Trial Results and Gribbles FE report

Gribbles FE report

Each week we upload the latest Facial Eczema Gribbles Report which details district spore counts on a weekly basis. Previous seasons results can be found further down this page.

2020 - 2021 Season

Week 1 - 14th January 2021

Week 2 - 21st January 2021

Week 3 - 28th January 2021

Week 4 - 4th February 2021

Week 5 - 11th February 2021

Week 6 - 18th February 2021

Week 7 - 25th February 2021

Week 8 - 4th March 2021

Week 9 - 11th March 2021

Week 10 - 18th March 2021

Week 11 - 25th March 2021

Week 12 - 1st April 2021

Week 13 - 8th April 2021

Week 14 - 15th April 2021

Week 15 - 22nd April 2021

Week 16 - 29th April 2021

Week 17 - 6th May 2021

Trial Information

Facial Eczema (FE) is estimated to cost the New Zealand agriculture sector more than $100m a year in lost production. Breaking down the estimated losses resulting from the worst recorded outbreak of FE in 1998 and averaging them over 70% of North Island farms regardless of size, FE would have cost each dairy farm $6,180 and each sheep and beef farm $13,768. And that’s only the loss from animals with clinical (visible) signs of disease. If sub-clinical losses were to be included these costs could be up to 10 times higher.

Trial Results - Cattle


The effect of sporidesmin on milk yield:

  • Cows exposed for 8 days to 3 very low rates of sporidesmin
  • There was no detectable liver damage in these cows
  • Milk yield reduced by 8%, 18% and 25% over next 3 weeks
  • At 0.8kg milk solids per day, losses were $7.93, $17.84 and $24.78 per cow over 21 days
  • At 1.5kg milk solids per day, losses were $14.87, $33.45 and $46.46 per cow over 21 days

Heifer calves weekly liveweights


This graph shows the effect of the Time Capsule in preventing weight loss as the result of sub-clinical FE.

The calves treated with the Time Capsule showed no significant rise in GGT levels when compared to the untreated calves and had a liveweight advantage of approximately 15kg after three months.


Trial Results - Sheep

  • Sub-clinical Facial Eczema case study in sheep
  • FE was monitored in a flock of 500 ewes
  • Of these, 5 showed clinical signs of FE (1%)
  • Following a GGT blood test to determine liver damage, 225 ewes or 45% exhibited elevated levels indicating some liver damage
    The ewes were pregnancy scanned and found to be down 8% in lambing forecast

Trial results - Sheep 2006


Sustained zinc levels provided by the Time Capsule protect sheep against the FE toxin for six weeks.

80% of animals that were untreated suffered from facial eczema, with consequent loss in productivity. In contrast, only 8% of sheep receiving and retaining the Time Capsule showed any sign of the disease.

During the 2006 FE season, mating performance was monitored on three separate sheep farms involving a total of 1,500 breeding ewes when spore counts were recorded as sub-clinical between 25-50,000 and would normally be considered low risk.

At each farm, each ewe from one group (n=500) was treated with a Time Capsule bolus (repeat dosed at 6 week intervals) and a similar sized control group remained untreated. The mating performance of all ewes was determined at scanning.

The Time Capsule treated flocks showed an increase in conception rate of between 3-4% over the non-treated control ewes, which clearly demonstrates mating performance will be impaired even at low FE spore challenges.


The results of trials on a farm with a history of severe FE outbreaks
An untreated sheep showing severe clinical signs of Facial Eczema

District spore count guides


To insure against the effects of Facial Eczema, it's vital that you take preventative action when spore counts rise.

Prevention is the only recognised method of dealing with FE, so it's important to ensure you are aware of the spore counts on your farm.

District spore counts

District spore counts can provide good information about the spore counts in your region, so it's worthwhile keeping an eye on them.

Spore counts will vary markedly throughout a region, even from paddock to paddock on the same farm.

So use district spore counts as a guide only, and regularly test spore counts on your own property.


Heifer calves serum GGT levels Autumn 1999


This graph illustrates the serum GGT levels in two groups of calves exposed to FE.

The untreated control group showed marked and continuous increases in GGT levels (measure of liver damage) over a 50 day period, while the Time Capsule treated group showed no significant increases in GGT levels at all.