Foliar application of selenium to field corn


Cary, E.E.; Rutzke, M.

Agronomy Journal 73(6): 1083-1085

1981


Much of the northeastern quarter of the USA produces feed corn (Zea mays L.) that contains too little selenium (Se) to meet animal nutritional requirements. This experiment was conducted to determine if Se concentration in corn ('Cornell 281') could be increased by foliar application of Se. Selenium was applied by hand sprayer to corn growing on Mardin silt loam (Typic Fragiochrept) in a field when the 4th to 6th leaves were the last fully expanded or when tassels were just emerging. Treatments were 0, 7.5, and 15 g Se/ha added as Na2Se0, in 359 liter/ha of water containing 48 ml of surfactant. Selenium rate, stage of growth, and Se × stage of growth were highly significant (P<1%). At maturity, the concentration of Se in the whole plant minus the ear vs. grain and ear leaf blade vs. grain was linearly correlated, with r=0.99** and r=0.88*, respectively. The concentration of Se in grain with no added Se was 0.01 ppm Se. Doubling the Se concentration sprayed on the corn increased the Se concentration from 0.05 to 0.12 ppm Se in grain for the early treatment and from 0.14 to 0.24 ppm Se in grain from the late treatment. The increase in Se concentration in plants sprayed at early tassel stage over those sprayed at a younger age apparently was associated with the total amount of Se intercepted by the plant. Foliar application may be an efficient and safe way to increase Se in feeds and forages.

Published
November,
1981
NOTES
1083
green
leaf
proportion
(in
the
rainy
season)
and
lower
CF
and
ADF
than
the
10
-week
harvest
interval
herb-
age.
Dry
matter
yield
but
not
CP
(1,032
vs.
925
kg/ha)
or
green
weight
yields
(5,500
vs.
4,200
kg/ha)
for
the
6
-week
harvest
interval
management
was
lower
than
for
the
10
-week
harvest
interval
management.
The
6
-
week
interval
would,
therefore,
be
an
appropriate
har-
vest
interval
to
use
to
reduce
any
effects
of
rainy
-
season
management
on
dry
-season
herbage
yield
and
quality.
Furthermore,
star
grass
would
not
appear
to
be
the
proper
grass
for
an
all
-year
herbage
production
in
this
region.
LITERATURE
CITED
1.
Ademosun,
A.
A.
1973.
Nutritive
evaluation
of
Nigerian
forage
IV.
The
effect
of
stage
of
maturity
on
the
nutritive
value
of
Panicum
maximum.
Niger.
Agric.
J.
10:170-177.
2.
Chheda,
H.
R.,
and
J.
0.
Akinola.
1971.
Effects
of
cutting
frequency
and
level
of
applied
nitrogen
on
crude
protein
pro-
duction
and
nitrogen
recovery
by
three
Cynodon
strains.
West
Afr.
J.
Biol.
Appl.
Chem.
14:31-38.
3.
Haggar,
R.
J.
1971.
Seasonal
production
of
Andropogon
gayanus.
Seasonal
changes
in
yield
components
and
chemical
composition.
J.
Agric.
Sci.
(Camb.)
74:487-494.
4.
Olubajo,
F.
0.,
and
V.
A.
Oyenuga.
1974.
The
yield,
intake
and
animal
production
of
four
tropical
grass
species
grown
at
Ibadan.
Niger.
J.
Anim.
Prod.
1:217-244.
5.
Oyenuga,
V.
A.
1958.
The
effect
of
frequency
of
cutting
on
the
yield
and
composition
of
some
fodders
in
Nigeria
(Pen-
nisetum
purpureum
Schum.).
J.
Agric.
Sci.
(Camb.)
53:25-33.
6.
----.
1960.
Effect
of
stage
of
growth
and
frequency
of
cutting
on
the
yield
and
chemical
composition
of
some
Ni-
gerian
fodder
grasses
-
Panicum
maximum
Jacq.
J.
Agric.
Sci.
(Camb.)
55:339-350.
7.
Saleem,
M.
A.,
and
H.
R.
Chheda.
1971.
Effects
of
level
and
time
of
nitrogen
application
on
dry
-matter
yield,
crude
-pro-
tein
and
herbage
utilization
of
a
rotationally
grazed
Cyno-
don,
1B.8,
pasture.
Niger.
Agric.
J.
2:93-99.
FOLIAR
APPLICATION
OF
SELENIUM
TO
FIELD
CORN'
E.
E.
Cary
and
M.
Rutzke
2
ABSTRACT
Much
of
the
northeastern
quarter
of
the
USA
produces
feed
corn
(Zea
mays
L.)
that
contains
too
little
selenium
(Se)
to
meet
animal
nutritional
requirements.
