Article Text

Effects of selenium and copper supplementation on the growth of beef steers
  1. PT Gleed,
  2. WM Allen,
  3. CB Mallinson,
  4. GJ Rowlands,
  5. BF Sansom,
  6. MJ Vagg and
  7. RD Caswell


During the grazing seasons of 1978 and 1979, 126 Hereford cross Friesian and 25 Charolais cross Friesian steers were used in controlled trials of the effects of injecting them with copper and, or, selenium. In both seasons the unsupplemented steers had low blood concentrations of copper, selenium and glutathione peroxidase, whereas the supplemented steers maintained their serum copper concentrations within the normal range and had significantly higher whole blood concentrations of selenium and glutathione peroxidase than the unsupplemented animals. Supplementing the steers with 400 mg copper during 1978 increased their growth rate by 0.032 kg/day and supplementing them with 200 mg copper during 1979 increased it by 0.080 kg/day. Supplementing the steers in each year with two doses of selenium, each of 0.15 mg selenium/kg bodyweight, increased their growth rate by 0.041 kg/day in 1978 and by 0.060 kg/day in 1979. There was no interaction between the selenium and copper treatments and the total increases in liveweight gains due to both supplements were around 11 kg in 1978 and 16 kg in 1979.

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