Copper nutrition in farming and agriculture
Copper is vital for the normal growth and well-being of plants and animals.
Copper is an essential nutrient
Copper nutrition is essential for all living tissues and is vital for normal growth and well-being of plants and animals. Soil treatments and feeds containing the copper mineral have a critical function in agriculture to correct copper-deficient soils and livestock to improve the yield of vital foodstuffs.
In animals, copper plays a part in the utilisation of iron for haemoglobin formation. An insufficiency of copper in an animal’s tissues can occur in two ways. It can be a simple straightforward copper deficiency, brought about by an actual deficiency of the element in the fodder, or it can be of the complex type, in which the diet contains the normal amount of copper but some other factor or factors obstruct in some way its assimilation by the animal. A good example of this is molybdenum, an excess of which depletes the animal’s copper reserves and the animal develops copper deficiency symptoms unless given an additional source of copper.
How to grow two ears of corn where one grew before is a problem that has been with us for many an era. The red metal can help towards increasing yields and raising the productivity of the land, to keep pace with the rise in population. Over a century ago attention was first focussed on what we now know as the major plant nutrients – nitrogen (N), phosphates (P) and potash (K). It was not until many decades later, as improved analytical methods became available, that it was realised that, in addition to NPK, numerous other micro or trace elements are just as essential to the growth and well-being of plants – a deficiency of any one element acting as a limiting factor.