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A survey of about 200 calf-rearing properties is under way nationwide as the next step in the phased eradication of Mycoplasma bovis.
In a statement yesterday, national controller Geoff Gwyn said the Ministry for Primary Industries started contacting owners of the selected properties this week. The test involved a one-off nasal swab on calves.
The properties selected were not suspected of having the bacterial cattle disease, rather it was an opportunity to provide further assurances to those farmers, Mr Gwyn said.
''The identified properties have no connection to other properties which are being tested or at risk of having M. bovis.
''In fact, if properties are connected to M. bovis properties they are being discounted from this survey as we will already be testing them as part of the response. This will give us some indication about the prevalence of M. bovis in beef herds.''
Targeting calf-rearing properties had several benefits.
It captured both animal movements and milk supply, which were the two high-risk pathways of infection, and targeting farms which sourced calves from at least five different farms meant more source farms would also have some assurance they were free of the disease, he said.