Boost for facial eczema control

The government is helping farmers eliminate the significant impact of facial eczema (FE) in pastoral animals, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay announced last week.

"A $20 million partnership jointly funded by Beef + Lamb NZ, the government and the primary sector will save farmers an estimated $332 million per year, and aims to reduce their reliance on zinc dosing as a preventative measure," Mr McClay said.

"The coalition government backs the New Zealand pastoral sector and is committed to ensuring they remain world best. This project is about making sure the sector is productive, efficient and successful.

"The programme will support multiple approaches, building on research, and bringing together many of the country’s top researchers.

"FE can reduce growth rates, fertility and production in livestock while significantly impacting animal health."

At present there is no cure for FE, with limited management tools available.

"Prevention solutions such as early detection, mitigation and management options are key to the programme. Decision support tools will also be collaboratively developed with farmers and rural professionals.

"These solutions will be complemented by the FE breeding value for dairy cows recently announced by the Livestock Improvement Corporation."