A New Year’s resolution for 2021: Keep your herd and youngstock FE-free

A New Year’s resolution for 2021: Keep your herd and youngstock FE-free
By Julia Baynes, Veterinarian, Anexa Vets Morrinsville

As we see out the last few weeks of 2020, we’re all hoping that this pattern of spring weather continues: the right blend of warmth and moisture to keep the grass growing. However, it’s exactly these conditions that create a challenging facial eczema (FE) season.

The fungal spores that cause facial eczema can produce another generation of spores within 48 hours in the right conditions: warm nights and moderate levels of moisture in the pasture. These toxic spores build up quickly at the base of the sward where they are readily consumed by grazing livestock.

Every season has different patterns of warmth and moisture; however, spores are always present on pasture, and given how quickly conditions can change, no season is free from facial eczema. Last season was a good example: spore counts remained low to moderate for most of the risk period, however we saw several farms with facial eczema cases late in the season, due to chronic exposure to spores combined with stopping protective zinc supplementation too early.

None of us can accurately predict what 2021 will bring – that’s why it’s important to take all due precautions and set a goal to keep your herd and youngstock FE-free.

To achieve this goal, there are a few important decisions to make:
  • Zinc supplementation – which method? Will you supplement with multiple methods? Speak to your vet for advice, particularly on dose rates and the most effective method for each age group.
  • Zinc products – have you placed your order? You should be ready to start supplementing in early January. Which means your zinc products should be ordered before Christmas.
  • Stock at grazing – have you got zinc supplementation in place for your stock at grazing? Don’t forget this critical part of the plan. What supplementation method is effective and practical?
  • Spore counting – would you like to get spore counts for your farm? We offer a spore counting service – speak to your clinic for more details.
Let’s work together to keep your herd and youngstock FE-free in 2021.

Date Added: Tuesday, 1st December 2020