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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 75 No. 6, p. 913-918
    Received: Jan 31, 1983

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Copper Status of United States Soils and Forage Plants

  1. Joe Kubota2



Plants with few exceptions are the primary sources of dietary Cu of grazing animals. Levels of Cu in plants are important to ruminant animals because the utilization of Cu is tied closely to that of Mo. Copper concentrations in forage plants grown on a wide range of U.S. soils were determined, and a summary is presented in this report. A geographic pattern of Cu concentration across the USA is illustrated in map form, using legumes as the test crop, and Cu levels of 6 mg kg−1 or less, 6 to 10 mg kg−1, and 10 to 12 + mg kg−1. The Cu concentrations in grasses were low, so their Cu concentrations were summarized separately from those of the legumes. The Cu concentration in neither the legumes nor the grasses, however, strongly reflected the Cu status (total) of soils. Compared with the geographic distribution pattern of Mo in U.S. forage plants, the pattern of Cu was quite diffuse due mainly to the narrow range of Cu in plants. An understanding of plant sources of Cu is important because ruminant animals grazed in parts of the USA suffer from molybdenosis, a Mo induced Cu deficiency disease. Animals afflicted with molybosis require supplemental Cu in addition to Cu from plant sources.

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