Stop the growth of the fungus Pithomyces chartarum, the cause of facial eczema.

Detecting the Risk of Infection
The fungus is always present in pasture, however it is not always at toxic levels. The combination of pasture and weather conditions, 12°C minimum grass temperature over a few nights and 4-6 mm of light rain sets an ideal stage for the fungal spores to multiply. Freshly produced spores contain more toxin than older spores. Spore counting prior to, or at the start of this time, gives a clear indication of spore build up and the best way to counter infection.
Like all fungus and insect problems, the most effective time to get control is at the first sign of the problem i.e. low spore count. Leaving the problem until it is on the rise is a seriously high-risk strategy with potentially damaging outcomes.

History of Infection
If you farm in a situation where frequency or prior history has demonstrated problems with facial eczema then the best approach should be timing of application.
If your property has a history and conditions are favourable, spray before the spore count rises.

Facial Eczema Control
Facial Eczema occurs when the fungus Pithomyces chartarum is able to multiply rapidly due to moist warm conditions. This normally occurs at a time of the year when stock are grazing near the base of pasture in summer and early autumn. The young spores of the fungus contain a toxin that once absorbed into the animal’s bloodstream it inflames the animal’s liver making it unable to excrete and process waste.

The inability of the liver to process waste means that a breakdown product of chlorophyll accumulates in tissues and results in the animal developing a sensitivity to light. Exposure to sunlight causes swelling and sores on the skin where lesions and scabs appear.

Milk production is immediately affected after grazing toxic pasture. Other production, animal welfare and health problems will be encountered in affected animals.

Apply X-spore once levels reach 20,000 †25,000 spores per gram of pasture.
Spraying the whole farm with X-spore is recommended to reduce error in deciding when to graze sprayed pasture. Where this is not possible treat enough pastures for 14 – 30 days grazing. Pasture sprayed with X-spore should preferably be left for 7 days before grazing with stock. In an emergency situation some worthwhile protection may be obtained by grazing 24 hours after treatment.
Where a total of 100 -150mm of rain falls after treatment a reduction in the period of protection may occur. Should greater than 25 mm downpour of rainfall occur within 72 hours of application re-treatment may be necessary.

Click here fore more information on X-Spore
Source: Bell Booth
JCL will be using Bell Booth †“X-spore” for facial eczema application in the summer 2017 season.