Bovine dis­ease has spread to Ran­giora

Northern Outlook - - NORTH CANTERBURY BUILDERS - GER­ARD HUTCHING

The cow dis­ease My­coplasma bo­vis has now spread to a life­style block in Ran­giora, north of Christchurch, bring­ing the num­ber of in­fected farms to six.

This is the first re­port of the dis­ease trav­el­ling out of the South Can­ter­bury/North Otago re­gion. Last week Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­try (MPI) of­fi­cials said the prop­er­ties they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing were within a 200 kilo­me­tre ra­dius.

They re­ported that a third prop­erty near Oa­maru had been af­fected, fol­low­ing the first de­tec­tions on two Van Leeuwen farms in July. A num­ber of an­i­mals from the third farm had moved to 14 others.

MPI said all three of the new prop­er­ties had links to ex­ist­ing in­fected farms, and ‘‘this is an en­tirely ex­pected pat­tern at this stage of the re­sponse’’.

Two of the newly iden­ti­fied prop­er­ties are Van Leeuwen Dairy Group farms and were al­ready un­der Restricted Place no­tices un­der the Biose­cu­rity Act.

The third prop­erty was a life­style block near Ran­giora that had re­ceived a small num­ber of calves from the third in­fected farm con­firmed last week.

MPI is con­tin­u­ing with its pol- icy of not nam­ing the farms, say­ing it was pre­vented do­ing so by the Pri­vacy Act - un­less the own­ers wanted to go public.

But Ma­heno, Oa­maru beef farmer Ju­lian Price has crit­i­cised MPI for not com­mu­ni­cat­ing with neigh­bour­ing farms.

‘‘When they iden­tify an af­fected prop­erty they are not telling neigh­bours. This third farm is next door but one, so my neigh­bour’s cat­tle have to be tested be­cause they are po­ten­tially in­fected.

‘‘My neigh­bour and I need to co-or­di­nate our graz­ing so we’re not risk­ing any fur­ther trans­mis­sion, but MPI aren’t talk­ing to us. They’re not cast­ing the net wide enough.’’

Re­sponse co-or­di­na­tor David Yard said MPI was con­tin­u­ing to con­tact in­di­vid­ual farms where there was higher risk of the dis­ease be­ing present – be­cause they were ad­ja­cent to in­fected prop­er­ties or con­nected through animal move­ments.

‘‘If farm­ers have not been con­tacted by us, then it means they are not in th­ese groups and are at con­sid­er­ably less risk of the dis­ease spread­ing to them. It’s a case of ‘no news is good news’ If you don’t hear from us, it means it’s not of im­me­di­ate con­cern for you,’’ Yard said.

PHOTO: GRANT MATTHEW/FAIRFAX NZ

The cow dis­ease My­coplasma has spread through calves be­ing moved to North Can­ter­bury.

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