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ISSUE 6  June 11, 1998



    An early growth response to copper was recently observed on spring wheat in a replicated study in North Dakota near Valley City. Control plots (0 Copper) were yellow in color and were in the four-leaf growth stage. Plots treated with 5 lb/acre copper as copper sulfate (applied preplant and incorporated using only no-till seeding equipment) were green in color, and were in the five-leaf stage with 2-3 tillers.

    The plot was established on a hilltop with sandy loam texture, less than 2% organic matter and a DTPA copper soil test of 0.3-0.4 ppm.

    Differences have not been observed in another plot area within the same field in a loam soil with 3.5% organic matter and a DTPA test of 0.5-0.6 ppm. Trials have also been established in the Devils Lake region. All trials will continue to be observed and taken to yield.

    This study is in its early stages and producers and agribusiness should not read too much into the results to date. Little is known about copper responses in North Dakota, mostly due to conventional wisdom that suggests that copper deficiency should not exist outside of peat or muck soils. The copper response in North Dakota may come as a surprise for some, but it is consistent with Canadian observations on sandy, water worked, glacial till soils.

    A copper survey of the state is being conducted this summer to determine relative soil copper levels by region and reveal landscape relationships within fields

Dr. Dave Franzen
Extension Soil Specialists, NDSU

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