Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Senior Biosecurity Advisor Will Halliday says grazing management starts with keeping a close eye on local spore counts and being prepared to take action when these counts begin to rise.
He says most farmers know which are their high-risk paddocks, but if they are unsure, they might want to carry out spore counts on suspect paddocks.
One option for high-risk paddocks is to sow pastures or forages that are considered lower risk than traditional ryegrass because of their structure. These include tall fescue, chicory, plantain and brassica crops.
If pasture renewal is difficult, Will recommends farmers keep a close eye on residue pasture covers and moving animals frequently to avoid hard grazing.
“The majority of spores that cause Facial Eczema live in the bottom 5cm of the sward, so preventing animals grazing down to this level will help reduce the risk of stock ingesting these spores.”
While there are fungicides on the market that can be sprayed onto pasture to reduce the spore loading, Will recommends farmers investigate the suitability of these for their operation before investing in them.
For more information about using pasture species and management to reduce the risk of Facial Eczema go to: https://beeflambnz.com/knowledge-hub/PDF/facial-eczema-pasture-species