The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) urges dairy or beef farmers who believe they may have animals that could be at high risk for Mycoplasma bovis infection to make contact immediately.
The Ministry’s Director of Response, Geoff Gwyn, says MPI is accelerating its tracing and surveillance programme so that a decision whether to proceed with eradication can be made as soon as possible.
“Right now, we need to hear from any farmers who have bought cows and calves or milk for calf feed from farms that have been publicly identified as infected.
“If these farmers haven’t already heard from us through our tracing work, we would dearly like to hear from them.”
Farmers can call MPI’s confidential freephone – 0800 80 99 66.
Mr Gwyn says MPI is especially interested to hear from people who have received cattle or calves from Southland-based Southern Centre Dairies Limited at any time after 1 January 2016 and have not already been contacted by the Ministry.
“In addition we need to hear from farmers who have used milk from Southern Centre Dairies Limited for calf feed since January 2016,” Mr Gwyn says.
“It’s very important that we hear from these farmers, or any farmer whose animals are showing signs of the disease. Our vast surveillance effort to date has found Mycoplasma bovis infection on just 24 farms. But we can’t get rid of it if we leave any stone unturned. We need these farmers to support all New Zealand beef and dairy farmers and help us find and beat this.”
Mr Gwyn says the owners of Southern Centre Dairies have been supportive of the response activity happening on their farms.
"This is a really tough time for them and I thank them for their ongoing cooperation. This is a situation that any farmer in New Zealand could find themselves in so I encourage their community to continue to rally around them and give them support.”