- MPI - Commercial Mycoplasma bovis testing being developed (18 April)
- DairyNZ – Independent Technical Advisory Group report signals Mycoplasma bovis eradication is possible but challenging (28 March)
- MPI - Technical advice and pathway tracing reports released following compliance searches (28 March)
Protect your farm and animals
Download the Biosecurity WOF. Developed with farmers, for farmers. We recommend that you ask your veterinarian to help you work through this check list.
Download the Protecting your farm – biosecurity checklist to identify ways you can help protect your farm from diseases, weeds and pests.
Managing dairy farm changeovers in May/June 2018
Changing farms this coming May/June requires extra special precautions because of M. bovis.
There are some simple precautions sharemilkers, contract milkers and farm owners can take to minimise the risk of bringing it on farm:
You are a farm owner, looking to bring on a new contract milker or sharemilker
- Ask where any incoming stock are coming from.
- Ask for bulk milk M. bovis test results of the source herd(s) if available.
- Ask if the stock have been mingling with other cattle – can you get any information about these other herds, such as bulk milk testing results?
- Ask about the health of the incoming stock – including calf health, mastitis, pneumonia, ear infections, swollen joints.
- Ask if the NAIT recordings have been completed for all cow, calf, cattle movements.
- Set aside land where new animals can be kept, separate to stock already on farm, for seven days for quarantine purposes.
- Check to see that all equipment coming on farm is clean and dry.
- Inform the incoming sharemilker or contract milker about any M. bovis tracing by MPI that has been carried out on the farm, and any instructions given by MPI that may affect how the herd is managed.
You are a sharemilker or contract milker, shifting onto a new farm
- Buy animals from as few different farms as possible. Ask for the bulk milk M. bovis test results of the 2017/18 herd if available
- Supply the farm owner with any M. bovis test results you may have.
- Ask if the herd has been mixed with any other animals in the past 12 months, including at wintering. Ask if it is possible to get the bulk milk M. bovis test results of that herd.
- Ask about the health of the cows and calves on the farm during the 2017/18 season – including calf health, mastitis, pneumonia, ear infections, swollen joints.
- Complete all NAIT movement recordings.
- When bringing new animals onto the farm, keep them separate from others for seven days and check them for signs of ill health.
- Clean and dry all incoming machinery and equipment.
- Ask if the farm has been subject to any tracing from MPI for M. bovis.
If moving animals for grazing - check the grazing property’s biosecurity health status. All M. bovis infected properties are under Restricted Place Notices under the Biosecurity Act. Ensure that the grazing property has good biosecurity measures in place, such as preventing your stock from having nose to nose contact with stock on the farm or neighbouring properties.
Check your boundary fences are secure
Put in double fencing at least two metres apart to stop nose to nose contact between you and your neighbour’s stock. Permanent is best but in the short term it can be simply putting a reel up if your neighbour’s stock are going to be in the adjacent paddock.
Complete NAIT records
Always complete your NAIT records and make sure if you have had movement over the last month they are correctly recorded. Knowing where your cows have been is crucial to understanding and preventing the spread of disease.
If bringing in supplementary feed - there is no risk of M. bovis infection from bringing in hay or baleage from uninfected farms. If the feed is coming from a farm under a Notice of Direction or a Restricted Place Notice, confirm that it meets any conditions on the Notice.
What is Mycoplasma bovis:
- is a bacterial disease
- is commonly found in cattle all over the world, including in Australia, but this is the first detection of it in New Zealand. We were one of the last countries free of the disease - until now
- it does not infect humans and presents no food safety risk. There is no concern about eating meat, milk and milk products
- it does lead to serious conditions in cattle and therefore constitutes an animal welfare and productivity issue
- it spreads from animal to animal through close contact. Between farms it spreads through the movement of animals that are infected but may not be showing symptoms. It is also potentially spread on contaminated equipment and the feeding of untreated milk to calves. It is not windborne.
- while some of the conditions can be treated, affected cattle will always be carriers of the disease
- the disease does not affect sheep or cause illness in goats although it is thought goats could carry and transmit it.
How does it affect cows:
- untreatable mastitis in dairy and beef cows
- severe pneumonia in up to 30% of infected calves, starting as a hacking cough
- ear infections in calves, the first sign typically being one droopy ear, progressing to ear discharges and in some cases a head tilt
- swollen joints and lameness (severe arthritis/synovitis) in all ages of cattle
- know the signs to look out for, download the 'Signs to look out for' poster. If stock show unusual levels of mastitis, abortions or present with arthritis or pneumonia, contact your vet.
- Mycoplasma bovis guidelines - Updated guidelines for protecting your farm from Mycoplasma bovis. (pdf)
- Cleaning poster - Info to help you protect your farm from disease (pdf)
- Pre-purchase checklist (Mycoplasma bovis) (pdf)
- Mycoplasma bovis advice on using imported or local semen (pdf)
- Managing service bulls (pdf)
Movement control notices issued by MPI
We've had some questions about the different notices that MPI can use to control the movement of animals and people on and off farm. These are the two types of notices under the Biosecurity Act that are issued to farms that are affected and farms that are suspected of being affected.
Restricted Place Notice… What is it?
- Restricted Place Notices (RPNs) are issued to properties that are believed to have, or are suspected of having Mycoplasma bovis present.
- The RPN prohibits all unauthorised movements of stock and other risk goods onto and off the farm to minimise the likelihood of the disease spreading from the property.
- Any movement of cattle requires a permit from MPI.
- Transport vehicles are required to follow a cleaning and disinfection process when they leave a Restricted Place.
- AsureQuality staff are ensuring cleaning and disinfecting and permit protocols are being met.
- All incidents of non-compliance are followed up by MPI.
Notice of Direction… What is it?
- Notice of directions (NoDs) are issued to farms when an inspector or authorised person considers that movement of stock and other risk goods from a property poses a risk of spreading Mycoplasma bovis. For example, this can be when animals from infected properties have been moved to that property but testing has not yet taken place or results of testing are pending.
- The NoD is aimed at preventing further spread and does not restrict movement of stock or goods on to the farm.
- Cattle can only move off the farm with a permit.
- Other steps such as cleaning and disinfection of vehicles may be required.
- All incidents of non-compliance are followed up by MPI.