Are your animals suffering from Facial Eczema?

Lameness Hits 25% of South Island Farms

Facial Eczema (FE) is a condition affecting cattle, sheep, goats and deer. It has its origin from a fungus called pithomyces which grows on dead litter at the base of rye grass. In warm moist weather, typically between January and April, this fungus produces high amounts of spores containing a toxin called sporidesmin which damages the liver when animals eat the spores...More What environtmental factor is causing a 25% higher incidince of lameness in south island dairy cows compared to North island Dairy cows?

read more to find out. click here

Move away from chemical fertilisers without compromising profitability. 5 signs that your farm needs help!
We’ve been using chemical fertilisers and pest control products for decades on our farms, crops and our home gardens. The consequence of this is nutrient deficient, chemically compromised food...More 1) The soil is really dry and hard or hard to break apart. This is an indicator that your soil isn’t holding water as well as it should...More
The diseases we see today are caused by chemicals. Your land may never recover from the Toxins put on it.
The diseases we see today are caused by the chemicals we expose ourselves and our animals to so why attempt to cure ourselves by adding more chemicals to the mix when there are alternatives which work? More The ability of the earth to process and remove chemicals from our environment is diminishing. More
Dairy Payout Decreases...
Student joins fight against Facial Eczema on farms.
Recent times have seen the announcement of the latest cuts to the dairy farmer’s payout from Fonterra. Next years payout is expected to be only cents above the estimated cost of production and with a volatile kiwi dollar it could easily slip below that point. More

Pippa Grierson, is currently a student at KatiKati college in her last year of school. For the past four years she has been researching the effect that Agricultural Lime has on killing toxic Facial Eczema spores, both in the short and long term. Below she explains her research into the ongoing issues of Facial Eczema and the interesting results her investigation has uncovered...More


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Regrassing a costly job or not?

The way costs are increasing on the farm we should look at a few old habits that kept us in good steed. With little or no hay being made and pastures kept from going to seed we have very little natural reseeding going on our farms.

The answer to date has been to spray out what’s left and re seed with a supposed high production new variety. General consensus is the pastures don’t last and it has cost a fortune to get them established. Take a look at what can be achieved when soils are well balanced and the existing pasture is left to grow to maturity and set seed before grazing. The results are very quick with no time needed for the pasture to reestablish only a long round. Or make some hay. The paddocks you cut will reseed automatically and where you feed out will too.

Do not try this without balancing your soil minerals and biology as facial eczema and grass staggers can be a real danger in late summer when this needs to happen.



Dung beetles: Masters of plant nutrient recycling are harmed by exposure to agricultural chemicals.

Dung beetles are a vital component of biological farming in that they facilitate the recycling of plant nutrients held in animal dung.

Up to 80% of the nitrogen held in dung volatilizes when cow pats are left on the ground for any length of time. Dung beetles bury the dung quickly and enable most of the nitrogen to be sequestered and available to plants. Watch dung beetles in action here.

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Be careful about what you put on your farm, and look for profitability!

Just one impact on Growth rates in cattle. Heavy metal contamination.

Two years ago a boron deficiency was identified in these cattle. Boron had been applied to the property, yet was not becoming available.

The heavy metal arsenic was found to be a major contaminant in the Ulexite product being used from Sth America and was stopping the boron from being made available to soil microbes, plant and animals.

On going effects cannot be totally calculated as boron is essential for phosphorous and calcium uptake the major nutrients for growth, yet the problem was over come and the animals were returned to full health.

Watch the video for comparisons when compared against an animal of the same breeding and approximately a year younger.


Fungal Mycelium - what does it do?

The importance of fungal mycelium in the soil cannot be under estimated, yet in modern agriculture it is given merely a passing glance if at all. As farmers we used to see the result in the autumn when the mushrooms came, which was really only the fruiting cycle of that certain mycelium in your soil.

All mushrooms and toadstools are just that! Throughout the year properly functioning mycelium can dissolve nutrients from parent material using their own exudates and deliver them over long distances. The best way to describe them is they act in a similar fashion as the internet.

All parts of the soil of your farm is connected through complex communication, deficiencies and requirements of soil and plants are transmitted through this network for nutrient to be delivered to where it is needed.

The right types of mycelium also control the type of bacteria in your soils as the exudates work in the same way penicillin works. Remember penicillin came from mold or should I say a type of fungus otherwise known as mycelium.

The reality is like many other quirks of nature, that the good guys cannot handle the wrong conditions whether that be sprays either, herbicide, fungicide or pesticide. Nor can they handle heavy metal contamination such as cadmium.

For most farmers they will be able to think back when they can remember the flush of mushrooms in the autumn, but now when these conditions set in they are more worried about the results of another fungal problem facial eczema which puts of a toxin which makes cattle and sheep photo sensitive.

The other nasty at that type of year relates to high endophyte ryegrass, again another fungal based issue. These two nasties can be controlled using lime and getting your soils balanced which in time changes pasture species and takes the environment away that they thrive in. The worst thing in the world to do is use a fungicide as they are non selective and will take out all the beneficial ones as well.
One of the break throughs we have had in the last 6months has been identifying a mycelium that not only does wonders for the soil, it also seems to help in the digestion of the animals. It is quite a complex equation but watch the video to see the results.

American scientist’s observations of NZ farming shows we are not all we are cracked up to be.

First off, I am interminably grateful for the experiences I had in New Zealand, for the vast amount o0f knowledge farmers shared with me, and the genuine kindness that was consistently shown towards me.

You all live in a wonderful country, so it is with respect that I offer a brief summary of some insights b
orn out of my nine month ’08 study of NZ farming. I offer an abbreviated list of my personal synopsis of problems and their potential solutions, along with references for further investigation.

I came to New Zealand because kiwis are world-renown for expertise in rotational grazing, low -cost and grass-based production, stellar cattle genetics, thriftiness, and healthy, clean and green food products. But after scouring the country and visiting over 50 farms, I have largely encountered quite the opposite of my expectations. While the best farms I have seen have been biological and/or organic, these ‘healthy’ farms are few and far between, easily lost in a green sea of NPK grass, or, more specific to the drought, a unnecessary brown cloud of pastures and dying, oxidising, unbalanced soil. More
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