Reviews of the M. bovis backlog | Beef + Lamb New Zealand

Reviews of the M. bovis backlog

In April, the Mycoplasma bovis Programme advised that they had discovered a backlog of risk animal movements, also known as a ‘surge’ in properties to be investigated.

A review was conducted by MPI’s Chief Science Advisor Dr John Roche, and an independent review commissioned by DairyNZ was conducted by disease management expert Dr Roger Paskin. Both reviews had the support of Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

MPI Chief Science Advisor review

Dr Roche’s review found that the backlog built up due to issues with managing the flow of information between functions, and in the disease management team’s structure and resourcing. The backlog was smaller than initially thought and while it was primarily trace movements that built up during early 2019, some of the movements dated back to 2018.

While the backlog may have allowed some further spread of the disease, Dr Roche does not believe it has impacted on the chances of successfully eradicating Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis). The independent Technical Advisory Group has also been asked to consider the impact of the backlog and is expected to report back soon.

DairyNZ’s independent review

Dr Paskin’s report identified issues related to the Programme structure, staffing, training, management and supporting tools which resulted in a backlog of cases dating back (in a number of cases) about seven months.

The primary cause was an accumulation of traces (animal movements) to and from infected properties which had not been followed up.


Together, Dr Roche and Dr Paskin’s reports make a total of 43 recommendations to improve the systems and processes within the M. bovis Programme. These include greater regional decision-making, the importance of farmer involvement, and improving structures, systems and resourcing.

Many of the suggested changes are already underway (for example, enabling greater regional decision-making, and better data management systems). A work programme is in place to implement the recommendations, and we will continue to work with our partners to ensure that the plan is implemented, and the M. bovis Programme is improved.

Reports and recommendations

Outcomes of the surge

It was projected that up to 250 Notices of Direction restricting cattle movements (NODs) might be issued before 1 June. However, there were 171 NODs, with 304 farms placed under Active Surveillance.

Support and advice

Farmers needing support and advice on M. bovis can visit

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