Good bull management means running adequate numbers of bulls with the herd, reducing their stress, and handling bulls to minimise the risk of injury to people and animals, says DairyNZ.
Commercial bull lessors should organise a TB test for all bulls before marketing and leasing them to herdowners, meaning as many animals as possible can be tested in one go.
There is no fee to TB test service bulls and it gives the receiving herdowner peace of mind that the leased animal is clear of the disease.
With calving approaching, NAIT also reminds farmers that registering this season's calves at their farm of birth will enable lifetime traceability for these animals.
Calves should be tagged within six months of birth or before their first off-farm movement – whichever occurs soonest. They then need to be registered in the NAIT system within one week of being tagged.
If there is any doubt around a bull's TB status, herdowners need to contact TBfree New Zealand on 0800 482 4636 to find out if a recent test has been completed, book a test and learn about the animal's disease history.
TBfree New Zealand can let you know if the bull been in a Movement Control Area, where all animals are legally required to be TB tested at least 60 days prior to being moved.
TBfree New Zealand national disease manager Dr Kevin Crews said the majority of cattle and deer herd infections can be traced back to infected possums in TB risk areas, but stock movement-related infections still occur.
"Protecting the pastoral production sector from TB requires constant vigilance, especially when bringing new animals, such as service bulls, onto a property," said Crews.
All service bulls must also be accompanied by an Animal Status Declaration (ASD) form which herdowners need to check has been correctly completed. This includes making sure the TB test date of the animal is recorded and the herd status is supplied so you know if the bull presents a possible TB risk.
"Don't be complacent and don't think that TB is not out there. Make sure you do your checks and you will know you have done everything you can to prevent TB from infecting your herd," says Crews.