Spotlight on stock movements

Farmers group together to discuss tactics to prevent the spread of Mycoplasma bovis when stock move for winter grazing. PHOTO: NICOLE SHARP
Farmers group together to discuss tactics to prevent the spread of Mycoplasma bovis when stock move for winter grazing. PHOTO: NICOLE SHARP
Farmers are better situated to prepare for stock movements around winter grazing following a Beef + Lamb New Zealand and DairyNZ workshop in Lumsden recently.

The combined approach from the two organisations, along with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), to organise the workshop around Mycoplasma bovis provided southern farmers the opportunity to share ideas and ask questions.

MPI biosecurity response senior adviser Justin Mercier said with Gypsy Day just around the corner there was going to be a lot of movement in the coming months.

Graziers and herd owners making good decisions now would be the best bet to ensure they did not get Mycoplasma bovis, and having good biosecurity measures in place was crucial, he said.

One biosecurity suggestion Mr Mercier gave was to use portable yards, which could be easily cleaned.

‘‘Keeping animals from different mobs separate to keep them from touching noses [was another],’’ he said.

Knowing the status of animals coming on to properties was also important, he said.

In some cases, MPI had heard of farmers having a ‘‘sick paddock’’ which was not advised, as if some were infected with Mycoplasma bovis and others were just sick, it would spread the disease, he said.

Keeping NAIT records updated was also vital.

One grazier asked what would happen to stock movements if a property was found to be infected and was running out of feed.

Mr Mercier said MPI would move the animals if needed.

Other farmers were worried about transportation companies mixing stock together in trucks or at layover points.

Farmers were encouraged to talk to their trucking companies and ask the questions, Mr Mercier said.

An announcement last week showed industry bodies were continuing to invest in working with farmers and MPI regarding Mycoplasma bovis as, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand along with the Meat Industry Association have committed $11.2 millon towards operational costs.

Cabinet also approved $85 million for operational and compensation costs last week, for the 12 months from July 1 last year until the end of the present financial year.
MPI estimates that total operational costs of $35 million and compensation liabilities of $60 million will be required until a decision on whether or not to eradicate the disease is made.

nicole.sharp@alliedpress.co.nz

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