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MARCH 2023

Elemental sulphur or sulphur in the form of sulphates: Which nutrition should be applied to your crops?

In the area of vegetal health and nutrition, sulphur stands out for its considerable capacity to be formulated and presented for agricultural use in a wide range of different forms, in order to ensure it is best adapted to the cultivation system being used at the time.

In this sense, when you use sulphur as a fertiliser, you can choose to apply it as elemental sulphur or in the form of sulphates.

It should be noted that sulphur is mostly incorporated by plants from the dissolution of the soil as a sulphate anion (SO42-), the most oxidised form of sulphur.

However, although this form of sulphur is directly assimilated by the plant, the sulphates are extremely soluble, so they disappear from the soil by being washed away by irrigation water or rain, this involves the risk of experiencing a sulphur deficiency in crops.

Therefore, if sulphur is only applied in the form of sulphate fertilisers, it may not be enough to cover the crop’s needs throughout its cycle.

Elemental sulphur has the advantage of being insoluble in water, which allows it to remain in the soil whilst gradually oxidising until it is converted into assimilable sulphates by the soil’s microbiota action.

This microbial transformation is subject to variables, such as temperature, humidity, and concentration of oxygen in the soil and may not be quick enough to supply the plant when it has a high sulphur need.

The best choice is combining sulphate fertilisation with a basic elemental sulphur fertilisation in order to gradually build up the soil’s sulphur reserves and ensure that there is enough sulphur available to the crops throughout their cycle.

In addition to its role as a source of 'slow release' sulphates, the oxidisation of elemental sulphur in the soil promotes the lowering of its pH and a washing out of sodium (Na) bound to the exchange complex, as it is transformed into sulphates.

This lower pH helps us mobilise macronutrients such as phosphorous (P) and micronutrients like iron (Fe) or copper (Cu) from the soil. Eliminating sodium balances out the electrical conductivity of the soil and reduces the overall water stress on the plant.

We recommend that you watch the explanation videos below in order to understand the differences between the forms of sulphur that can be used to fertilise your crops.


We also believe it is interesting for you to understand the specific properties that our fertilisers in the form of elemental sulphur offer. This will help you choose the fertiliser that is most suited to the needs of your crops and the demands of your agricultural soil.


You can choose AFESOL, a sulphur amendment with a fast-acting hemispherical shape, this essential macronutrient is mixed with clay which breaks down easily as it absorbs moisture, achieving rapid decomposition and incorporation of the sulphur into the soil.

This form of elemental sulphur, applied through AFESOL, will offer the following natural benefits to your crops:

  • It allows the product to decompose quickly which accelerates the rate at which it is incorporated into the agricultural soil.
  • It improves the soil’s structure and encourages water penetration.
  • There is no leaching leak as it is presented in this form of elemental sulphur.
  • It balances out the soil’s electrical conductivity, which notably improves the soil’s salinity levels.
  • It improves alkaline and saline soils by washing away salts and lowering the pH.
  • It increases the availability of macronutrients and encourages a greater absorption of micronutrients.
  • It also stimulates plant growth, providing an intense green colour by encouraging the generation of chlorophyll.


An alternative to this is SOLFOUREA PALLARÉS, which consists of a granulated nitrogen fertiliser coated with elemental sulphur which, based on its composition, offers the following agricultural benefits:

  • Thanks to the urea’s sulphur covering, nitrogen is released slowly which allows it to continuously contribute to the plant and the agricultural soil.
  • It provides indirect value as a soil amendment, improving the assimilation of phosphorous and other microelements.
  • It prevents leaching, volatilisation and makes better use of the nitrogen applied.
  • It corrects the pH and electrical conductivity of basic and saline soils.