Cambridge dairy farmer and breeder Brad Payne would herd test ten times a year, but he works as an LIC AB Technician during October so reluctantly sacrifices data he’d get during that month of the year.
This is one of a raft of new measures that LIC has put in place to reassure its 10,000 farmer customers during this mating season.
From last Monday, each semen collection from LIC’s bulls, which artificially inseminate up to 80% of the national dairy herd, will be tested for M.bovis and results will be confirmed before semen is distributed to farmers.
Although MPI says the risk of transmitting M.bovis from semen is low, chief executive Wayne McNee says LIC is not taking anything for granted.
“Based on our testing and strict animal management to date, we’re confident our bulls are clear of M.bovis. We have tested over 5000 samples from our bulls dating back to January 2017, and the disease has not been detected.”
“However, we know the risk of infection is a still a top concern for farmers and we want to take all measures possible to safeguard our bulls and help protect the national herd.”
The PCR test is highly sensitive and will detect if M.bovis is present in the semen. LIC is spending about $800,000 to manage any risk of transmission of M.bovis and is absorbing the cost.
The daily testing will be implemented for the peak mating season when AI technicians will inseminate at least 100,000 cows per day.