22 Dec 2017

Mycoplasma-struck Hawke's Bay farm named

9:02 am on 22 December 2017

Many Hawke's Bay farmers' concerns about how mycoplasma bovis spreads have been put at ease after the information session with officials in Napier last night.

Farmers at the mycoplasma bovis meeting in Napier.

Farmers at the mycoplasma bovis meeting in Napier. Photo: Supplied

About 250 farmers went to the public meeting with the Ministry for Primary Industries officials last night in Napier. It's the second such meeting this week after a packed session in Winton, Southland.

The Rural Support Trust confirmed at the meeting last night the infected farm in Hawke's Bay is owned by Jeremy and Sharon White in Patoka.

It's the only identified infected farm in the North Island, and all properties with the disease are linked to the Van Leeuwen Dairy Group in South Canterbury.

First discovered in July, twelve farms from Southland to Hawke's Bay are now infected. The disease can cause lameness, mastitis and abortions in cows, but poses no risk to people.

Hastings district dairy farmer and rural board member, Nick Dawson, said the key concern from farmers at the meeting was how contagious the disease is.

MPI, Federated Farmers and the Rural Support Trust front to farmers about mycoplasma bovis at a meeting in Napier.

MPI, Federated Farmers and the Rural Support Trust front to farmers about mycoplasma bovis at a meeting in Napier. Photo: Supplied

Mr Dawson, who also farms in Patoka, said the meeting helped farmers understand how the disease works.

"Worried about how contagious it is ... is it contagious on trucks ... a lot of answers put our minds at ease about it not being a very transferrable disease.

"Everyone is worried they will get it, but it sounds very hard to transfer."

He said Jeremy and Sharon White were a young couple and only in their second year of farming.

"First year they had a drought, and this year they've got the mycoplasma bovis ... so it's been a tough learning curve for them.

"[They have] loads of support, lots of offers of help. The biggest worry is they have to start feeding all their animals on the farm, they're going to come under feed stress this summer."

Mr Dawson said MPI had decided not to cull their cows.

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