Research: Applying sulfur helps boost Florida tomato yields

10/12/2012 11:39:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

Florida tomatoesVicky BoydAdding 25 pounds of elemental sulfur per acre sigificantly boosted Florida tomato yields, according to research results.Adding 25 pounds of elemental sulfur per acre may boost Florida tomato yields significantly, according to University of Florida research.

Bielinski Santos, an associate professor with the university's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, was part of the team that conducted the work at Balm, according to a news release.

Although sulfur is an important nutrient for tomato production, many growers have gotten away from the practice because of clean-air standards.

As a result, sulfur-related deficiencies are now common, according to the release.

Because there are no tests for soil sulfur content, Santos recommended adding sulfur annually.

The researchers applied sulfur ranging from 25 to 200 pounds per acre.

Plots receiving 25 pounds per acre yielded 1.7 tons more marketable fruit compared with plots receiving no sulfur.

Plots that received more than 25 pounds per acre did not yield appreciably more than those that received 25 pounds per acre.

The 25 pounds per acre falls within the UF/IFAS recommendations for Florida vegetable production.

Sulfur sources include gypsum, elemental sulfur and sulfate-based fertilizers.

Other university research teams have conducted similar experiments with strawberries and found similar results.

They plan to publish the study in coming months.

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