Facial Eczema Risk Monitor

Facial Eczema Risk Monitor

Vet Services weekly summary of spore counts monitoring the facial eczema risk to stock across the region 

Click the image below or follow this link to view map 

11 April 2024

Wide variation in spore counts this week and some concerning levels. 

Counts over 60,000 can cause damage if ongoing exposure and monitoring paddocks is a good idea to see where your farm is at. Hopefully some rain arrives over the weekend and drops counts again but if we continue to have settled weather may need to make a plan for the next few weeks.


19 March 2024

Cool nights and wet weather has been keeping spore counts on the low side but as you can see they are starting to creep up.

We want to remind farmers that prevention is by far the best option. Treating rams and ewes with zinc capsules to protect them in case spore counts rise during the mating period, will help prevent a poor scanning performance.

Please keep an eye on our website for the latest results and to find the link to our monitor map.



01 March 2024

Spore counts this week have been variable, ranging from zero to 55,000 at Mangatarata.

Remember that spore counts of 40,000 and above are considered dangerous but there can be considerable variation between farms and even paddocks.  If warm, wet weather continues we can expect that spore counts will continue to rise.  It may be time to consider a zinc bolus to avoid any issues mid tupping. 

Make sure you review options for managing facial eczema and contact us if you have any questions.



Some mild counts this week but should still be low risk at this stage. With some cooler nights this week and a bit more rain around spores won’t have had a lot of growth this week however there is still risk with the large amount of dry matter around.

Continue to monitor the trend in the next few weeks and give the clinic a call if you have specific concerns. 



We are getting back into the swing of monitoring spore counts, we’d like to thank our monitor farms for making the effort to bring in samples this week.

The facial eczema spore count this week have been on the lower side. Some slight risk in Maraekakaho and low risk for Patoka. The average for the region is 5000. This week’s hot spot was in Patoka at 25000.

The wet weather does not seem to be letting up yet, but night time temperatures are warm enough for spores to grow and farmers should assess their risk individually and prepare preventative measures accordingly.

Please feel free to drop pasture samples off at the clinic if you are concerned, it is $28.90 per sample and the average turnaround time for results is 1-3 days.



Very low spore counts this week after thunderstorms
washing those spores lower into the sward. Worth watching over the next few weeks to see if warm weather causes lots of growth. Continue to monitor any paddocks of concern.



First week of samples for 2024 are all looking on the low side. Depending where in the district some may have got some heavy thunderstorms this week washing those spores lower into the sward, but watch for the next few weeks if these warm nights continue. If you are concerned about any paddocks consider testing prior to grazing and contact the clinic to make a preventative plan if necessary.

It's estimated facial eczema costs the industry around $200m annually

with animals suffering from liver and skin damage which contributes to ill-thrift, reduced fertifility, and reduced milk and meat production.

Prevention with careful planning and implementing a good management plan is the only method to avoid Facial Eczema (FE). 

We need to be using zinc treatment 2-3 weeks before the spore growth is in the danger zone for maximum protection. 

Being pro-active is key – start spore counting early! 

Zinc Bolus Service

For large mobs we have a conveyor available for zinc bolus, drench, vaccination and dip application.

For smaller numbers (>100) our technicians or a vet will come on site to administer the product.

Collecting a pasture sample 

                  • Cut a handful of pasture 1cm above the ground. Sample at least 5 different places in the paddock, with each sample site ideally more than 10m apart. Collection from several sites allows for any variation in the paddock.

                  • If there are slopes/hills within the paddock ensure samples are taken from the slopes as well as the flats.

                  • Try not to include soil in the sample. Avoid parts of the paddock sheltered by hedges or trees.

                  • We need roughly a bread bag full of grass to run the test. It is best to bring the pasture sample in on the same day as collection, however if this is not possible it will keep in the fridge overnight.

Facial Eczema Risk Monitor 2023

No results over 15,000 across the region this week (17-23 April). 

Facial Eczema Spore count monitoring has now finished for the season. We would like to thank our monitor farms for collecting weekly samples and for their contribution to this data. 

If you have any concerns or would like to continue monitoring the risk in your area please get in touch with your local clinic.

2023 Season Results from Waipukurau Monitor Farms 

2023 Season Results from Hastings Monitor Farms 

Facial Eczema Risk Monitor 2022


Trend graph of 2022 Regional Average Spore Counts compared with last year’s data.

1 April 2022

Spore counts for this part of Hawke’s Bay have increased this week and are on average at a dangerous level of 71 000 spores per gram of pasture. 

With many farmers busy fixing fences and clearing slips after mammoth downpours, the number of samples we have received has again been few and far in between and we recommend bringing in a sample of your own pasture to accurately assess your risk. 

This week’s hotspots included a 110 000 spores per gram of pasture at Ocean Beach and 70 000 along the Napier-Taihape Road. 

25 MArch 2022

Spore counts for monitor farms in this part of Hawke’s Bay have dropped down considerably this week to an average around 26 000 spores per gram of grass, however the data may be somewhat skewed due to a small sample size and very wet conditions. For non-monitor farms, the average spore count was higher at 36 000 spores per gram of grass. This week’s hotspots were in Maraekakaho with 65 000 spores per gram of grass and 100 000 in Waiwhare. Compared to this time last year, counts are now on par and remain above the ‘Take Action’ level.

