Sulphur (S) - cattle

Sulphur (S) has an important role in protein production, both in animals and plants, because it is a component of Sulphur-containing amino acids (methionine and cysteine). In ruminants, therefore, it is essential in the production of microbial protein.

In addition, Sulphur is a component of the B vitamins thiamine and biotin, among others, and of the hormone insulin.

Sulphur Requirements (CVB, 2016)
Category g/kg dry matter
Young cattle from 4 months 1.5
Young cattle from 9 months 1.5
Young cattle from 16 months 1.5
Dry 8-3 wks to calving 1.5
Dry 3-0 wks to calving  1.5
Lactating (20 kg) 2.0
Lactating (40 kg) 2.0

Sulphur deficiency 
A Sulphur deficiency results in specific symptoms such as reduced feed intake and production due to reduced rumen microbial activity. Other symptoms that can be observed are a dull hair coat, salivation, and moist eyes.

Sulphur excess 
A Sulphur excess can occur relatively easily; symptoms can already occur at 3-4 g/kg dry matter. The CVB (2005) indicates a toxicity limit for Sulphur of 4 g/kg dry matter (at chronically high levels). An acute excess of Sulphur (in the form of Sulphite) affects the nervous system and leads to intestinal inflammation, blindness, muscle twitching, diarrhea and dehydration, lung and kidney damage, and bleeding. In the form of Sulphate, the symptoms are less severe and, most prominently, osmotic diarrhea occurs. When the Sulphate excess is chronic, copper deficiency may also occur.