Mycoplasma bovis Mid Canterbury update – enhanced biosecurity measures in the Wakanui area

// Biosecurity

Beef + Lamb New Zealand, alongside DairyNZ and the Ministry for Primary Industries, is a partner in the Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) eradication programme.

image of mixed cattle

The M. bovis programme is now targeting the remaining known pocket of confirmed infection with depopulation starting on a mid-Canterbury feedlot in Wakanui and strict new biosecurity measures for the surrounding area.

Although further detections across the country are possible in future, the only properties known to have infected cattle are located in this small area, where there are three Confirmed Properties, including the feedlot.

M. bovis is known to be most commonly spread via direct contact between infected and uninfected cattle. However, despite recent thorough investigations, the programme has been unable to confirm the pathway(s) by which disease has been spreading in this area.

Because of this, the programme needs to take a different approach to protect cattle and farmers in the area.

In the coming weeks, the M. bovis eradication programme will:

  • Working with its owner, start the progressive depopulation of the feedlot.
  • From 13 October, introduce a Controlled Area Notice (CAN) for the area around the feedlot, affecting 12 cattle farms (including the feedlot). The Controlled Area, will be made up of two parts: a High-Risk Area and a surrounding At-Risk area.
  • A CAN is used under the Biosecurity Act to control the movement of animals or risk goods to, from or within a specified area. They have been used in a range of biosecurity responses, including successful eradications of fruit fly and pea weevil.
  • As part of the CAN, all properties with cattle in the High-Risk Area will be depopulated by mid-January 2023, or earlier, followed by a standdown period of 2–3 months to allow these properties to be cleaned and disinfected.
  • A round of testing and census will be carried out for farms in the At-Risk area of the CAN (further out from the feedlot).

The CAN steps up the already tight controls in the area as we think it’s important to take all possible steps to ensure this pocket of infection is contained and the progressive depopulation of the feedlot is successful.

The programme partners will work closely with the small number of impacted farmers in the area and advice about compensation entitlements and support in making claims will be made available.

We know the CAN will be extremely challenging and disruptive for a small number of farmers in the area and the M. bovis programme will support them through this process.

For more information, please visit the programme website.