Dairy in­dus­try to carry cost of M bo­vis

The Press - - Drive - Jim van der Poel, DairyNZ

es­ther.taun­[email protected]

Dairy farm­ers will foot 94 per cent of the in­dus­try bill for the phased erad­i­ca­tion of My­coplasma bo­vis, with beef farm­ers pay­ing the re­main­der.

In May, the Gov­ern­ment an­nounced it would pay 68 per cent of the es­ti­mated $870 mil­lion needed to fight the cat­tle dis­ease, first iden­ti­fied in New Zealand last year.

The re­main­ing 32 per cent would be split be­tween dairy and beef farm­ers.

DairyNZ and Beef and Lamb New Zealand an­nounced this week the dairy in­dus­try would cover 94 per cent of in­dus­try costs and beef 6 per cent. In a joint state­ment, the boards said the fund­ing split had been reached af­ter ‘‘a chal­leng­ing but con­struc­tive process’’.

Both sup­ported the view of an in­de­pen­dent panel that the split rep­re­sented a rea­son­able al­lo­ca­tion for the costs of the M bo­vis re­sponse, con­sid­er­ing the rel­a­tive eco­nomic size of the two sec­tors, the risk of in­fec­tion and the po­ten­tial eco­nomic im­pacts for both sec­tors.

DairyNZ chair­man Jim van der Poel said the or­gan­i­sa­tion was grate­ful for pub­lic and Gov­ern­ment sup­port for the erad­i­ca­tion ef­fort.

‘‘If we hadn’t moved to erad­i­ca­tion, the al­ter­na­tive – to do noth­ing and let this dis­ease spread through­out our stock – would have been a se­ri­ous chal­lenge and the costs higher, es­ti­mated at $1.3 bil­lion. This was the bet­ter out­come.’’

The dairy sec­tor would fund ap­prox­i­mately $272m for the 10-year erad­i­ca­tion pro­gramme, van der Poel said.

Farm­ers would be con­sulted on how a biose­cu­rity levy to meet the costs could work.

As an in­di­ca­tion, a levy of about

2.6 cents per kilo­gram of milk­solids over three years would cover the costs in­curred so far and up to June

2020. That worked out to about $4100 per year for an av­er­age size farm.

Beef and Lamb chair­man An­drew Mor­ri­son said the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s farm­ers would pay $17.4m over the 10 years.

‘‘Though the fi­nal to­tal cost of the phased erad­i­ca­tion pro­gramme is de­pen­dent on a num­ber of fac­tors, hav­ing a split agreed by in­dus­tries means we can now cal­cu­late pos­si­ble levy rates and start con­sult­ing with farm­ers about the prac­ti­cal­i­ties of meet­ing the beef sec­tor’s share of costs of the re­sponse,’’ he said.

The cost per head of beef cat­tle would de­pend on the time­frame cho­sen by farm­ers to spread the to­tal cost, in­clud­ing the sec­tor’s share of the $11.2m al­ready in­curred.

Al­ter­na­tively, costs could be av­er­aged out over a two- or three­year pe­riod and a lower levy paid over a longer pe­riod of time.

The Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries’ lat­est sit­u­a­tion re­port on the erad­i­ca­tion re­sponse has the to­tal num­ber of in­fected prop­er­ties at 75, with 33 of th­ese be­ing ‘‘ac­tive’’ in­fected prop­er­ties where they have yet to be de­pop­u­lated, cleaned, and have their re­stric­tions lifted.

HEATHER CHALMERS/STUFF

The ef­fect of the My­coplasma bo­vis out­break could be seen at last month’s New Zealand Agri­cul­tural Show in Christchurch, where cat­tle num­bers were down about 30 per cent.

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