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Copper (Cu) is a plant essential micronutrient important seed set, pollen formation and flowering and helps prevent mineral disorders in livestock.

Essential micronutrient required by plants in small quantities

Involved in photosynthesis, seed set and flowering

Deficiency symptoms include distorted leaves, twisted stems and blind grain sites

Copper losses are minimal due to its ability to bind to clay soil particles

Best applied to the soil at crop establishment to actively prevent copper deficiencies

Wolf Trax copper can be coated onto most Goulding fertilisers



Copper is required for chlorophyll production to increase photosynthetic capacity and yield.

As with boron, it encourages pollen germination and seed set, increasing ripening, flowering and fruiting.

It is essential in plant respiration and helps in plant metabolism of carbohydrates and protein.

It is also required for lignin production in cell walls which is required for support, water transport and pollen release.


Copper is a component of several enzymes involved in respiration, immune function and keratin formation.

Deficient animals suffer from a loss of hair pigmentation, brittle bones and anemia. Growth and reproduction rates are also likely to be affected.

If ewes fail to consume enough copper during pregnancy, they are at risk of giving birth to lambs with Swayback. This condition affects the development of the central nervous system in the foetus which, once born, leads to lambs which cannot coordinate their legs.

Growing lambs with copper deficiency are more likely to present with poor quality, steely wool.

In cattle, loss of pigment from coloured hair - predominantly around the eyes - is one of the most common symptoms.

Excessive levels of sulphur or molybdenum in an animals diet can induce copper deficiency and so care should be taken to ensure animals receive a balanced diet with the correct ratio of nutrients.



Copper is available for plant uptake in its ionic form (Cu2+). Its positive charge means it is able to bind to negatively charged clay particles and organic matter within the soil, therefore soils with a high clay content tend to have higher levels of copper.

Because of the ability of copper to form strong bonds with soil organic matter, peaty soils or soils with more than 5% organic matter can contain large amounts of copper which is unavailable for crop uptake, leading to an induced deficiency.

Like many other micronutrient, copper becomes less available at a high pH (<7) and so fields which have received large applications of lime can be vulnerable to deficiency.

Soils high in iron, molybdenum and sulphur are likely to induce copper deficiency.


Copper deficient plants have distorted leaves and bent and twisted stems. Affected plants have blind grain sites and distorted ear.

An early sign of copper deficiency is chlorosis (yellowing) of younger leaves. 

  • Sandy soils 
  • High organic matter soils 
  • High pH
  • Soils with excessive levels of sulphur, iron or molybdenum

A Broad Spectrum (BS) soil analysis can help determine the quantity of copper which is likely to be available for crop uptake and can be used to tailor fertiliser plans and to help prevent deficiencies within the season.

Tissue analysis is considered unreliable in determining the concentration of copper within the plant. 

Loss Pathways

Copper is less prone to leaching losses due to its positive charge and its ability to bind to clay particles. Losses will be greater in soils with a low clay content. 

Contained within...

Richland22.7-2.5-5 + 3%S + 1.2%Mg + Cu + Zn + MnRichland is a well balanced NPK Fertiliser, containing trace elements. Its special formulation provides extra growth of sweet palatable grass, that cattle and sheep thrive on.
Replenish18-2.5-14 + 2%S + 1.2% Mg + Cu + Zn + MnReplenish is a well balanced NPK Fertiliser, containing a range of trace elements which are as essential for quality grass as the major nutrients.
MICRO-MATCH copper0.05 – 0.1% Cu as requiredA micronised charged powder which coats every granule of fertiliser. Contains both immediate and sustained release nutrition