Mycoplasma bovis eradication

The Government and farming sector bodies announced on 28 May 2018 that an attempt will be made to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis from New Zealand. Find out about the decision and what it means for you.

Decision to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis

The Government along with the dairy and beef industries have agreed that an attempt will be made to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis. We expect to do most of the eradication work in one to two years.

Technical experts and economists have carried out significant analysis and modelling to:

  • determine how the disease could affect herds into the future
  • evaluate the costs and benefits of attempting eradication.

All agreed this is the best action to protect the national herd of dairy and beef cattle and to give farmers certainty. The welfare of both farmers and their animals is at the heart of the decision.

At this time (28 May 2018), the disease is still not widespread (37 infected farms and some 260 suspect farms out of 20,000) and there is just one strain of the disease here. Eradicating Mycoplasma bovis won't be easy, but if we don't try now, we will never get another chance.

How the eradication will work

All cattle on infected farms and future infected farms, plus some high-risk farms under movement controls, will need to be culled.

This means about 126,000 cattle from about 190 farms will need to be culled – most in one to two years. This is in addition to the current cull underway. The timing of any cull will be worked through with individual farmers to minimise impacts on production.

We will continue to trace all potentially affected cows, and test and cull herds with infected animals in them. This tracing, testing, and culling will continue until ongoing regular surveillance finds no remaining evidence of Mycoplasma bovis.

The number of response staff in the field will substantially increase to manage this. This means more skilled people will be able to work directly with affected farmers. Our industry partners will also be supporting the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and will play a crucial part in the eradication process.

Support for farmers

We understand this will be painful for farmers who are affected, and we are committed to looking after those who have Mycoplasma bovis on their farms.

If you are a farmer and need support, help is available through your industry group representative, individual response case manager, or the Rural Support Trust.

  • Rural Support Trust: 0800 78 72 54
  • MPI: 0800 00 83 33

Industry representatives:

  • Dairy NZ: 0800 43 24 79 69
  • Beef + Lamb NZ: 0800 23 33 52
  • Federated Farmers: 0800 32 76 46

We're calling on rural communities to support each other, especially affected farmers and those that appear to be finding it hard. If you have any concerns about someone you know, contact the Rural Support Trust or other community support services.

Compensation

Compensation is available for anyone who has verifiable losses as a result of directions they are given by MPI under the Biosecurity Act to manage Mycoplasma bovis.

Farmers that are directed to have animals culled or their farm operations restricted under movement controls will be eligible for compensation. In particular, farmers whose animals are being culled will receive an initial payment for the value of culled stock within 2 weeks of a completed claim being lodged.

How farmers can support the eradication

Report suspected Mycoplasma bovis

To eradicate it, we need to be sure we've managed every last case.

Look for signs of the disease and report to your vet, or to MPI on 0800 80 99 66.

Keep good animal movement records

Keep NAIT records up-to-date. Improvements to the system are underway to make this easier to do in future.

Moving day

Moving day can go ahead as long as farms have sensible precautions in place. These include maintaining up-to-date NAIT movement records, understanding herd health history, and using good on-farm biosecurity measures.

Practice good on-farm biosecurity

The disease spreads in 2 ways: by animal-to-animal contact and by feeding infected milk to calves. By carrying out on-farm biosecurity, you can help protect your farm and prevent the spread of the disease.

Find out more

Who to contact

If you have questions about Mycoplasma bovis:

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