Toxic spores warn­ing

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY -

Fa­cial eczema spore counts are at high lev­els over most of the North Is­land.

AsureQual­ity is warn­ing farm­ers that the risk of fa­cial eczema is high in many North Is­land re­gions af­ter the long drought and re­cent rain which has fallen on very warm soils.

The most re­cent re­port from Grib­bles Vet­eri­nary Lab­o­ra­tory showed counts are at ex­tremely high lev­els in many districts.

AsureQual­ity fa­cial eczema mon­i­tor­ing co­or­di­na­tor Leo Cooney said the fun­gus Pithomyces char­tarum (that pro­duces the toxic spores), thrives on drought des­ic­cated pas­tures where the sur­face soil tem­per­a­tures re­main warm af­ter soak­ing rain.

‘‘This re­sults in the des­ic­cated lit­ter at the base of the pas­tures de­cay­ing rapidly and pro­vid­ing an ideal medium for the fungi to use as a nutrient, and in turn pro­duce its very toxic spores.’’

Al­though night and morn­ing tem­per­a­tures may feel cooler, it takes a lot to cool the earth’s soil temps at this time of the year.

In Horowhenua last week soil temps ranged be­tween 19.3 and 21.5 de­grees Cel­sius – per­fect grow­ing con­di­tions for the spores.

Farm­ers need to re­main vig­i­lant and main­tain pre­cau­tions un­til fa­cial eczema spore counts and soil tem­per­a­tures drop.

Our worst fa­cial eczema out­breaks have fol­lowed pro­longed droughts, when sus­cep­ti­ble live­stock are graz­ing very short pas­tures.

For the lat­est fa­cial eczema spore re­sults visit: asurequal­ity. com/ fa­cialeczema-re­ports.cfm.

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