News & Advice

Facial Eczema season – what should you do next?

Jan 26, 2023 | Dairy, Dry stock, Facial eczema, Facial Eczema, Sheep

Anexa Vet’s checklist for managing facial eczema prevention this year:


• Be informed

For an overview, advice and handy resources regarding facial eczema prevention, visit our facial eczema prevention web page. Here, you will find information regarding everything from zinc dosages, to an instruction sheet on how to take a pasture sample, to advice from our vets via podcast or news articles. This page is definitely worth a look.

Anexa also sends a weekly email of the spore count results and risk. This is a great tool to indicate what is happening in your area. You can sign up to receive the weekly email here or check the map as needed here.


• Know your facial eczema risk level; spore counting

The best way to monitor your farm’s facial eczema risk is to check your property’s spore counts. Choose four paddocks representative of the farm (e.g. flat/hill, east/west, north/south, new/old pasture) and take grass samples (you will need about one bread bag full of grass to run the test). Store them in a paper bag and bring them straight into your local Anexa clinic for testing. When spore counts on these paddocks reach 20,000 – 30,000 spores/g, there is a moderate risk of facial eczema. If you have any questions regarding the facial eczema risk on your farm, please speak to your Anexa vet.


• Have a facial Eczema prevention plan

To protect against facial eczema, zinc supplementation must be optimal but not so high it causes toxicity. Work with your vet to create a plan that best suits the animals you are wanting to protect.


• Source the Zinc products that suit your animal’s needs

Get in touch with one of our Technical Sales Reps or pop into your local clinic – we provide a full range of zinc products and offer free delivery to farm.


• Zinc bolusing can be a big job – get our techs to help

If you wish to zinc bolus your animals, remember Anexa technicians can be booked to do this job for you. Click here to request a booking.


• Beware of these common mistakes

Zinc administered via meal

Remember: If you are providing zinc by adding it to supplemental feed (e.g. in-shed feed), the amount of zinc added will be calculated based on an assumed daily intake (kg/hd/day of meal). Therefore, if you adjust your feeding of meal, the zinc dosage per kg of meal will have to be adjusted to account for this.  Of course, not all animals consume meal equally in most in-shed feeding systems (e.g. heifers not eating as much as older cows) so please talk to your vet about the things you can do to make sure 100% of your herd receives the protective dose of zinc when needed.


Zinc administered via water

If Zinc is administered through water, double-check that dose rates have been calculated correctly and create a process on-farm to ensure the correct amount is administered throughout the season.


• Test to ensure zinc levels are protective

Anexa vets recommend testing zinc levels in the herd to check if they are fully protected. This can be done by taking blood samples or through bulk milk testing (ZincCheck) if you are a Fonterra supplier. We recommend testing zinc levels two weeks after you start full zinc supplementation. We will interpret these results to assess whether your supplementation programme needs any changes to ensure your animals get the best protection.


• Continue to monitor

Spore counts

Continue to monitor weekly spore counts to identify the current risk for your area, and determine when zinc supplementation should begin. If you are aware of another farmer who would benefit from these emails, please encourage them to sign up here. 



Monitor your animals and check for signs of facial eczema frequently. This is particularly important for animals that you may not see on a regular basis. e.g. youngstock down the back of the farm or at the runoff


If you have any questions, please contact your Anexa vet today.


Anexa resources you may find helpful:

Facial Eczema Prevention Services

Facial Eczema 101

Myth Busters – Facial Eczema



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