7 Nov 2013

Farmers learning to manage new parasite strain

3:05 pm on 7 November 2013

Cattle farmers are having to learn some new pasture management tricks as the new strain of the parasite theileria establishes itself in the north of the country.

Theileria ikeda can make cattle anemic and kills more than 1% of the animals which catch it.

Dairy NZ's team leader of animal husbandry and welfare Nita Harding says there have been 245 confirmed outbreaks of theileria on farms.

Howver, the true number is likely to be much higher, she says, because farms are only confirmed if they have been hit severely and had blood samples sent to the laboratory.

Nita Harding says farmers are learning that pasture management is integral in trying to manage the ticks that spread theileria ikdea.

She says shorter pastures help, as ticks do not like to be dried out. Longer, damper paddocks are much more favourable for the ticks.