24 Apr 2012

Facial eczema risk lowest for decade

8:56 am on 24 April 2012

The risk of sheep and cattle developing facial eczema this year is at its lowest level in a decade.

The fungal disease mainly affects North Island farms in late summer and early autumn, as spores multiply in the base of dried out pasture and are ingested by livestock.

Infected animals suffer liver and skin damage that costs farmers millions of dollars a year in lost production and treatment of stock.

Leo Cooney of AsureQuality, which monitors the facial eczema risk, says cool, wet weather has kept spore numbers low this year.

He says that combined with excellent grass growth over the past few months, has been positive for the overall health of livestock.