Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



For many years livestock in some areas have been subject to a certain sickness. The external symptoms are a rough hair coat, loss of hair from the mane and tail of horses, loss of hair from the tail of cattle, and sore feet. In some extreme cases, an animal’s hooves have been known to drop off. This sickness has been called “Alkali Disease”, because it was believed to be caused by alkali or mineral salts in the soil or water. Later, it became known that forages and grain crops grown in those areas caused this sickness, when fed to animals. The presence of toxic amounts of selenium in the forage or grain has been determined to be the direct cause of this sickness. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the effects of applications of sea salt and various other chemical salts to the soil on selenium uptake and yields of grain and straw of Rushmore wheat. This is one of several studies concerned with the prevention of selenium poisoning by restricting selenium uptake by plants. This author and others are searching for material which can be practically applied to the soil and which will prevent or inhibit selenium uptake in the plants to such an extent as to render the forages and grains non-toxic. This work was conducted over a period of almost two years. The work includes two phases: field experiments on naturally seleniferous Pierre clay soil at Reeds Ranch, Presho, South Dakota, and greenhouse experiments on naturally seleniferous Pierre clay soil and artificially selenized Barnes loam soil. The chemical analyses for selenium were made in the selenium laboratory at Station Biochemistry, South Dakota State College.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Soils -- Selenium content


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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