Sustained selenium supplementation supports livestock productivity and profitability for producers - Elders Rural Services

Sustained selenium supplementation supports livestock productivity and profitability for producers

Naturally occurring selenium is widely known to be lacking in many regions of Australia, yet it’s a fundamental trace element that can impact metabolism and growth, as well as the reproductive and immune systems, of sheep and cattle.

As we celebrate the arrival of Spring, it’s important to remember that selenium levels in pasture are going to be at their lowest from now and right through until Summer (especially in years of good autumn rain and lush clover growth, as extra pasture growth dilutes availability) – and the substantial impact that a selenium deficiency can have on the success of a farming enterprise.

Selenium deficiency can be complicated, and levels can vary seasonally and geographically. Some regions are well known for being deficient in this vital mineral – like much of coastal southern Australia and right up the eastern seaboard, which has sandy, acidic and granite-derived soils. Lower pasture selenium levels are also associated with heavy superphosphate applications, with high sulphur levels reducing selenium availability.

Why is this important to understand? Because without an effective selenium supplementation, stock in affected areas can suffer serious health issues that dramatically effect performance.

Common clinical signs of selenium deficiency are increased susceptibility to disease, infertility, ill-thrift and low growth rates (particularly in younger animals). The most severe results are skeletal and muscle diseases, such as White Muscle Disease, lameness and even death from heart failure.

According to Dr Rick White, Grow livestock agronomist “The first step towards addressing a potential deficiency is knowing the selenium status of your stock. Our team work closely with producers to encourage a proactive approach, which involves collecting blood samples from the herd for accurate diagnosis and, if indicated, treatment with Selovin LA,”

“We need to ensure cattle and sheep breeders are at their healthiest and production is maximised through supplementation with a long-acting product such as Selovin LA, which gives producers safe and long-term management of selenium deficiency.”

Research has shown that offspring from deficient animals are born deficient, and that offspring from supplemented animals are not deficient, so supplementing breeders not only improves their production potential, but also prevents deficiency in the young animals.1

Supplementing selenium in deficient herds has also been shown to vastly improve production output and better use of farm inputs. With an MLA review of cattle supplementation in deficient areas showing an impressive benefit:cost ratio of between 3:1 and 18:1, depending on the trial site.2 So, ultimately, it’s not just about the science, understanding and managing essential selenium levels is also common sense and just plain good business.

Selovin LA teats and prevents selenium deficiency in cattle for up to 12 months and in sheep for up to 18 months. Selovin LA provides cost effective management of selenium deficiency for livestock, in a convenient and safe form due to the slow release of selenium following administration. Importantly there are no withhold periods for the product.

Don’t let selenium deficiency limit the potential of your livestock. To find out more about Selovin LA or selenium deficiency visit or enquire at your local Elders store.


1  (N. D. Grace, S. O. Knowles, and D. M. West, “Dose-response effects of long-acting injectable vitamin B12 plus selenium (Se) on the vitamin B12 and Se status of ewes and their lambs,” New Zealand Veterinary Journal, vol. 54, no. 2, pp. 67–72, 2006)
2  (Managing production risk on high input farms, Optimising key animal health issues November 2011 Meat & Livestock Australia Limited)