Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Govt, BLNZ unveil plan to tackle facial eczema at CD Field Days

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BLNZ teams up with the government to fund research into livestock scourge.
Beef + Lamb NZ, the government and the primary sector tackle facial eczema. Photo: Central District Field Day/FB
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The government has announced it will enter into a new $20 million joint partnership with the primary sector to find solutions to eradicate the impact of facial eczema on livestock.

Agriculture Minister Todd McClay said the Eliminating Facial Eczema Impacts (EFEI) programme, which is jointly funded by Beef + Lamb NZ, the government and the primary sector will save farmers an estimated $332m a year.

McClay said the programme will support multiple approaches, and bring together many of the country’s top researchers.

At present there is no cure for FE, with limited management tools available. 

“Prevention solutions such as early detection, mitigation and management options are key to the programme. Decision support tools will also be collaboratively developed with farmers and rural professionals,” he said.

The FE breeding value for dairy cows recently announced by LIC will complement these solutions, he said.

 Beef + Lamb New Zealand (BLNZ) has committed $9m, alongside the government’s $8.3m funding commitment through the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund with the remaining in-kind funding coming from contributions from 13 industry partners.  

The announcement was made by McClay and BLNZ chair Kate Acland at the Central Districts Field Days in Fielding.   

 Acland said it is timely, giving a confidence boost to the sector as it grapples with the impact of two years of poor returns coupled with recovery from major weather events and a challenging summer for many.  

“The EFEI programme will undoubtedly improve farm productivity and profitability overtime,”  she said. 

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