Test and record to reduce risk

Date 6 October 2016

Farmers buying, selling or leasing bulls this season need to manage their TB risk.

New Zealand’s world-leading TBfree programme has made great progress towards its ultimate goal of TB eradication, and has this year been able to revoke some movement control areas. However, vigilance is still paramount.

Dr Gillian Atkinson, Area Disease Manager with OSPRI which manages the TBfree programme, says that the movement of bulls to sales and between farms carries some disease risk.

Farm businesses are dependent on minimising risk, and anyone involved in cattle farming over the past 20 years will know that the impact of TB in a cattle herd can be devastating for farming families and businesses.

This makes it really important to check the animal status declarations (ASD) that register an animal’s TB status and provides a traceable record for every animal recorded in the NAIT system.

Bulls must be accompanied by an Animal Status Declaration form. Make sure you send and receive yours and check that the TB section is complete. This records the last TB test date and the TB status of the herd. All cattle moving from a Movement Control Area (MCA) are required to be TB tested within 60 days prior to movement.

Bulls being sold or leased as service bulls may be tested as part of the TBfree scheme provided they are 12 months of age or older and have not been tested within the last six months.

“Bull breeders should ideally organise a TB test for all service bulls before selling or leasing them to herd owners, testing as many animals as possible at the same time. There is no fee for the test and it gives the buyer or receiving herd owner some peace of mind.” Dr Atkinson says booking any testing as early as possible ensures adequate time to resolve any issues.

Buyers and sellers must also ensure every movement is recorded in the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme. Traceability helps contain the spread of disease and ensures quick and effective response to any outbreak.

“Stock movements increase the opportunity for disease to spread. Don’t be complacent, do your checks and reduce risk,” Dr Atkinson says.

For any advice or information on NAIT ahead of the bull sales, call OSPRI on 0800 482 463

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