Get copper where you need it, when you need it

Building up copper over time is not good enough any more

It’s pretty widely understood that Alberta soils are deficient in copper. What’s not so widely practiced are the most beneficial ways to address this deficiency. Building up copper over time and crossing your fingers that your crop will come into contact with it just isn’t good enough.

Outside of Alberta, you may still be asking yourself why you should care. Our understanding of macronutrients has allowed us to push wheat yields with the tools at our disposal, but when we look at the role of micronutrients in crops like wheat there is still a great deal of potential.

Copper is particularly important in the early stages of the wheat plant’s development when it is switching from the vegetative to reproductive stage (when the grain is filling), and we can make a real difference to yield and quality by taking both placement and timing into account.

I think of myself as a scientist, and this makes scientific sense to me! Here’s why: You can provide copper to the plants when they need it, ensuring it actually gets to them instead of being bound up in the organic matter in the soil.

First, grab soil samples and have them tested. Anything showing less than 2 parts per million is deficient. An agronomist can help you interpret your results and develop a plan. But generally, here’s what I recommend when addressing copper deficiency in a wheat field in order to see results the same season:

1. Place it in the seed row – precisely

You might add 1 pound of copper in a 25 lb blend of fertilizer. But how to distribute it evenly to the seed row? We work with YaraVita™ PROCOTE Cu, a liquid that coats the fertilizer granules, ensuring every granule has copper on it, and in turn ensuring more plants will have access to the copper.

Even if you’ve applied the correct amount, when copper is just one of many granules, it will remain out of reach for many plants. Procote ensures evenness and availability to most plants.

2. Foliar application

If you miss copper in your spring granular fertilizer mix, you can still apply it to the growing crop at the same time as your in-crop herbicide application. Copper plays a key role in some reactions involved in photosynthesis, helping to make starch and produce grain. Therefore, if you wait to see copper deficiency symptoms, it’s just too late. I’ve worked with YaraVita COPTRAC and have seen positive results


Check out Yara’s TankmixIT app to learn the tank mixing compatability with other crop protection products.
If you suspect you have a copper deficiency, or you want to address one on your farm, contact your local Cargill agronomist for more information. Book a soil test to understand what you’re dealing with.

If you suspect you have a copper deficiency, or you want to address one on your farm, contact your local Cargill agronomist for more information. Book a soil test to understand what you’re dealing with.

Kelsey Klyzub

Kelsey is the agronomist in Edmonton and Vermilion. She's can help you with integrated pest management. Kelsey grew up in Brandon, Manitoba and spent time on weekends soaking up the details of her grandparents farm in Fraserwood, MB. Her passion for agriculture led her to the University of Alberta to earn a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with a major in crop science. She has a passion for herbicides and weeds, so she is looking forward to helping local growers with integrated pest management along with their farm-specific agronomy challenges.

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