July 30, 2020

Copper considerations assist cereal crops

Copper is important in pollen formation, viability and fertilisation, thus influencing the number of grains per head in cereals

SEEING leaf growth turning a pale green is enough to make a farmer go the same colour.

Along with the young leaf tips suddenly dying (wither tip), the pale green colour is a likely sign of copper deficiency.

Copper is an important trace element that is utilised by a wide range of crops, acting as a catalyst in photosynthesis and respiration.

Luckily, cereal crop producers have products at hand to help avoid the scenario above.

Western Australia-based Yara Australia sales agronomist, Jason Brady, says copper is important in pollen formation, viability and fertilisation, thus influencing the number of grains per head in cereals.

“Copper is used in the lignification of cell walls thereby influencing cell stability and resistance to fungal attack,” Mr Brady said.

“It is also a constituent of several enzymes involved in carbohydrate and protein metabolism.”

The problem is, copper has poor mobility within the plant. Mr Brady said copper in the form of YaraVita COPTRAC is best applied from from the four-leaf stage to the start of Stem Extension (GS 32).

“As copper is generally used by the plants in small amounts, foliar application ensures a precise application at the right time to suit immediate crop needs,” he said.

“The YaraVita COPTRAC formulation not only has immediate availability to the plant but also has a sustained effect.”

The most economical way to apply foliar nutrition is in conjunction with crop protection sprays.

“YaraVita COPTRAC has excellent tank mix capabilities that assist with ease of application,” Mr Brady said.

Many grain-producing regions received handy autumn rain which provided a good foundation for fertiliser application.

Mr Brady said in order to determine exactly which fertilisers a grower needs, they should conduct regular soil and leaf analysis to assist in determining a fertiliser program.

"Yara has some very stringent quality controls and testing in place to make sure that all fertiliser products are of the highest quality,” he said.

"This makes Yara fertilisers very easy to use and growers can be confident of excellent product.”

"We supply a range of foliar micronutrient fertilisers into broadacre agriculture. Manganese, copper and zinc are essential for plant growth and function. The availability of these micronutrients throughout the whole season is important to maximise yield potential.

Even though the plant’s requirements for these micronutrients is small, efficient plant growth and function cannot occur without adequate levels.