Preventing facial eczema in dairy cattle

Zinc supplements can be effective preventing and controlling facial eczema

Feeding zinc oxide in grain/concentrates in the bail at milking can be very effective for facial eczema prevention. However, only a suitable zinc oxide additive should be used, in the correct amount (20 mg elemental zinc/kg liveweight/day). Consult with your vet to monitor cow’s blood serum zinc level.

The concentration of elemental zinc and the level of impurities varies between different zinc oxide additives. Only feed zinc oxide additive with a certificate of analysis provided by the supplier which confirms it is suitable for use in animal feeds. This additive should not contain than 200 mg/kg (0.02%) lead and 20mg/kg (0.002%) cadmium.

Download the 'Prevent facial eczema in milking cows using zinc oxide in feed' fact sheet.

Key messages

  • Consult with a vet to monitor the effectiveness of your zinc supplementation program and prevent any early signs of zinc toxicity
  • If destocking, urgently identify the number and class of animals to be fed or sold
  • Zinc administration should commence 2–3 weeks before pastures become toxic
  • Calculate the zinc oxide inclusion rate (kg/tonne feed) required to provide 20 mg elemental zinc/kg liveweight/day, based on your herd’s average liveweight and daily grain/concentrate feeding rate
  • Ensure your stockfeed supplier is FeedSafe® accredited provides you with a ‘fit for purpose’ statement with every load of feed delivered.