This
experiment
was
con-
ducted
to
determine
if
Se
concentration
in
corn
(Cornell
281')
could
be
increased
by
foliar
application
of
Se.
Selenium
was
applied
by
hand
sprayer
to
corn
growing
on
Mardin
silt
loam
(Typic
Fragiochrept)
in
a
field
when
the
4th
to
6th
leaves
were
the
last
fully
expanded
or
when
tassels
were
just
emerging.
Treatments
were
0,
7.5,
and
15
g
Se/ha
added
as
Na
2
Se0,
in
359
liter/ha
of
water
containing
48
ml
of
surfactant.
Selenium
rate,
stage
of
growth,
and
Se
x
stage
of
growth
were
highly
significant
(P
<
1%).
At
maturity,
the
concentration
of
Se
in
the
whole
plant
minus
the
ear
vs.
grain
and
ear
leaf
blade
vs.
grain
was
linearly
correlated,
with
r
=
0.99**
and
r
=
0.88*,
respectively.
The
concentration
of
Se
in
grain
with
no
added
Se
was
0.01
ppm
Se.
Doubling
the
Se
concentration
sprayed
on
the
corn
increased
the
Se
concentration
from
0.05
to
0.12
ppm
Se
in
grain
for
the
early
treatment
and
from
0.14
to
0.24
ppm
Se
in
grain
from
the
late
treatment.
The
increase
in
Se
concen-
tration
in
plants
sprayed
at
early
tassel
stage
over
those
sprayed
at
a
younger
age
apparently
was
associated
with
the
total
amount
of
Se
intercepted
by
the
plant.
Foliar
application
may
be
an
efficient
and
safe
way
to
increase
Se
in
feeds
and
forages.
Additional
index
words:
Zea
mays
L.,
Animal
nutrition,
Trace
element.
I
N
1957,
Schwarz
and
Foltz
(10)
showed
that
selenium
(Se)
is
an
essential
element
for
animals.
At
that
time,
federal
regulations
did
not
allow
Se
supplementation
by
unnatural
means
other
than
injection
by
prescription.
In
1967,
Kubota
et
al.
(6)
described
USA
areas
in
which
forage
containing
insufficient
Se
to
meet
animal
re-
quirements
is
produced.
Before
1973,
the
Se
re-
quirements
of
many
animals
were
net
inadvertantly
by
feed
transport
from
regions
containing
feeds
relatively
high
in
Se
to
regions
where
the
feeds
and
forages
con-
tained
concentrations
of
Se
that
were
marginally
ade-
quate
or
inadequate
(8).
Since
1973,
regulations
resulting
from
legislation
allow
addition
of
Se
to
feeds
of
swine,
sheep,
cattle,
and
some
fowl.
However,
the
addition
of
Se
to
feed
concentrates
may
not
benefit
the
livestock
producer
growing
his
own
feed.
Various
alter-
natives
to
provide
Se
to
animals
have
included
its
inclu-
sion
in
heavy
pellets,
a
drench
and
salt
(12,
11,
5).
Cary
and
Allaway
(1,
2)
added
Se
to
soil
in
an
effort
to
in-
crease
naturally
occurring
Se
in
feeds.
This
method
was
safe,
but
inefficient.
Martin
et
al.
(7)
showed
that
Se
was
rapidly
incorporated
into
organic
seleno
com-
pounds
in
detached
Astragulus
leaves.
Gissel-Nielsen
(3)
studied
foliar
application
of
Se
to
barley
(Hordeum
vulgare
L.,
'Tern),
oats
(Avena
sativa,
'Condor')
and
wheat
(Triticum
aestivum
L.,
'Kolibri')
and
found
the
method
safe
and
more
efficient
than
adding
Se
to
soil.
Much
of
the
northeastern
quarter
of
the
USA
produces
feed
corn
(Zea
mays
L.)
that
contains
too
little
Se
to
meet
animal
nutritional
requirements
(6).
This
experi-
ment
was
designed
to
investigate
if
foliarly
applied
Se
is
retained
by
field
corn
and
if
it
is
translocated
to
corn
grain.
MATERIALS
AND
METHODS
Field
corn
(`Cornell
281')
was
seeded
in
76
-cm
rows
on
16
May
1979
in
Mardin
silt
loam
(Typic
Fragiochrept)
that
had
received
34-94-34
kg/ha
of
N,
P,
K
fertilizer.
The
seeding
rate
was
71,000
plants/ha.
