This week’s pasture spore counts – Week ending 5th March 2021
Spore counts are continuing to rise in some areas and it is expected that the spore count will continue to rise more following the recent widespread rain adding moisture to the large amount of dead matter found in pasture at the moment. Combined with very mild overnight temperatures and stock grazing down low, it is likely that they could be ingesting a significant amount of spores.
Now is a good time to devise an action plan if counts did rocket up at your place. If you need help with this call us at the clinic and speak to one of our vets.
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 $4.45 investment to protect a ewe during a critical time of the production cycle.
The regional average spore count has increased this week to 18125 spores per gram of pasture. The counts ranged from 0 to 165000 (highly toxic) with many sites doubling, or more than doubling in count. One of the sites at Ocean Beach had a spore count of 165000 and a site at Otamauri had a count of 35000. Spore counts continue to track slightly ahead of counts this time last year and the district average count remain at the “Take action level”. Performing spore counts on your property is the first action you can take to assess your risk and inform management decisions.
Trend graph of 2021 spore counts compared with last year’s data.
Some areas have seen a jump in counts this week with the recent rain, into a moderate danger level. Monitor your own farm to see if you are having the same rise and if levels are increasing then an action plan should be in place, as prevention will be required for susceptible stock.