The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and its farming industry partners have taken the next step in the phased eradication of Mycoplasma bovis by starting a survey of about 200 calf rearing properties across the country.
National controller Geoff Gwyn says MPI started contacting owners of the selected calf rearing properties this week.
The test involves a simple one-off nasal swab on calves at the property.
Mr Gwyn stresses that the properties selected are not suspected of having Mycoplasma bovis. Rather, it is an opportunity to provide further assurances to these farmers.
"The identified properties have no connection to other properties which are being tested or at risk of having M. bovis," he says.
"In fact, if properties are connected to M. bovis properties they are being discounted from this survey as we will already be testing them as part of the response.
"This will give us some indication about the prevalence of M. bovis in beef herds."
There are several benefits for the response and New Zealand as a whole by targeting calf rearing properties.
"It captures both animal movements and milk supply, the two high-risk pathways of infection.
"By targeting around 200 farms which source calves from at least 5 different locations, we are actually targeting at least 1,000 farms as the source farms will also have some assurance they are M. bovis free," Mr Gwyn says.