Friday, 26 March 2021 07:55

MPI re-checking bovis farms to ensure disease is gone

Written by  Peter Burke
MPI director of the Mycoplasma bovis eradication programme Stuart Anderson. MPI director of the Mycoplasma bovis eradication programme Stuart Anderson.

MPI is doing a double check of farms that have been infected with M.bovis in the past.

According to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) director of the Mycoplasma bovis eradication programme, Stuart Anderson, it's a case of ensuring that there is no infection left on any of the farms.

Anderson says MPI is coming to the tail end of the eradication programme, although there are still some infected farms in the South Island.

He says the number of staff involved in the programme has been reduced and they have also driven efficiencies in the way the programme operates.

"We now know a lot more about the disease than we did in the early stages of the programmes and over time we have developed some better tools for tracing and modelling the spread," he told Rural News.

"So it's now a case of going back through, particularly those early cases, to apply these new tools for tracing and using the improved modelling we have developed, as well as our better knowledge of the disease. The aim is just to make sure that all the potential of risk have been identified and ensuring that, in the terms of the risk, we haven't left any stone unturned."

Anderson says the review has the support of the M. bovis Technical Advisory Group (TAG), which agrees this is about reassurance and best practice. He adds there are no flags that have alerted them to any particular problems on farms that suggest something might have been missed in the past.

He says there is now more awareness of M. bovis than there was in the early stages of the programme and admits it was certainly tough for farmers dealing with the disease.

Anderson believes one of the positives to emerge is the general awareness and compliance with NAIT.

"We have definitely learned a lot from what happened in the early stages of the programme and there were some hard lessons then - things didn't always go as well as they should," he adds.

They have worked really hard to gain from these lessons and, in particular, developing better relationships with farmers.

"We've got people operating at the regional level - who have either got a farming background, an understanding of farming or have a rural connection."

Anderson says whenever they have to do such things as testing or depopulating animals from a farm, MPI tries its best to understand the farming business.

"We know that each farming business is different and we work up a plan and try to do things better," he says.

Anderson says MPI is also focusing more on supporting farmers and working with Rural Support Trusts and other agencies to help farmers and the wider rural community affected by M. bovis. He says by doing this, they get to feel the pulse of the community and get a better handle on the nature and size of the issues.

He admits there is still some more work to be done to finally eradicate M. bovis, but says MPI is confident that it is tracking in the right direction.

"My message to farmers is that this piece of work is also about recognising the sacrifices and commitments made by the 260-plus farmers who have been through bovis," Anderson says.

"To make sure we have swept across everything and that there are no risks that haven't been addressed."

More like this

Lockdowns and look back

As we emerge from another round of lockdowns that resulted in the cancellation of the Northland Field Days and the NZ Horse of the Year Show, it’s worth remembering that rural communities have a history of dealing with incursions, disasters and diseases, such as the current battle with Mycoplasma bovis.

M.bovis review a chance to learn

Ministry for Primary Industries director general Ray Smith says his organisation absolutely supports a review into the handling of the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak.

Farmer fined for bovis breach

Failure to follow directives not to move stock because of the Mycoplasma bovis threat and breaking NAIT rules has landed a South Canterbury farmer with a $21,000 fine.

Lessons from M.Bovis outbreak

The chair of a new committee set up to review the handling of Mycoplasma bovis outbreak says it isn’t a witch-hunt.


Machinery & Products

SIAFD wins punters' plaudits

After celebrating its 70th year last month, it looks like the South Island Agricultural Field Days (SIAFD) has hit its…

Opens up blindspots

Traditionally blind spots caused by large buckets or front mounted loads on wheeled loaders have been a major safety concern.

She's one big feeder

Feeder specialists Hustler has released a maxi-sized multi-feeder aimed at large scale farms in New Zealand and further afield.

Roots out problems

Austrian manufacturer Pöttinger has introduced the new Durastar narrow share for its Synkro and Synkro-T, mounted stubble cultivators.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Blue murder

OPINION: Your old mate recently read an off-the-wall suggestion, by some boffin, that deliberately staining meat blue will lead to…

Foot in mouth - again!

OPINION: This old mutt reckons Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor too often suffers from 'foot in mouth' disease.

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter