Regis­ter to stop dis­ease spread

Whangarei Report - - LOCAL NEWS -

A North­land dairy farm­ing leader is call­ing on those buy­ing and sell­ing live­stock to regis­ter for their Na­tional An­i­mal Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and Trac­ing (NAIT) num­ber to pre­vent the spread of My­coplasma bo­vis.

Fed­er­ated Farm­ers North­land dairy chair­man Ash­ley Cullen said some dairy and dry stock beef farm­ers in the re­gion were still not taking the dis­ease se­ri­ously de­spite out­breaks in other parts of the coun­try.

The Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries this week con­firmed an un­named prop­erty with about 50 beef cat­tle in North­land, be­lieved to be in the Kaipara, has tested pos­i­tive for M. bo­vis. It's the first time the bac­te­rial dis­ease has been con­firmed in the re­gion.

Cullen said since the dis­ease was found on a beef farm, it would be a lot eas­ier to con­tain or erad­i­cate the dis­ease than if it was dis­cov­ered on a dairy farm.

“The big­gest worry is if the in­fected farm is close to a farm that's sell­ing bulls for mat­ing. Bull sales start next week,” he said.

Cullen said own­ers of the in­fected farm would be go­ing through “hell and back”, with huge lev­els of stress.

“In say­ing that, there are still some farm­ers in North­land that are not taking M. bo­vis se­ri­ously, es­pe­cially those sell­ing calves. They need to make sure the per­son that's buy­ing them is reg­is­tered with NAIT,” he said.

“There are a lot of lifestyle blocks here and some might have that (many cows) while some are not in­ter­ested. They should get their records up to date. It's not dif­fi­cult to be com­pli­ant.”

In­fringe­ment fees for of­fences un­der NAIT range between $150 and $1000.

Cullen said it took min­utes to regis­ter for NAIT on­line and he has urged North­land farm­ers to do so ir­re­spec­tive of how many an­i­mals they have.

Ac­cord­ing to Dairy NZ, there were 308,587 dairy cows and 1030 herds in North­land — in­clud­ing Rod­ney Dis­trict — last year.

Most, if not all, of the roughly 50 in­fected beef cat­tle on the North­land farm will be culled at freez­ing works.

The farm, as with all other in­fected prop­er­ties, was iden­ti­fied through the trac­ing of an­i­mals move­ments from known in­fected farms and is un­der a Re­stricted Place le­gal no­tice un­der the Biose­cu­rity Act 1993.

MPI has placed the prop­erty in quar­an­tine lock­down, re­strict­ing the move­ment of an­i­mals and other risk goods on and off the farm.

Ash­ley Cullen

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