Danger in buying Friesians from farms outside Northland region
A Northland vet helping a beef farmer deal with Mycoplasma bovis is warning farmers about the dangers of buying friesian bulls from outside the region.
Dargaville Veterinary Centre manager Brian Lowe said there were truck-and-trailer loads of friesian bulls from highrisk areas such as Canterbury heading to Northland that placed the community at risk.
Lowe revealed at a public meeting organised by the Ministry of Primary Industries last Friday that the only farm that tested positive for M. bovis was in Dargaville but no others were at risk. However, there would be risk if local farmers continued to buy animals cheaper from other regions using stock agents from those areas.
The first confirmed case of M. bovis was found just east of Dargaville on a dry stock farm with about 50 friesian bulls born in Canterbury but bought from Waikato around April this year.
Lowe said some of the animals on the infected farm suffered from theileria — a tick-borne disease caused by an intracellular blood parasite. Normally cows in Northland could recover relatively easily, but when these animals did not get better Dargaville Vets were contacted.
An inspection of the name tags and their movement revealed the animals had come to Waikato from Canterbury, where 32 farms were infected with M. bovis — the highest number in New Zealand.