Farmers warned of FE risk

Risk remains low but farmers urged to keep tabs on it.

Risk remains low but farmers urged to keep tabs on it.

THE facial eczema (FE) risk remains low in the Gisborne-East Coast district with spore count levels well below the action threshold at this early stage; however, farmers have been urged to keep close tabs on it.

FE affects most ruminants but especially cattle and sheep throughout most North Island regions, plus the northern end of the South Island.

“FE is responsible for serious production losses estimated to be around $200m annually with affected stock suffering liver and skin damage,” said an AsureQuality spokesman.

“Those effects contribute to ill-thrift, reduced fertility, reduced milk and meat production and, if left unprotected, in worst cases death.”

During summer and autumn months, warm, humid conditions together with dead litter in pasture support the growth of a fungus (Pithomyces chartarum) in pasture.

The facial eczema situation in parts of Tairawhiti was serious last year in late summer and autumn.

While latest spore count reports in this district show well below the action threshold, reports for parts of Hawke’s Bay are well above it already.

“With careful planning and implementing a sound FE management plan, farmers can take control of the risk of facial eczema,” the spokesman said. “Prevention is the only recognised method of avoiding FE.

“Ensure all staff are aware of the associated risks and dangers of it but ensure the plan is implemented when spore counts are rising but before clinical signs are identified.

“It is essential to start FE control early.

“Ideally, start prevention with zinc treatment and fungicidal sprays, two or three weeks before the spore growth danger period for maximum protection.”

THE facial eczema (FE) risk remains low in the Gisborne-East Coast district with spore count levels well below the action threshold at this early stage; however, farmers have been urged to keep close tabs on it.

FE affects most ruminants but especially cattle and sheep throughout most North Island regions, plus the northern end of the South Island.

“FE is responsible for serious production losses estimated to be around $200m annually with affected stock suffering liver and skin damage,” said an AsureQuality spokesman.

“Those effects contribute to ill-thrift, reduced fertility, reduced milk and meat production and, if left unprotected, in worst cases death.”

During summer and autumn months, warm, humid conditions together with dead litter in pasture support the growth of a fungus (Pithomyces chartarum) in pasture.

The facial eczema situation in parts of Tairawhiti was serious last year in late summer and autumn.

While latest spore count reports in this district show well below the action threshold, reports for parts of Hawke’s Bay are well above it already.

“With careful planning and implementing a sound FE management plan, farmers can take control of the risk of facial eczema,” the spokesman said. “Prevention is the only recognised method of avoiding FE.

“Ensure all staff are aware of the associated risks and dangers of it but ensure the plan is implemented when spore counts are rising but before clinical signs are identified.

“It is essential to start FE control early.

“Ideally, start prevention with zinc treatment and fungicidal sprays, two or three weeks before the spore growth danger period for maximum protection.”

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