Four
replications
of
three
Se
rates,
0,
7.5,
and
15
g
Se/ha,
were
applied
foliarly
to
corn
at
two
growth
stages
in
a
2
x
3
factorial
combination
arranged
in
a
randomized
complete
block
design.
Selenium
was
applied
to
each
plot
with
a
hand
sprayer
as
Na
2
Se0,
in
359
liters/ha
of
water
containing
48
ml
of
surfactant.'
The
nozzle
was
held
about
30
cm
above
the
plant
growing
tip
as
each
row
within
a
plot
was
treated.
Each
plot
was
4.57
x
9.14
m.
The
early
treat-
ment
was
applied
2
July
when
plants
were
about
59
cm
tall
with
9
to
14
visible
leaves.
The
4th
to
6th
leaves
were
the
last
fully
expanded.
The
late
treatment
was
applied
30
July
at
early
tassel
stage.
On
3
October
when
plants
were
mature
and
begin-
ning
to
lose
moisture,
five
plants
were
taken
at
random
from
each
plot.
The
corn
ear
leaf
blade
and
ear
were
removed
and
separated.
The
ear
was
husked,
the
remaining
part
of
the
plant
was
chopped,
the
husk
was
added
back
to
the
stem
and
leaves,
and
all
parts
were
dried
at
50
C.
Corn
grain
was
then
removed
from
the
cob.
Samples
were
ground
through
a
20
-mesh
stainless
steel
screen
in
a
Wiley
mill,
and
analyzed
for
Se
by
the
method
of
Olson
et
al.
(9).
'
Contribution
from
the
U.S.
Plant,
Soil
and
Nutrition
Laboratory
and
Cornell
University,
Ithaca,
NY
14853.
Received
11
Aug.
1980.
2
Chemist
and
technician,
respectively,
USDA,
SEA,
AR;
U.S.
Plant,
Soil
and
Nutrition
Lab.,
Tower
Road,
Ithaca,
NY
14853.
3
Triton
B-1956,
Science
Products
Co.,
Inc.
Chicago,
IL
60646.
Mention
of
a
trademark
or
proprietary
product
does
not
constitute
a
guarantee
or
warranty
of
the
product
by
the
USDA
and
does
not
imp-
ly
its
approval
to
the
exclusion
of
other
products
that
may
also
be
available.
1084
AGRONOMY
JOURNAL,
VOL.
73,
NOVEMBER
-DECEMBER
1981
Table
1.
Mean
Se
concentrations
in
corn
grain,
ear
leaf
blade,
and
whole
plant
minus
ear
as
affected
by
Se
rate
and
time
of
foliar
application.
Dry
weight
basis.
Time
of
treatment
Se
rate
Plant
part
4th
-6th
leaf
Early
tassel
Fully
expanded
g/ha
Grain
0
7.5
15
L.S.D.
(0.01)
=
0.03
ppm
Se
0.01
0.05
0.12
0.01
0.14
0.24
Ear
leaf
blade
0
0.04
0.04
7.5
0.30
0.74
15
0.60
1.4
L.S.D.
(0.05)
=
0.27
Whole
plant
(minus
ear)
o
0.02 0.02
0.02
7.5
0.12
0.29
15
0.26
0.56
L.S.D.
(0.05)
=
0.13
Table
2.
Recovery
of
Se
added
as
a
foliar
spray.
Foliar
treatment
4th
to
6th
leaf
Fully
expanded
Early
tassel
0
gJha
7.5
gJha
15
glha
7.5
gJha
15
gJha
Total
Se
recovered
per
plot,
µg
432
2,906
4,954
5,820
12,674
Se
recovered,
%
7.9
7.2
17.2
19.5
RESULTS
AND
DISCUSSION
There
were
no
visual
signs
of
foliage
damage
and
no
yield
differences
due
to
treatments.
Mean
Se
concentra-
tions
in
grain,
ear
leaf
blade
and
whole
plant
(minus
ear)
are
shown
in
Table
1.
Analysis
of
variance
showed
that
Se
treatment
and
stage
of
growth
were
highly
significant
(P
<
0.1%)
for
Se
concentration
in
the
grain,
ear
leaf
blade
and
whole
plant
minus
ear.
The
interaction
be-
tween
Se
and
stage
of
growth
was
significant
for
Se
con-
centration
in
the
grain
(P<0.1%)
and
in
the
ear
leaf
blade
and
whole
plant
minus
ear
(P
<1%).
Doubling
the
Se
concentration
of
the
spray
roughly
doubled
the
Se
concentration
in
the
grain,
blade,
and
whole
plant
at
each
stage
of
growth.
No
measurements
were
made
to
determine
the
total
amount
of
Se
intercepted
by
corn
or
the
total
leaf
surface
area
that
was
exposed
to
the
Se
spray
on
either
treatment
date.
