The kiwifruit claim decision in favour of growers has wide implications for biosecurity, says Dr Nic Lees, a senior lecturer in agribusiness at Lincoln University.
This takes the current number of infected properties to 14 – nine in South Canterbury, three in Southland, one in Ashburton and one in Hawkes Bay.
Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) response incident controller David Yard says milk sampling carried out by the dairy industry just before Christmas revealed a suspected positive result; MPI’s Animal Health Laboratory testing has just confirmed this.
“The affected farm and an associated property have been under controls since Christmas Eve as a precautionary measure. No animals or other risk goods such as used farm equipment have been allowed on or off the property during this time and these controls stand,” Yard says.
There has been no sign of any illness in any of the approximately 600 animals on the property.
Yard says that as a result of the new find, MPI is now tracing animal movements on and off the farm to determine if there are links to other affected properties. MPI will now carry out checks and testing on some 30 other farms that have had some association with the new affected property.
MPI is also continuing tests on another Ashburton area farm that had previously returned inconclusive results. As yet, this farm is not regarded as positive, although it is under controls just in case.
“MPI and its industry partners in the response understand how worrying this new detection is to the farming community.
“Planning is underway for two public meetings in Methven and Ashburton on Thursday 11 January to outline the situation. In addition, the meetings will cover plans to test bulk milk and ‘discard milk’ (milk unsuitable for collection, e.g. from cows with mastitis) from farms in the area.”