18 MArch 2022

Spore counts continue to be high with a weekly average of 68,750 for this part of the Hawke’s Bay region. However we are seeing values at either end of the spectrum. We are still seeing a few hot spots this week especially in Eskdale with counts of 275,000spg and 110,000spg and Ocean Beach with counts of 215,000spg. Only one non-monitor farm brought in samples this week, and they were low so this may not be reflective of what is actually happening.


The counts seem to be slowing down which the cooler nights may be helping but continual spore count monitoring is needed and animals of high risk need treatment. 


11 MArch 2022

Spore counts for this week have continued to trend dangerously high for this part of the Hawke’s Bay region. 

On average our monitor farms were at 61 000 spores per gram of grass, while non-monitor farms have declined to an average of 30 000 spores per gram of grass. The range was quite large with a few paddocks at zero, to a staggering 275 000 spores per gram of grass in Eskdale. Other hotspots included a 100 000 at Ocean Beach, 95 000 in Crownthorpe and 85 000 in Patoka. 

Spore counts continue to trend much higher compared this time last year when it was still very dry and dusty and average spore counts were at 18 000 spores per gram of grass.


4 MArch 2022

Spore counts are still very high for this part of Hawke’s Bay with the average for our monitor farms at 62,857 and for our non-monitor farms at 56,620. This week’s hotspots for monitor farms have seen counts rise again at Napier-Taihape Road to 220,000 spg. Spore counts also rose in Patoka to 140,000 and Ocean Beach to 90,000. Our non-monitor farms hotspots were seen at Raukawa with spore counts rising to 220,000; Clive at 90,000 and Waiwhare at 80,000. 

This week’s weather brought some much needed cooler nights, the odd bit of rain and there is a twinge of autumn in the air. Spore counts are unfortunately still dangerously high and the cooler nights have not been cool enough yet to bring the average spore count down. 

25 February 2022

Spore counts for the Hawke’s Bay region remain high this week and are dangerously high compared to this time last year when counts were still very low. The average spore count for our monitor farms has slightly dropped from 67,500 to 53,000 spores per gram (spg), however that still has alarm bells ringing. This week’s hot spots for one off counts on our monitor farms include 150,000 at Napier-Taihape Road, 90,000 at Patoka, 75,000 at Eskdale and 70,000 at Ocean Beach Road. Basically, levels are high in many areas across the region.


To reinforce this point, our non-monitor farms produced an average of 70,000 spg. Several hot spots were well above 100,000 spg. Middle road is consistently producing high spore counts at an average of 80,000 and Raukawa/Valley Road has also seen very high counts. Being above the ‘danger level’ of 60 000 spg, the odd clinical case of facial eczema is rearing its head, and unfortunately we expect more will be seen. Please keep vigilant around managing these cases. 



18 February 2022

Spore counts for the Hawke’s Bay region have sharply increased this week and are dangerously high compared to this time last year when counts were still very low. The average spore count for our monitor farms is at the dangerously high level of 67 500 spores per gram of grass. This week’s hot spots for our monitor farms include an astonishingly high 270 000 spores per gram of grass on the Napier-Taihape Road, 170 000 in Ocean Beach, 100 000 in Maraekakaho, and 90 000 in Eskdale. The average spore counts for non-monitor farms was 30 000 with a hot spot of 145 000 spores per gram of grass in the Waiwhare area and 50 000 in Kereru and Puketitiri. On average we are above the ‘danger level’ of 60 000 spores per gram of grass and the odd clinical case of facial eczema has already been seen. 

11 February 2022

Spore counts in the Hawke’s Bay region are rising and on average at 20 500 spores per gram of grass this week, up from 16 250 last week, and above the ‘Take Action’ level. Compared to this time last year when counts were holding steady around the 5 000 spores per gram of grass, the spore counts are significantly higher. This week we saw a hot spot in Maraekakaho area at dangerous 70 000 and high of 40 000 along the Napier-Taihape Road

4 February 2022

For this region, the spore counts have jumped from low the last few weeks, to an average of 16 250 spores per gram of grass this week and we are already over the action level of 15 000. The average this week is higher than it was this time last year and Ocean Beach area had a hot spot with a high count of 55 000 spores per gram of pasture.  

After a relatively good spring and the odd drop of rain over the summer, much of Hawke’s Bay has a little more tucker on the hills compared to previous years. Unfortunately this results in far more dead matter as the warm temperatures burn off the grass and spore counts are expected to keep rising and with forecasted rain over the weekend and stretching into next week providing a bit of humidity. 

We are urging farmers to keep a close eye on their regional spore counts and to consider bringing in grass samples to assess their risk level. If you’re putting the ram out in the next few weeks, consider treating rams and ewes with zinc capsules to protect sheep in case spore counts rise during the mating period, this will help prevent poor scanning performance. It doesn’t take much of a drop in lamb production to justify the $4.83 inc GST investment to protect a ewe during a critical time of the production cycle.