Stay­ing pre­pared for fa­cial eczema

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY -

Re­cent record rain in Waikato has an added at­trac­tion for farm­ers.

Be­sides boost­ing pro­duc­tion and break­ing the re­gion’s run of droughts, it is also keep­ing fa­cial eczema at bay, at least for now.

But farm­ers should take a pre­ven­tive ap­proach and add zinc to their pro­gramme now, vets and farm lead­ers said. Farm­ers are usu­ally on guard at this time of year, ready to bat­tle the dreaded dis­ease in which fa­cial eczema spores af­fect cat­tle liv­ers, and an­i­mal health and pro­duc­tion.

‘‘Al­though we have the right cli­matic con­di­tions for fa­cial eczema in terms of mois­ture and hu­mid­ity, the amount of rain we have had has washed any spores down into the soil,’’ said vet Ke­van Ste­wart, branch man­ager of Vet Fo­cus in Pu­taruru.

‘‘Usu­ally at this time of year, cat­tle would be graz­ing down to the lower level of pas­ture and would be forced to pick up some spores. But be­cause there’s so much grass around at the mo­ment, cows are not eat­ing down to that low level.’’

Mr Ste­wart said his prac­tice had looked at only a cou­ple of cases of fa­cial eczema and spores had not been iden­ti­fied yet.

But con­di­tions could change when it stopped rain­ing and farm­ers were urged to keep watch­ing.

‘‘We would en­cour­age farm­ers to start pre­ven­tive zinc pro­ce­dures now, be­fore the risk is there,’’ Mr Ste­wart said.

Over the last five years in Waikato, the risk pe­riod for fa­cial eczema had run from Jan­uary un­til the end of April.

Fed­er­ated Farm­ers Waikato pres­i­dent James Houghton said farm­ers should keep a care­ful weather eye on risk fac­tors.

‘‘The heavy rain we have been hav­ing washes the spores right down.

‘‘But things can change very quickly; within a week. Show­ery weather isn’t good for fa­cial eczema.

‘‘Farm­ers on eczemaprone land should be think­ing now about how they can man­age it and start­ing treat­ment,’’ Mr Houghton said.

ECZEMA WATCH: Fed­er­ated Farm­ers Waikato pres­i­dent James Houghton said farm­ers should keep a care­ful weather eye on risk fac­tors.

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