Friday, July 1, 2022

Be mindful of M bovis this Moving Day

Farmers are being urged to review their biosecurity practices while moving their animals on Moving Day. 

M bovis programme director Simon Andrew says good planning and communication will help ensure a smooth Moving Day on June 1.

“Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of farmers and the wider agricultural sector, we have made good progress toward eradicating M bovis since it was first detected in New Zealand in 2017. 

“We are now aiming to move from delimiting – controlling the last known pockets of M bovis, to gathering negative test result data to support a statement of provisional absence of M bovis,” Andrew said. 

Good biosecurity practices remain essential to fighting the disease. 

“If left unchecked, the disease could have cost industry an estimated $1.2 billion over the first 10 years with ongoing productivity losses across the farming sector and animal welfare concerns. 

“Good on-farm biosecurity practices that help to control the spread of M bovis will also help limit the spread of other diseases as well,” Andrew said. 

As well as taking steps to stay infection-free, farmers must record all movements in the National Animal Identification Tracing (Nait) system. 

“The main way M bovis spreads is when infected cattle are introduced into, or have close and ongoing contact with, an uninfected herd. 

“Likewise, when the disease is detected, the rapid detection of infected herds is critical,” Andrew said.

Keeping up with Nait requirements of tagging, registering and recording the movements of stock is important but equally important is to do the same for all incoming cattle. 

As well as Nait, farmers should consider other steps to stay infection free. 

Andrew advises farmers to talk with veterinarians, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ about ways to reduce the risk of M bovis and build those into biosecurity plans and animal health plans.

Good biosecurity practices

Run cattle in management units that don’t mix. Minimise introductions and keep any introductions low risk (for example, keep mobs separate for their duration on grazing blocks).

Secure boundaries through fencing. Make sure nose-to-nose contact is not possible between cattle held on neighbouring properties.

Keep Nait updated. Nait is a legal requirement and key to good biosecurity, as it makes it easier and faster to trace animals. If you send animals off your property, you must record a “sending movement” with Nait within 48 hours. 

If you receive animals on to your property, you must confirm you have received them within 48 hours. You also need to record things like deaths and missing animals. 

For more information on Nait requirements over Moving Day go to: Moving Day — moving animals or farm | OSPRI. Remember the important Nait timeframes to ensure you remain compliant. 

Ensure any equipment or biological products you bring on-farm are M bovis-free. Make sure equipment, such as borrowed milk feeding equipment, is clean and disinfected prior to use on your property. 

Avoid trading colostrum and milk – the lowest risk for spread of M bovis is calf milk replacer. 

Make sure donor bulls have been tested for M bovis and if you use AI ask your semen supplier what assurance they can provide that the semen is free of M bovis.

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