Firstly, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has begun checking livestock movements across the Cook Strait to ensure NAIT requirements are being met. This move reinforces one of the key lessons we can take from the Mp. bovis response – the importance of keeping traceability records up to date. We encourage all farmers to ensure their NAIT records are up to date. For information on ensuring compliance with NAIT, see www.nait.co.nz/nait-basics/
Secondly, MPI has decided to cull all cattle on known infected properties (currently 28 properties with roughly 22,000 cattle). For the people that farm these properties this provides some welcome certainty after months of anxiety and personal and financial pressure. The cull is a control measure to help contain the outbreak and is not the beginning of eradication.
Technical advice provided to MPI suggests that Mp. bovis is broadly contained and that eradication is technically feasible, noting that the full extent of the spread of Mp. bovis is still being determined. This advice needs to be weighed against the costs and benefits – both social and economic – of pursuing eradication and a decision on the long-term approach to the disease is expected in May. B+LNZ, alongside other affected industries, continues to work closely with MPI through this process.
In the meantime, we strongly recommend that farmers think about how they can manage their own risks on-farm.
If you are buying in calves, for example, make sure you know where they have been and that their NAIT records are up to date. If you have a breeding herd, consider maintaining physical separation between it and other cattle brought onto your property and ensure good records are kept of that separation.
Mp. bovis is just one of many biosecurity threats to your farming business, and you can get some guidance on how you can protect your business from these threats here: www.beeflambnz.com/knowledge-hub/PDF/drystock-biosecurity-guidelines
The following is short check-list that B+LNZ has prepared for managing biosecurity threats on farm that is relevant to Mp.Bovis: https://beeflambnz.com/knowledge-hub/PDF/biosecurity-wof-checklist
Over the coming month, B+LNZ will be hosting a series of half-day Biosecurity Roadshows throughout New Zealand to support farmers to minimize risk, and to better understand the implications of the current response. Dates and venues will be announced in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, there is a Frequently Asked Questions paper for Mp.Bovis that may help answer some of the questions farmers have at this time: https://beeflambnz.com/knowledge-hub/PDF/mycoplasma-bovis-faqs
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