Tuesday, 24 November 2020 13:55

The long shadow of M.bovis - Editorial

Written by  Staff Reporters
To date, $349.6 million has been spent by the government on operational costs of the response. To date, $349.6 million has been spent by the government on operational costs of the response.

OPINION: More than three years on, Mycoplasma bovis continues to cast a shadow over some farms.

 While a lot of effort has gone into eradicating the disease, and there have been some major achievements, new cases show there is still some way to go before we see off M. bovis.

And judging by sentiments expressed by mid-Canterbury farmer Duncan Barr (our cover story), farmers are being left with deep mental scars, thanks in some part to the bureaucratic process.

For the Government, and the Ministry of Primary Industries, it will be worth taking note of Duncan Barr’s comments.

Many frontline staff had little idea about farming, and he says he was asked about the incidence of mastitis in bulls, when steers would be calving, and whether newborn calves had been in contact with cows.

Is this another example of how far Wellington remains from farmers?

Another organisation that should take note of Duncan Barr’s comments is DairyNZ.

It has been working closely with MPI and in its latest update says there has been significant progress made in driving down the number of farms affected by M. bovis.

However, clearly more needs to be done. Providing more assistance to farmers who have been through the harrowing experience of dealing with M. bovis on their farms would be a good start.

Farmers support the Government’s plan to eradicate M. bovis; they are forking out $272 million for the 10-year programme to attempt a world-first eradication of the disease.

To date, $349.6 million has been spent on operational costs from the start of the response (July 2017), including programme operational costs like testing, on-farm operational costs, building leases, transport, capital expenditure, contractors, staff salaries, and technology and information management systems.
This also includes $94.3 million spent on the response prior to the decision to eradicate. Farmers have received $184.9 million in compensation to date.

Everyone deserves kudos for the eradication effort, which has not been without substantial challenges and the impact on affected farmers could not be under-estimated.

Allowing the disease to spread would have caused lost productivity in our vital cattle sectors and affected the economy.

The next 12 months would be about ensuring that all infected herds had been found.

It will also require stakeholders working closely with farmers as well to minimise effect on their mental health.

More like this

New investment in spirulina production

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Sustainable Food & Fibres Futures Fund will invest in a project to assess the viability of larger scale production of spirulina in New Zealand.

Strategies at play

Former Fonterra Shareholders Council chairman and Waipu farmer Simon Couper looks at the strategies of Fonterra's competitors to see how the co-op can strengthen its own strategies.

No outbreak, says MPI

Stuart Anderson, Ministry for Primary Industries Mycoplasma Bovis Programme Director, is assuring farmers that a recent increase in confirmed infected farms is only to be expected at this time of year.

Bovis Nightmare

The mental anguish of dealing with bureaucracy is the hard part of managing a Mycoplasma bovis infection, says Mid-Canterbury farmer and self-appointed advocate for the victims, Duncan Barr.


Not a very cherry start!

What was expected to be a bumper cherry crop this year has been badly hit by untimely wet weather.


Hort sector denied!

MPI has turned down a request from the horticulture sector to declare the recent hail and rainstorms, that decimated many orchards around the country and cost growers millions
of dollars in lost income, as an ‘adverse event’.

Pledge to end child labour in agriculture

The director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Qu Dongyu, has pledged to intensify efforts toward addressing child labour in agriculture through a dedicated work programme.


Expat workers ready for NZ

Dairy industry recruitment company Rural People Limited is seeing a huge increase in overseas interest to fill New Zealand farming…

Machinery & Products

Kubota ROPS tractors here

Kubota New Zealand product specialist Shaun Monteith says Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) tractors make up 30% of all tractors in…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Dung paint

India now has its own cow dung paint, a world-first. 

Fresh for 60 days

A Queensland-based company is set to release its own production of milk this year that stays fresh for at least…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter