May 12, 2009

Facial Eczema (FE). Farmer Information. Part 3. (Dairy Cattle). Management.

Agriculture, farming, animal husbandry, animal heath, disease, Facial Eczema, Dairy cattle, management, advice, recommendations

By Dr Clive Dalton

Original 1991 information written by Dr Barry Smith and Dr Neale Towers, Ruakura Agricultural Research Station, Hamilton, New Zealand.
3. (Dairy Cattle). Management.
  • Make early preparations - in December or early January.
  •  Learn about spore counting - contact your veterinarian.
  • Find out which are your worst paddocks (by spore counting) and avoid grazing them during danger periods.
  • Never make stock graze into the base level of pastures. The fungus grows on the litter at the base of the pasture and the spores are concentrated there.
  • Choose a prevention option from one of the following three:
  •  (1). Spray pasture with fungicide. Check that spray unit is properly calibrated and purchase fungicide early.
  • (2). Use a suitable zinc prevention method. If you have a suitable water reticulation system, add zinc sulphate. Otherwise dose with zinc oxide or spray zinc oxide on to pasture.
  • (3). Provide supplementary feed (crops, fodder, hay or silage). Use to reduce grazing pressure on toxic pasture.
  • Have a concentrated calving and calve early so that you have at least 80% of annual production in the six months to the end of January.
  • Get rid of all surplus stock early before spore counts become high. This allows you to reduce grazing pressure for remaining stock. If things get worse dry off the herd.  This will immediately cut pressure on feed by half. It will also cut your income so it's an important decision.
  • If replacement heifers are grazed off the farm make sure that the manager is taking adequate measures to protect them against FE.
  • Care for affected stock by one of the following options:
  • (1). Dry off milking cows.
  • (2). Confine in shaded area, barn etc.
  •  (3).Treat infected skin lesions.
  • (4). Provide access to water and quality feed. Cattle with clinical FE will prefer to graze at night or in overcast conditions.
This material is provided in good faith for information purposes only, and the authors do not accept any liability to any person for actions taken as a result of the information or advice (or the use of such information or advice) provided in these pages.

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