Selenium and Vitamin E are essential in sheep diets on Kangaroo Island, and work together to prevent and repair cell damage in the body. Deficiencies of either or both Selenium and Vitamin E can cause weaner illthrift, reduced wool production, reduced ewe fertility, reduced immune response and white muscle disease. Kangaroo Island soils are naturally deficient in Selenium whilst Vitamin E deficiency occurs mostly in weaner sheep grazing dry pastures.
Selenium is not essential for pasture growth but is taken from the soil by plants. Sheep consume selenium with the plants they eat. Vitamin E is predominantly found in green feed. Both selenium and Vitamin E are stored for a short period in the body, mainly in the liver, so a continual dietary supply of these nutrients ensures the best possible production.