The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is welcoming a huge drop in the number of farms under active surveillance for Mycoplasma bovis.
The report out today is from the independent Technical Advisory Group (TAG), which provides expert advice on progress and future actions in the M. bovis response programme.
In the report, TAG expresses increased confidence that eradication is achievable — good news for farmers and for New Zealanders.
“This confirms that we made the right decision in May in partnership with the Government and the beef sector to move to eradication. Removing the disease is preferable to allowing it to spread throughout the country,” says DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle.
DairyNZ says the alternative to eradication of letting the disease spread would have been a challenge and the costs would have been significantly higher. It adds that the evidence currently supports a relatively recent incursion into New Zealand and confirms there is no widespread, unlinked disease in the dairy herd population.
DairyNZ adds that available evidence suggests that the dairy industry is catching up with the animal movements which are spreading the disease. Genetic analysis also shows the industry is catching up with the spread of the infection.
“This is positive news. We want to see continued success as we work together to remove this disease,” Dr Mackle says.
TAG consists of New Zealand and international experts that provide MPI with independent advice on the feasibility of eradicating M. bovis from New Zealand, and other key areas affecting the response.
“It is very important we have independent and scientific analysis of the progress of the eradication programme to help ensure we are taking the right steps and to help us continually review progress and adapt the response,” Dr Mackle says.
DairyNZ is currently consulting dairy farmers on how the sector will pay its contribution to the M. bovis response. Read more about the proposed levy here.