Ahead of the facial eczema risk season, farm nutrition company Altum is releasing an animal treatment licensed under the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act called Zincmax+, which has the additional benefits of containing organic copper providing superior absorption and has a peppermint flavour which improves palatability.
Dairy cows are typically treated for facial eczema by dosing water troughs with zinc sulphate which tastes bitter and can also significantly affect an animal’s copper reserves.
Altum Animal Nutrition Manager Jackie Aveling says the traditional zinc sulphate treatment could potentially lead to production losses as cows are discouraged from drinking the treated water. Lower water uptake not only impacts on milk production, but also means that the stock potentially do not get sufficient zinc to treat the facial eczema.
“Zinc treatment can also have a negative impact on young stock, impacting on their copper reserves, which are a key requirement for healthy growth.”
Mrs Aveling says that facial eczema eats into the profits of the dairy industry.
“Just a few cows showing signs of facial eczema could mean a large proportion of the herd are actually affected with subclinical cases. Not only can milk production in these cows be depressed by up to half, but slow wasting or sudden death may also occur in cows that have shown no prior symptoms when they are put under stress, often after calving.”
With warmer than average soil temperatures and high humidity expected heading into the summer months this year, farmers are being warned to manage the risks of facial eczema early, especially in dairy herds.
Mrs Aveling says it is important for farmers to monitor spore count levels in their area through summer and into autumn to be fully aware of the facial eczema risks for their stock.
“However, we encourage farmers to have a plan in place, and to commence early treatment at the start of the season before spore counts become high.”
Zincmax+ is part of the Altum OptiMAX range of regionally specific animal nutrition products designed to work in harmony with a complete nutrition programme by filling the micro-nutrient gaps.