However,
it
was
obvious
that
more
leaf
surface
area
was
available
for
intercep-
ting
Se
at
the
early
tassel
stage
than
at
the
4th
to
6th
ful-
ly
expanded
leaf
stage.
Increased
interception
of
Se
by
the
plant
would
likely
have
an
effect
similar
to
increas-
ing
the
rate
of
Se
applied.
Probably
the
main
effect
of
stage
of
growth
was
directly
related
to
lear
surface
area.
The
relationship
between
the
concentration
of
Se
in
the
ear
leaf
blade
and
grain
can
be
expressed
as
Y
=
-
0.001
+
0.186X
where
"Y"
is
the
Se
concentration
in
grain
an
d
"X"
is
the
Se
concentration
in
the
ear
leaf
blade
(r
=
0.88*).
The
relationship
between
the
Se
con-
centration
in
grain
and
whole
plant
minus
the
ear
is
ex-
pressed
as
Y
=
0.003
+
0.434X.
In
this
case
the
Se
con-
centration
"X"
was
expressed
on
the
basis
of
the
whole
plant
minus
the
ear,
an
d
"Y"
is
as
before
(r
=
0.99*').
Means
from
both
stages
of
growth
were
used
in
arriving
at
the
above
equations.
Recovery
of
added
Se
is
given
in
Table
2.
About
7.5%
of
the
first
and
18%
of
the
second
foliar
application
of
Se
were
recovered
at
harvest. When
Se
was
applied
to
this
same
soil,
1.1%
was
recovered
in
11
cuttings
of
alfalfa
(Medicago
sativa
L.,
`Dupuie)
(1).
Corn
would
be
expected
to
recover
even
less
Se
(2).
Meterological
conditions
were
similar
on
both
treat-
ment
days.
Sprayed
leaf
surfaces
dried
rapidly.
Within
the
first
24
hours
after
treatment
0.3
cm
of
rain
fell
on
the
early
treatment
plants
and
3.6
cm
of
rain
fell
on
the
late
treatment
plants.
A
total
of
30.3
cm
of
rain
fell
be-
tween
the
early
treatment
and
harvest
and
24.8
cm
of
rain
fell
between
the
late
treatment
and
harvest.
Heavy
dew
formed
on
the
plants
the
night
after
the
late
treat-
ment.
Corn
(`Cornell
406')
was
grown
during
the
previous
summer
in
a
preliminary
experiment
conducted
in
a
greenhouse.
Leaf
wetting
after
treatment
did
not
occur
and
10
to
40%
of
the
foliarly
applied
Se
was
removed
by
washing
with
distilled
water
after
the
plant
reached
maturity.
The
effect
that
dew
might
have
on
the
final
Se
concentration
in
the
plant
is
unknown,
but
rain
washes
Se
from
the
leaf.
Gissel-Nielsen
(4)
mentioned
other
factors
that
might
affect
the
efficiency
of
Se
recovery
and
translocation
by
plants
treated
foliarly.
Certainly
spray
geometry
has
a
major
effect
on
the
final
concentration
of
Se
in
the
plant.
Considerable
addi-
tional
research
is
needed
before
foliar
application
of
Se
could
be
approved
for
general
use.
It
has
generally
been
agreed
that
feed
for
animals
should
contain,
on
a
dry
wt
basis,
0.1
ppm,
but
less
than
3
ppm
Se.
Recent
data
by
Whanger
et
al.
(12)
indicates
that
under
certain
conditions
0.1
ppm
Se
in
the
diet
is
in-
sufficient
to
meet
the
nutritional
requirements
of
animals.
Foliar
application
of
Se
might
be
used
to
in-
crease
the
Se
concentration
in
corn
to
levels
that
would
benefit,
but
be
nontoxic,
to
animals.
Under
conditions
of
this
experiment
a
fourfold
error
in
Se
concentration
sprayed
on
the
plant
at
tassel
stage
would
not
have
resulted
in
average
plant
Se
concentrations
over
3
ppm.
LITERATURE
CITED
1.
Cary,
E.
E.,
and
W.
H.
Allaway.
1969.
The
stability
of
different
forms
of
selenium
applied
to
low
-selenium
soils.
Soil
Sci.
Soc.
Am.
Proc.
33:571-574.
2.
- - - -
,
and
- - - -
.
1973.
Selenium
content
of
field
crops
grown
on
selenite-treated
soils.
Agron.
J.
65:922-925.
3.
Gissel-Nielson,
G.
1975.
Foliar
application
and
pre
-sowing
treat-
ment
of
cereals
with
selenite.
Z.
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