23 Mar 2018

Farmers face checkpoints in effort to stop cattle disease

5:56 pm on 23 March 2018

A checkpoint is being set up in Picton to make sure farmers' records are up to date, in an effort to stop the spread of the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis across the Cook Strait

Cow beef cattle generic

Photo: 123RF

The Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor, who made the annoucement today, said farmers' neglect of the animal tracking system, NAIT, had made it very hard to stop the spread of the disease.

A review of NAIT found only 57 percent of farmers who record their animal movements, do so within the required 48 hours.

"NAIT is an important part of our biosecurity net and it needs improvement,

"Mycoplasma bovis is mostly spread through movement of infected cattle from farm to farm. This means cattle traceability between properties is critical to finding all affected animals, and stopping further infection," he said.

Mr O'Connor said the checkpoint, run by the Ministry for Primary Industries, would be based where trucks stop in the upper South Island and would check that farmers moving cattle from the South to the North Island comply with their legal obligations under the NAIT Act.

He said it was likely checkpoints would be extended to other parts of the country and there would be fines for farmers who don't comply with NAIT regulations.

In total, 33 properties have been confirmed infected with Mycoplasma bovis, however the ministry has merged several farms and culled stock from others.

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