The Benefits of Ammonium Thiosulfate (ATS) for Crop Growth

Are you curious about the latest research on sulfur application in corn production? Well, let’s delve into the fascinating world of ammonium thiosulfate (ATS) and discover its potential benefits for your crops.

Nurturing Your Crops with ATS

ATS is a unique compound that contains both nitrogen and sulfur, albeit in different proportions compared to ammonium sulfate (AMS). While AMS delivers sulfate sulfur directly to plants, ATS requires a transformative journey before becoming sulfate in the soil. Let’s take a closer look at this intriguing process.

ATS undergoes a reaction in the soil that forms tetrathionate, which unfortunately isn’t immediately available to plants. However, fear not, as tetrathionate eventually converts to sulfate, which is highly beneficial for plant growth. This transformation occurs with the help of bacteria present in the soil, along with appropriate moisture and temperature conditions. Although the conversion may take one to several weeks, it often happens even faster. As a general rule of thumb, about half of the ATS becomes readily available to plants within a week of application on moist soil. In contrast, elemental sulfur, another common sulfur source, undergoes a far more delayed change to become plant-accessible.

ATS: A Fertilizer Source with Superpowers

ATS possesses exceptional solubility, making it a wonderful addition to liquid nitrogen solutions. However, it’s crucial to note that ATS shouldn’t be applied in the furrow as it can cause damage to seedlings. Additionally, it’s not suitable for foliar fertilizer application.

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ATS also exhibits properties of nitrification inhibition and urease inhibition. Although studies have shown measurable inhibition effects, ATS is not as consistent or effective as alternative products such as nitrapyrin and DCD, which are nitrification inhibitors, or NBPT (N-(n-butyl) thiophosphoric acid triamide), an urease inhibitor. Moreover, achieving inhibition requires high rates of ATS application.

ATS: More Than Just a Herbicide Carrier

Aside from its role as a fertilizer, ATS can also be used as a herbicide carrier. However, caution must be exercised when mixing ATS with herbicides, as it can lead to compatibility issues, resulting in uneven mixing and application of herbicides. The risk of such problems increases as the quantity of ATS exceeds 10% of the total solution.

A study conducted by Johnson et al. (2019) explored the use of ATS with glyphosate and glyphosate + 2,4-D herbicides. The research revealed that the combination of ATS and burndown herbicides can cause antagonism, ultimately reducing the efficacy of the herbicides as burndown products. Therefore, it’s crucial to always read and follow label directions when using fertilizers as herbicide carriers. Performing a jar test to assess product compatibility is also highly recommended.

Unlocking the Potential of ATS

In conclusion, ammonium thiosulfate (ATS) presents a world of possibilities for optimizing crop growth. Its unique properties make it an excellent fertilizer source when used correctly. Additionally, it can be utilized as a herbicide carrier, although precautions must be taken to ensure compatibility. To fully harness the power of ATS in your agricultural endeavors, consult with experts in the field and stay informed about the latest research.

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Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, why not further explore the wonders of agricultural innovation? Check out the Ames Farm Center, a dedicated resource for all your farming needs, at


Camberato, J. 2019. What we know and don’t know about Ammonium Thiosulfate. Pest and Crop Newsletter. Purdue University.

Franzen, D.W. 2017. Nitrogen extenders and additives for field crops. SF1581. North Dakota State University.

Johnson, B., et al. 2019. ATS and burndown herbicide treatments. Pest and Crop Newsletter. Purdue University.