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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 21 No. 3, p. 353-358
    Received: May 28, 1991

    * Corresponding author(s):
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Selenium and Sulfur Relationships in Alfalfa and Soil under Field Conditions, San Joaquin Valley, California

  1. R. C. Severson * and
  2. L. P. Gough
  1. U.S. Geological Survey, Box 25046 MS 973, Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225.



Relationships between total Se and S or soluble SeO4 and SO4 in soils and tissue concentrations in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), under field conditions in the San Joaquin Valley of California, suggest that the rate of accumulation of Se in alfalfa may be reduced in areas where high Se and S concentrations in soils were measured. These data suggest that the balance between carbonate and sulfate minerals in soil may have a greater influence on uptake of Se by alfalfa than does the balance of SeO4 and SO4 in soil solution. Soil and alfalfa were sampled from areas representing a wide range in soil Se and S concentrations. Specific sampling locations were selected based on a previous study of Se, S, and other elements where 721 soil samples were collected to map landscape variability and distribution of elements. Six multiple-linear regression equations were developed between total and/or soluble soil chemical constituents and tissue concentrations of Se in alfalfa. We chose a regression model that accounted for 72% of the variability in alfalfa Se concentrations based on an association of elements in soil (total C, S, Se, and Sr) determined by factor analysis. To prepare a map showing the spatial distribution of estimated alfalfa Se concentrations, the model was applied to the data from the previously collected 721 soil samples. Estimated alfalfa Se concentrations in most of the study area were within a range that is predicted to produce alfalfa with neither Se deficiency nor toxicity when consumed by livestock. A few small areas are predicted to produce alfalfa that potentially would not meet minimum dietary needs of livestock.

Contribution from the U.S. Geological Survey. Any use of trade names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Geological Survey.

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