The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) confirms that the bacterial cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis is present on a farm in the Ashburton area.
The Ministry's response incident controller David Yard says milk sampling carried out by the dairy industry just before Christmas revealed a suspected positive result and MPI's Animal Health Laboratory testing has just confirmed this.
"The affected farm and an associated property have been under controls since Christmas Eve as a precautionary measure. No animals or other risk goods such as used farm equipment have been allowed on or off the property during this time and these controls stand," Mr Yard says.
There has been no sign of any illness in any of the approximately 600 animals on the property.
Mr Yard says that as a result of the new find, MPI is now tracing animal movements on and off the farm to determine if there are links to other affected properties. MPI will carry out checks and testing on some 30 other farms that have had some association with the affected property.
"Farmers in the area who have had some connection with the affected property will be contacted and those who do not hear from us in the next couple of weeks should consider they are under no increased risk from this most recent detection. However, if they have concerns or questions, they can contact us on 0800 00 83 33 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org".
MPI is also continuing tests on another Ashburton area farm that had previously returned inconclusive results. As yet, this farm is not regarded as positive, although it is under control just in case.
"MPI and its industry partners in the response understand how worrying this new detection is to the farming community. Planning is underway for 2 public meetings in Methven and Ashburton on Thursday 11 January to outline the situation. In addition, the meetings will cover plans to test bulk milk and 'discard milk' (milk unsuitable for collection, for example, from cows with mastitis) from farms in the area."
Further details of the meetings will be provided when arrangements are finalised.
The current number of infected properties now stands at 14:
- 9 in South Canterbury
- 3 in Southland
- 1 in Ashburton
- 1 in Hawkes Bay.