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