Facial Eczema Risk Bulletin

Welcome to our Facial Eczema Spore Count Bulletin for 2024 – this article will be updated each week, so please revisit to see what the spore count is in your area.

Facial Eczema Spore counts 16 February 2024










Te Horo








What is a toxic spore level? It is best not to use absolute levels, as stock grazing pasture with spore counts as low as 20,000-40,000 can sustain liver damage. More important considerations are rate of spore count rise, prevailing weather conditions, and grazing intensity at the time. Toxin effects on the liver are cumulative. Play it safe – start prevention as soon as spores are detected.

This week, spore counts have risen for Te Horo, Otaki, Manakau, Waitarere, Moutoa, Ihakara and Shannon.

We are having continual warm soil temperatures making it perfect weather conditions for spores. At this time Levin, Kuku, and Otaki counts are still low. There is time to prepare for these locations.

Please refer to the recommendations below for your method of prevention. We will continue to update you weekly with recommendations based on spore counts.

Every property is different. We recommend spore counting your own property if you are worried. Talk to the tech team if you have any questions about how to collect the sample. Spore counting is $33 (incl GST) per sample, dropping to $26 for multiple samples.


  • Alpacas – begin feeding zinc pellets now for Otaki. All other sites should already be feeding pellets. Alpacas are affected by facial eczema at low counts of 10,000.
  • Bolusing or oral drenching – Those in Te Horo, Manakau, Waitarere, Moutoa and Ihakara should begin now if they haven’t already. For other sites, wait until counts are around 20,000.
  • Water dosing (cattle) – Start with quarter doses now, if you have not already, and look to increase every 5-7 days by a quarter. Te Horo, Moutoa, Manakau, Waitarere and Ihakara should be on full doses now. All other sites should be on half doses until spore count rise. Avoid increasing the amount on very hot days.
  • Pasture spraying – This needs to be carried out early, before the counts rise. It is best to bring in some grass to see what your counts are doing on your farm. The spray will slow the development of the fungus but must be done before the counts reach 20,000. Pasture needs to be green and growing. Pasture will be safe for 4-6 weeks after.
  • Feeding a crop – Crops are generally lower in spore counts. If you have a crop, then saving until counts are a bit higher may be helpful
  • Breeding – Facial eczema tolerance can be selected for using rams or bulls. These tolerant animals can then leave progeny with some tolerance to facial eczema. This is a long-term plan.

Click here for further advice on facial eczema prevention.

If you have any questions pop into clinic or give us a call on 06 368 2891 (Extension 1 for the farm team)