How to Manage Facial Eczema Risk This Season With Best Results
Updated: Feb 9
The facial eczema season is here again. The articles below from DairyNZ represent the industry recommendations for FE control. These articles contain practical steps for managing the FE challenge and include dose rates of zinc. Where recommendations have changed in the last few years is when zinc supplementation is indicated go straight to a full dose of zinc. Research information suggests there is little value in “priming” with a half rate. As many farmers found during the severe eczema season several years ago, relying entirely on zinc may not offer the complete protection expected. Additionally, the rate of zinc use, even if half rates are used, will be detrimental to animal health and performance e.g. promotion of copper deficiency, reduction of feed intakes and interference with calcium nutrition. Therefore, taking steps to reduce the requirement for zinc and the length of time zinc is used is recommended.
Pasture sprays are useful but need to be monitored for effectiveness. And as FE is essentially a rye grass problem, eliminating or substantially reducing rye grass in the sward will reduce the FE risk. Cropping and substituting rye grass for fescue when re-grassing can be considered. Incorporating FE risk into planning of summer dry feeding strategies is recommended. 5th Business Agri fully supports the Dairy NZ recommendations to monitor the FE risk on your own farms. Regional spore counts are merely indicators of the trends in FE risk. Additionally, recommendations to blood sample to check if the zinc dosing programme is effective is also supported.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. When should I start doing my own spore counts?
The attached DairyNZ FE Management Guide explains this really well. As a general rule when regional spore counts start reaching 20,000 it's time to gather a picture of your own farm. Collecting samples from four paddocks representative of the farm is the best way to understand spore count trends. Ideally spore count in paddocks the cows will graze in the next 24-48 hours. 2. When should I start zinc treatment? And do I need to build up gradually? DairyNZ guidelines recommend a priming dose which should be half the full dose every day, 3-4 wks before regional spore counts start to rise. This advice is now no longer considered necessary. Use a full dose once spore counts on your farm reach over 30 000. 3. Should I continue supplementing with my 5th Business Agri Prescription Trace Element Blend while treating with Zinc? We recommend you continue to use your Trace Element blend until spore counts rise over 50,000. Over 50,000 dosing with the trace element blend can be discontinued. Please contact us should you wish to continue with trace element support for your stock. 4. When should I start my 5th Business Agri Prescription Trace Element Blend again? Once spore counts begin to trend down to 50 000 you can re-introduce the trace element blend, even if you are still on the full zinc dose. 4. Can I put my 5th Business Agri Prescription Trace Element Blend and zinc in the PETA Dispenser together? Absolutely, the zinc and trace element blend can be put in the same dispenser.