Around 200 interested people from the local farming community met at the Dargaville Town Hall last week to hear from representatives from MPI, Beef + Lamb NZ, Dairy NZ, Federated Farmers and the Rural Support Trust on the topic of Mycoplasma bovis.
Biosecurity New Zealand believes the disease is limited to one network of farms that are connected by animal movements, and are in the process of identifying properties of high risk due to unknowingly receiving infected animals.
Tracing herd movements since 2015 is a part of the phased eradication response operation by MPI, and has been very reliant on the diligent record keeping done by farmers.
According to DairyNZ representative, Sharon Morrell, in one week during August this year, more than 141,000 animals were relocated around the country, showing the importance of accurate NAIT (National Animal Identification and Tracing) records and managing biosecurity risks.
“If we can improve NAIT to the point it is easier to use, in the event of any future infections we will much more easily be able to trace infected properties,” said MPI veterinary pathologist, Dr Kelly Buckle.
To date, 67 of 12,000 properties have been infected, and MPI is confident there is a very good chance of eradication, though restocked farms will be monitored for the next five or six years to ensure there is no recurrence.
A Dargaville property, placed under surveillance earlier this year, has tested positive for the disease, after inadvertently buying infected weaner bulls.
Dr Brian Lowe of Dargaville Vet Clinic assured attendees there is no risk to neighbouring properties, and locally purchased bulls do not carry the disease.
MPI recommends farmers are thorough in their checks of where the stock is coming from, and to consider all biosecurity risks.
Further information is available from mpi.govt.nz or phone 0800 80 99 66.