News & Advice

Facial Eczema (FE) season is upon us there’s been a slow start to spore counts this year, but with the recent rain we are likely to see levels increasing. Prevention is definitely better than cure with FE, so monitoring the situation on your farm is vital, as is the use of Zinc.

Animals visibly suffering from Facial Eczema (FE) are just the tip of the iceberg. If you have even one animal showing skin signs (clinical symptoms), there will be a significant proportion of your herd which are sub-clinically affected.

How to control it?

There are various methods to help protect against FE:

Pasture spraying: fungicides are only effective if applied before spore counts rise above 20,000 and need to be applied to green growing grass.

Zinc Sulphate in the water: Can be very inaccurate as depends on individual animal’s water intake. Troughs also need to be primed with Zinc a month before the challenge as it takes animals’ time to get used to the taste.

Drenching with Zinc oxide: Must be done weekly and is often under-dosed or over-dosed.

Zinc bolus: Reliable but needs to be done two weeks before the danger period and the interval between the first and second bolus should not be prolonged.

Breeding for resistance (sheep).

Do NOT supplement with Copper over the FE season, as this can reduce the efficacy of the Zinc preventing FE.
If you are unsure of the levels of Zinc being taken up by your cattle or sheep, we can do a blood test to ensure they are getting therapeutic (protective) levels needed.

For specific advice about prevention on your farm, catch up with your local Anexa Vet, we’re here to help.

Collecting pasture samples

Anexa FVC have started their spore count monitoring service in early January, so you can follow how spore counts are trending in your region. Contact your local clinic to add yourself to our text service or subscribe to our weekly email newsletter here: click the drop down menu, select “spore counts” then enter your details.

If you would like to test a paddock on your farm, you can collect a pasture sample and bring it into your local Anexa FVC clinic to have it tested for a small charge. To do this, use scissors to cut a handful of pasture at 1 cm above the ground level. Repeat 10 times from random areas at least 10 metres apart. Avoid sheltered areas and contamination with soil and roots. If you sample the site regularly, always follow the same route across it.

We require 100 grams of grass sample to run the test. This is roughly a bread bag full of grass. It needs to be processed the same day as it is cut, but it will keep overnight in the fridge if you obtain the sample in the evening and can get it to us by the following morning.

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