A cautionary note about copper footbaths

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The use of copper sulfate footbaths helps prevent foot infections, but it also raises some concerns because the bath water is often discarded into lagoons and eventually used to irrigate corn and alfalfa.

“At some point, the buildup of copper in the soil could start to negatively affect crop production,” says soil scientist Jim Ippolito, who works at the Agricultural Research Service’s Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research Laboratory in Kimberly, Idaho. “By studying this issue now, we may be able to help producers develop irrigation management strategies that keep copper from getting to potentially harmful levels.”

More in the September issue of Agricultural Research.



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