Spore Counting Monitoring Service

Spore Count Monitoring Farm Results

This map, along with advice on potential risk of facial eczema is updated weekly from mid-January. To receive notifications directly into your inbox sign up to our emailing list and never miss an update.

Facial Eczema Watch – Spore Count Monitor Map and Update

22nd February 2024

We’re heading into prime facial eczema season. Despite the cooler mornings we have had, both the warmth during the day and a good amount of moisture with these small showers across the Waikato. Now is the time to make sure your stock are covered and consider doing zinc checks. Remembering zinc treatment via water supplementation rarely achieves protective levels in drystock, as they do not drink enough water to obtain effective doses of zinc compared to dairy cows. This includes calves, and now is the time we are seeing cases sneak through in these stock classes where water alone is being used, or they weren’t bolused soon enough. Listen to this Facial Eczema — Myth Busters podcast for more information on why this is so important.

Jamie Smith, Veterinarian


For weekly updates and what to do next to prevent facial eczema, sign up to our weekly spore count emails here

Facial Eczema Action Plan

We encourage you to take the following steps to prepare for the facial eczema season (January – May):

  • Seek advice from your vet or technical sales representative on the different zinc products available, pros and cons of each product and recommended dosing levels.
  • Submit your own pasture samples to know your farm’s true risk level (spore counting is available at your local Anexa vet clinic). Spores are produced by the facial eczema fungus when soil temperatures are above 12°C and humidity is high for at least 2 days. 
  • Check that your plan is working (best done 2-3 weeks after full zinc rates have been applied through your system). If you a Fonterra client you can sign up to the bulk milk ZincCheck for an initial guide. Talk with your vet about collecting blood-zinc samples.

If you have any questions or concerns, have a chat with your vet or check out our facial eczema prevention resource page

Interpreting the map

We provide our spore count information visually on the map, with a traffic light colour coding system to inform you whether your area is at low (green), medium (yellow), or high (red) risk of facial eczema. This is because an individual spore count number does not give you the whole picture. While individual high spore counts will change the risk profile of an area, long-term exposure to medium spore count levels also put grazing animals at high risk of facial eczema. Therefore, our approach is to look at individual counts and trends on each of our monitor farms, and give you the best risk assessment of that area.

Please note: Map markers are indicative only, they are placed at the approximate site of where the pasture sample was taken. The monitor farms provide an indication of the conditions and facial eczema risk in your area. It is important to note that spore counts can vary greatly between farms and even paddocks on the same farm. If you are concerned we recommend submitting your own pasture samples.


How to find the spore count for your area using the map

  1. Locate the marker closest to your farm on the map
  2. Click the marker
  3. A window listing the spore count and the associated risk for your area will display.
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