No increase in stock numbers in the sheep and beef sector is anticipated as the industry moves towards carbon neutrality, says Beef + Lamb NZ head of nutrition Fiona Windle.
As part of the Mycoplasma bovis response, beef producers are being asked to approve an increase in the maximum biosecurity levy for cattle from $0.45/head to $2/head at slaughter.
“The M. bovis response has been a difficult time for farmers whose farms are impacted by the response,” says BLNZ chairman Andrew Morrison.
“Technical challenges with tracing and diagnosing the disease, and issues with the processes involved in the response, have highlighted the importance of the beef sector being part of the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) on biosecurity so that we ensure the voices of our farmers are being properly taken into account during the response.”
Morrison says the consultation also contains a proposal to raise the maximum amount payable under GIA to $5 million per year, which would enable BLNZ to pay the costs of the M. bovis response as they are incurred.
“Under the previous maximum biosecurity levy of $0.45/head for cattle, it would have taken nearly 25 years to repay the industry’s share of the M. bovis response – estimated at up to $17 million over 10 years,” he explains.
The consultation also seeks to set different levy rates for different classes of cattle. For example, dairy cull cattle will not be levied for the M. bovis response, but could face a beef biosecurity levy in the future for other potential incursions affecting the beef trade, such as BSE.
Farmers should by now have consultation documents by mail, and have until June 7 to provide feedback, either by returning the documents or by completing the form online at www.beeflambnz.com/mbovis2019.
Morrison says the BLNZ board is expected to announce its decision in July, with the new levy taking effect later in the year. He says the specific timing is yet to be determined but will be done in consultation with MPI and the meat processing companies.