Vet Rachel Cashin and Stud Manager Seymour Spence administering a dose of sporidsmin  

Lifting Facial Eczema Tolerance

Paparata Elite Romney - Focused on building FE Tolerance

Extract from the Beef and Lamb resource book 'Facing Up To Facial Eczema'.

'The liver damage associated with FE results in production losses that are much greater than may first appear. Even when no symptoms are visible, FE can reduce lifetime productivity by up to 25 per cent'.

'Breeding for increased tolerance to FE should be your first line of defense'.

Why lifting FE tolerance is a smart idea for all sheep farmers:

Lifting the FE tolerance in your sheep is essential for farmers farming in an eczema prone area. A live sheep is always going to outperform a dead one.

If you do not farm in a FE prone area 'look out' the climate is warming and eczema is creeping down the country. Buying rams with FE tolerance could protect your flock in the future.

If you think you will never be threatened by FE then it also makes sense to lift flock tolerance levels. You have a larger market when selling store. Those farmers farming in a FE prone area will not buy lambs that do not have FE tolerance. You have a marketing advantage.                

Paparata FE Tolerance Building Programme.

In 1999 after some heavy sheep losses in the 1990's when FE turned up in the King Country, Paparata decided to lift the FE tolerance levels of the Paparata ewe flock.

All outside sires used over the recorded flock:

  •           needed to have been FE tolerance tested at a high level.
  •           were sourced from breeders who had been testing at a high level for a number of years.

Below is the pedigree of Waimai 300/18 and Waimai 1227/19. As you can see these rams ranked very high in the Waimai flock for FE tolerance. These rams are consolidating the levels of FE tolerance in the Paparata flock.

In 1999 a testing programme was begun on the high ranking home bred rams to check their tolerance levels. Those rams showing the highest tolerance levels are used over the recorded flock. The dose rate has moved up each year as the flock tolerance levels moved up although this took time as can be seen in the graphs below.

Building FE Tolerance

Building FE Tolerance

Last year the dose rate was 0.5. Our target is 0.6.

New DNA technology means potential sires can now be screened for FE tolerance before being dosed with sporidsmin. This should mean larger increases in the testing level each year.  

Testing for FE provides all sheep in the recorded flock with a FE production index. The more positive the index the greater the forecast FE tolerance. Indexes for sale rams are provided in the catalogue.

Good questions to ask a ram breeder.

  • How long have you been testing for FE?  Needs to be more than 10 years.  
  • Are all your sire rams FE tolerance tested?  They should be.  
  • What level do you test at?   

Contact us today to discuss your breeding options for the future of your flock


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