Thursday, 17 December 2015

Don't get burnt by facial eczema this summer


Facial eczema is a very serious disease that costs NZ farmers millions of dollars each year.

During warm, moist weather, toxic Pithomyces chartarum fungus spores are produced in soft litter at the base of pasture. These spores cause liver damage when eaten, which affects production, reproductive performance, and long term survivability.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that because only one or two animals are showing outward signs, the rest of your animals are safe. The reality is that they are only the tip of the iceberg - many animals with no obvious symptoms will still have significant liver damage.  

Prevention is the only way to minimise the impacts of this terrible disease.

For many years, zinc has been the mainstay in preventing facial eczema. However, to be effective the dosage needs to be high - reaching near-toxic levels. This will reduce water intake and appetite, leading to weight and production losses.

Fungicide treatment of pasture with Sporeguard® is cost-effective, and animal-safe. Sporeguard controls the Pithomyces chartarum fungus, preventing the production of toxic spores, and avoids the harmful effects of high doses of zinc. In trials, a single application of Sporeguard (in conjunction with Sporewet) has been proven to control the spore-producing fungus for up to 40 days.

Here are three things to consider.

  • By controlling the production of toxic spores, you remove the need to use high doses of zinc.
  • It’s critical that your first application is before pasture spore counts rise above 10,000 spores/gram, which can be as early as January.
  • Quality of application is critical to success - even coverage of your pasture (including litter layer) is required to be successful.

Sporeguard product details

Talk to your Agri Manager, or call our Customer Centre on 0800 100 123 for advice specific to your farming operation.