Mycoplasma bovis found in Northland for the first time

The cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis has been found in Northland for the first time, meaning cattle will be culled in the region as the Government tries to eradicate the disease.

The farm has effectively been placed in lockdown, restricting what can be taken on or off the property.

The Ministry for Primary Industries said Biosecurity New Zealand today confirmed a property in Northland has tested positive for the bacterial cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis. It's the first time the disease has been found in this region.

The infected property is a dry stock beef farm, but MPI is not saying where it is, at this stage. The farm, as with all other infected properties, was identified through the tracing of animals movements from known infected farms and is under a Restricted Place legal notice under the Biosecurity Act.

This effectively places them in quarantine lockdown – restricting the movement of animals and other risk goods on and off the farm, MPI said.

MPI will not be publicly naming the farm and neighbours who share a boundary with the infected property have been notified. The risk to neighbouring farms is very low, MPI said.

As part of the Government and sector group programme to eradicate the disease, all infected groups of cattle on the farm will ultimately be culled, in agreement with the farmer concerned around timing.

The response continues to make progress, with a total of 30 farms having been cleaned and depopulated nationally, and now moving forwards with their farming business.

MPI is planning a public meeting next week in Northland and further information on the location and time will be released in the next few days. Keep an eye on the MPI Facebook page for event details.

MPI has culled more than 32,000 cattle from dairy herds - none of them in Northland - since the response to Mycoplasma bovis began a year ago.

MPI said this is a good opportunity for farmers to check that they have robust biosecurity practices in place.

Some simple steps farmers can take include:

  • Carefully consider the disease status of new stock before animals are bought or moved
  • Ensure visitors clean and disinfect their equipment, clothing and footwear upon arrival to your farm
  • Ensure boundary fences are secure and prevent nose-to-nose contact with neighbouring stock
  • Provide young calves with special protection, allowing only essential people in the calf shed

''This is a really tough time for all the affected farmers who find themselves in this situation through no fault of their own. MPI, Rural Support Trusts, and industry are supporting them but they will also need support from their neighbours and the wider Northland community,'' An MPI spokesperson said.

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