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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 75 No. 3, p. 493-496

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Evaluation of the Need for Copper with Several Soil Extractants1

  1. A. K. Makarim and
  2. F. R. Cox2



Copper deficiencies have heen observed in a number of crops grown on both organic and mineral soils in the Atlantic Coastal Plain. In order to recommend fertilization correctly, soil test calibrations are needed for the extractants used in the region. Soybeans (Glycine max), corn (Zea mays), and wheat (Triticum aestivum) were grown in the greenhouse on 15 soils fertilized with Cu at several rates. Percent maximum yield for the plant growth on each untreated soil was calculated from the dry matter produced. Four soil extractants were used: Double acid (DA); Mehlich-Bowling (MB); Ammonium bicarbonate-DTPA (AB); and Mehlich-3 (M3). Percent maximum yield was expressed as a function of Cu released from the untreated soils by each extractant with a linear plateau model. The extractants performed similarly in explaining plant response, with each accounting for about 70% of the variation. The soil critical levels, determined by the junction of the response and the plateau portions of the surface, for DA, MB, AB, and M3 were similar among crops and averaged 0.26, 0.62, 0.53, and 0.37 mg L−1 Cu, respectively. Wheat and soybeans were also grown in the field on seven soils with two rates of Cu. Grain yields of the two crops were related to MB extractable Cu with the Cate-Nelson method, which indicated a critical level of 0.70 mg L−1. Critical whole plant and leaf Cu concentrations were also determined. The critical whole plant Cu concentrations for soybeans, corn, and wheat, each grown 5 weeks in the greenhouse, were 3.8, 1.8, and 3.8 mg kg−1, respectively. Deficiency symptoms developed on corn and wheat at slightly lower values, 1.5 and 2.9 mg kg−1, respectively. In the field, the critical leaf concentrations at early flowering were 6 mg kg−1 for soybeans and 4 mg kg−1 for wheat.

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