Selenium fertilizers for pastures grazed by sheep. I. Selenium concentrations in whole blood and plasma

B. R. Whelan, D. W. Peter, N. J. Barrow

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31 Citations (Scopus)


Two forms of prilled selenium fertilizer from Mintech N.Z., Na2 SeO4 (Selcote®) and BaSe04 incorporating a slow-release technology, were applied to pasture once at 10 and 20 g Se ha-1 in 1987 at Bakers Hill, Western Australia. The pasture was grazed at 10 sheep ha-1 for 3 years. In the first year, half the sheep were also treated with a selenium intra-ruminal pellet. The Selcote fertilizer produced a rapid rise in pasture selenium concentration, resulting in a similar response in the concentrations of selenium in the whole blood and plasma which reached their maximum values within 7 weeks of commencing grazing. The selenium concentration then declined until, after 15 months, there was insufficient selenium in the pastures to increase the selenium status of sheep. In contrast, the slow-release formulation provided adequate selenium in each of the 3 years with sheep reaching their maximum plasma selenium of 80 8g Se L-1 in the second and third year. At relatively low values for whole blood selenium (< 75 pg Se L-1), supplying an additional selenium source had an additive effect on selenium concentration in the blood, but at higher concentrations (> 350 8g Se L-1) additional sources of selenium only marginally increased the whole blood concentration of selenium. Plasma was a more sensitive indicator of the selenium content of pasture in the short term than whole blood. The results indicate that either Selcote or the BaSe04 fertilizer provides an effective alternative to current strategies for supplying Se to grazing animals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)863-875
Number of pages13
Journal Australian Journal of Agricultural Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1994
Externally publishedYes


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