A Mid-Canterbury dairy property has become the first to be confirmed with Mycoplasma bovis this year.
The infection was found in a spring-calving herd during routine bulk tank milk (BTM) screening.
Movement restrictions have also been placed on a small number of associated properties that have had known cattle movements from the confirmed property in the past year.
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Mycoplasma bovis eradication programme director Simon Andrew says while the M bovis programme is on the brink of eradication it is expected that more infected properties will pop up.
But Andrew says it is not a concern.
“We expect to find small pockets of infection and the latest find in Canterbury shows our BTM screening system is working.
“The BTM programme provides confidence that Mbovis is not widespread and we remain on track for eradication, as shown by our very low rate of case finds from testing, Andrew said.
He says based on previous years, it is known that autumn and spring are the peak periods for detects picked up from the BTM screening and it is not unexpected to find infected farms at this time.
“With our network and background surveillance operating as they should, along with the commitment of farmers, industry and rural communities, we are still on track to be the first country in the world to eradicate M bovis.
“It’s important to note, we are still in the delimiting phase for Mycoplasma bovis eradication and there is still work ahead of us, so good biosecurity practices and use of Nait remain important.”
The M bovis programme is committed to working closely with the farmer on the latest confirmed property, Andrew said.
This property is the first to become an active confirmed property in 2022.
Movement restrictions have been placed on a small number of associated properties that have had known cattle movements from the confirmed property in the past year.
“We are also investigating backward traces to determine where the infection may have come from, but it is likely to be linked to animal movements,” Andrew said.
BTM screening takes samples each month at the point of collection as part of the normal milk collection process.
Samples are then screened for M bovis antibodies and results indicate whether an on-farm investigation is needed.
Recent MPI analysis of screening data found detection of the infection is higher in the first 30 days of milking.
As a result, from July to September, fortnightly BTM screening will be implemented.
The confirmed result is the first for 2022, and brings the current number of properties with active infections in New Zealand to two, second being the Five Start beef Feedlot in Mid Canterbury confirmed infected back in 2018.