Government set to eradicate mycoplasma bovis

The disease has now been traced to the Southland farm of Alfons Zeestraten at least back to December 2015. MPI says

The New Zealand government is taking drastic measures to try and end a bacterial disease that is plaguing the nation's cattle. There is also an impact on production that has serious ramifications for farmers, the dairy sector and our economy.

Damien O'Connor said it was important all farmers showed a collective responsibility for the sake of the wider sector and get on-board with the eradication operation.

The New Zealand government is expected to foot two-thirds of the hefty $560 million tab, while the cattle industry will pay the remainder.

Tuffley said that in rough terms, a 30c lift in the milk price would offset the loss in revenue suffered from lower production. "So if we have an opportunity to be the country that eradicates this disease, then we'll take it".

Long-term management has a projected cost of $1.2 billion.

The cost of compensation to affected farmers is estimated at $870m, of which 68 percent will be borne by the Government and 38 percent by Dairy NZ and Beef and Lamb NZ. The farmer can not protest against the move as it is to protect the country from the spreading of the disease and in larger good of New Zealand, claimed its government.

The population of cows in New Zealand is nearly double than its human population.

More than 150,000 cows will be slaughtered over the next two years at a cost of NZ$880m (£459m), as the world's biggest dairy exporter attempts to deal with an outbreak of Mycoplasma disease.

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As at May 24, the number of infected farms was 37, in Waikato, Hawke's Bay, Manawatu, Canterbury, Otago and Southland. About 300 properties are in biosecurity lockdown and 858 are under surveillance.

She said eradication will require significant resources from Government and the industry. "The decision wasn't made lightly and reflects our hope that the disease can be eradicated", said DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel. Today we have that certainty.

"Having this disease can be disastrous for a herd".

Decision-makers believed eradication was possible because Mycoplasma bovis was "not widespread", infected properties were all connected through animal movements and there was just one strain of the disease, but acknowledged it would be challenging and required collaboration. "Everyone down here has been reasonably keen to manage it instead of eradication drive".

Last July, Mycoplasma bovis was found in the country for the first time.

The ambitious plan will see 126,000 cattle slaughtered on top of the 26,000 already killed or earmarked for death.

"Nothing prepares you for seeing the hard details and seeing the scale of it". We know that moving towards eradication will be a devastating decision for some, and will mean that thousands of animals will have to be culled.

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