National beef survey supports Mycoplasma bovis eradication

Date 22 January 2020

OSPRI's work in disease management is expanding to support the Mycoplasma bovis programme led by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

OSPRI's contracted TB testers, AsureQuality, will soon begin testing for Mycoplasma bovis in beef herds when they carry out routine TB testing. This is intended to minimise on-farm disruption.

Plans to progress the national surveillance of the beef industry were highlighted in the latest report from the independent Technical Advisory Group, released in October 2019.

Over the next 12 months, the M bovis Programme intends to test 2,500 farms that have not previously been part of the Programme.

 “Results from the ongoing sampling and monitoring of incoming feedlot cattle gives us confidence the infection is not common in beef breeding herds,” says MPI’s Chief Science Advisor Dr John Roche. 

 “This national screening of beef cattle will allow us to determine if there is any unexpected infection in the beef industry, and, at a later date, will help provide confidence that we are free from the disease,” says Dr Roche. 

 In order to minimise the pressure placed on farming operations additional mustering of stock will not usually be required for this testing as sampling of beef cattle will be conducted at the same time that OSPRI takes samples from animals as part of the TBfree Programme. 

 Testing will use the current ELISA blood test to determine whether herds may have been exposed to M bovis. Some farms may require additional testing to determine their status. Farms determined to be infected will be managed under the existing processes of the M bovis Programme. 

 The Programme has an established range of support measures, from on-farm advice, access to welfare and compensation, through to recovery expertise to help those affected get back to business.