Lifestyle farmers also have biosecurity role

by Anonymous Author

News that a lifestyle block in Rakaia with 24 animals has tested positive for Mycoplasma bovis shows that all cattle farming operations must take heed of the disease, according to Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson Chris Lewis.

Another lifestyle block near Inglewood is under Notice of Direction while follow-up testing is done.

“Big, small, lifestyle or intensive/extensive, any farm operation with cattle is at risk, and the owners and staff have a part to play in the biosecurity of the sector,” Mr Lewis says.

“Outside Canterbury and Southland it is understandable that many small block holders were not aware of the implications of Mycoplasma bovis for them.

“But there is a wealth of information out there, and everyone with cattle needs to do their homework.”

Stock movements carry the highest risk for spreading of Mycoplasma bovis. Restrictions have been placed on all known risk properties, so the risks of buying infected calves are low — but not zero.

“So ask before you buy, find out where the animals have come from, register yourself with NAIT, make sure the animals you are buying all have NAIT tags and don’t let them off the truck or pick them up unless they do,” Mr Lewis says.

He says feeding infected milk is the second highest risk of spreading M bovis.

“Milk that has the lowest risk of containing M bovis bacteria comes in the form of calf milk replacer powder, acidified milk or pasteurised milk.

“If you’re feeding whole milk, do not feed milk from cows under treatment for mastitis or other illnesses. This milk should be discarded. These cows are more likely to shed M bovis into their milk than healthy cows.”

There are many avenues for small block holders to get advice, including joining Federated Farmers.

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