulfur. Today, i'm going to cover it for both the nutrition aspect and the agronomic side of things.
Sulfur is necessary for the production of amino acids in ruminant animals. Called cysteine, cysteine and methionine, these amino acids are manufactured by the microorganisms in the deer's rumen. Also the B-vitamins thiamin and biotin are produced. When sulfur is deficient in the animal's normal diet adding sulfur can encourage the growth of the rumen's microorganisms and improve amino acid balance.
Sulfur can be an effective insect repellent for deer as well. In some free choice minerals, we include a higher amount of slfur to accomplish this. I see it done more often by the organic farming community. You do have to be careful to not add too much, as we want to be between .20 and .25 % sulfur in an animals diet.
Sulfur is one of the 16 elements essential to crop production. It is typically considered a secondary macronutrient along with calcium and magnesium, but is essential for maximum crop yield and quality. Sulfur is often ranked immediately behind nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in terms of importance to crop productivity. Sulfur is a component of the amino acids cysteine and methionine making it essential for protein synthesis in plants.
Sulfur fertility has historically not been a major concern for growers on most soils, as soil organic matter, atmospheric deposition, manure application and incidental sulfur contained in fertilizers have typically supplied sufficient sulfur for crop production. However, reductions in the amount of sulfur contributed by these factors combined with increased sulfur removal with greater crop yields have made sulfur deficiencies more common. This is because we have cleaned up the power plants across the US. They were a major source of sulfur deposits on the soil.
When people get their soil sulfur levels in balance one thing you will see is an increase in plant sugar levels. This is especially important for consumption of your food plot forages by deer, especially those forages that are not as palatable typically or brassicas who tend to need a frost to sweeten them some.