MPI update on Mycoplasma bovis response

Date 6 July 2018

The Ministry for Primary industries (MPI) recently sent a letter and supporting questions and answers (Q&A) to all farmers, providing them an update on MPI’s progress towards eradicating Mycoplasma bovis.

OSPRI is keen to ensure all farmers receive this, so is also sending this directly to all dairy and beef farmers.

The full letter is below and you can find the supporting Q&A’s here.

MPI letter to all dairy and beef farmers

It is now a month since the decision was made to attempt eradication of Mycoplasma bovis, so we want to give you an update on progress.

We have been working hard to hunt down the disease. Where it has been found, we have been working closely with affected farmers to eradicate it from their farms and return them to business as usual as fast as we can.

We have also been out and about at very well-attended meetings around the country, talking to hundreds of dairy and beef farmers.

Naturally, everybody has lots of questions. So we thought we would take this opportunity to cover off some of the issues that have been raised with us in this update.

We’re making good progress. At the time of writing, some key numbers are:

  • Since July last year, we have found over 50 properties where Mycoplasma bovis has been confirmed (these are called Infected Properties)
  • Put in perspective, this is out of more than 20,000 dairy and beef farms nationally
  • Over half of those Infected Properties have had their cattle culled and been moved into a process of cleaning, disinfection and laying fallow for 60 days
  • We have finished this process on 11 of those, meaning those farmers have had controls lifted and can now restock
  • Overall there are currently some 180 properties where we have restricted the movement of animals on or off the farm – this includes the Infected Properties and properties where we have a strong suspicion that Mycoplasma bovis is present
  • About 20% of those are in the North Island and 80% in the South Island
  • Four weeks ago, we had about 300 properties under movement restrictions
  • We have been able to reduce the number of properties under movement restrictions, because of progress in our testing, where suspect farms have tested clear, restrictions have been lifted and they go back to normal farming.

We are pleased with this progress, but clearly there is a long way to go in this eradication programme. We expect to find new Infected Properties, some of which may be in new areas.

The fight against Mycoplasma bovis is a joint effort with DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand, and with significant support from Federated Farmers, Rural Support Trusts, Rural Women NZ, the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand, the New Zealand Veterinary Association, and the Meat Industry Association.

We are all grateful for the support and commitment of farmers to this fight for a Mycoplasma bovis-free New Zealand. I will continue to keep you posted about progress.

Kind regards,

Geoff Gwyn
Director Readiness & Response – Mycoplasma bovis


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