Northland farmer Ken Hames has been elected to the Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) board.
More than three out of four cows grazing on New Zealand dairy farms are sired by an LIC bull.
Although confident the disease was not present in its bulls, the co-op announced in September it would test for the disease to provide its farmers with greater peace of mind through the dairy mating season.
“We’ve now completed the testing and I am pleased to confirm that all LIC bulls have received negative test results with no sign of Mycoplasma bovis,” chief scientist Richard Spelman says.
“The results are as we expected and in line with the MPI investigation which indicates the infection was limited to a few herds within NZ.
“We are pleased to provide our farmers with the confirmation and greater peace of mind for the mating season which is underway on farms right now.”
Yesterday marked the busiest day of that season for LIC, with 117,000 straws of fresh semen collected, processed and dispatched to AB techs all over the country from its bull farm, collection and laboratory facilities outside of Hamilton. A total of 4.6 million straws of fresh semen will be dispatched in the four-month lead-up to Christmas.
The PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) testing was done on semen samples at the co-op’s MPI-accredited laboratory in Hamilton. Bulls that LIC currently has on its farms and commercially available this season were tested, including the Premier Sires teams, Sire Proving Scheme, SGL and Wagyu.
From a young age, LIC bulls are permanently kept in strict quarantine, under close veterinary supervision. Collection bulls are regularly monitored for any signs of disease to ensure that semen is only processed from healthy bulls.
Spelman says this will continue as part of normal practice.
As a result of the negative test results, he says the extra antibiotic which was being added to the semen diluent is no longer required and will be withdrawn.