In the report, TAG expresses increased confidence that eradication is achievable, which is good news for farmers and for New Zealanders.
“This confirms that we made the right decision in May in partnership with the Government and the beef sector to move to eradication. Removing the disease is preferable to allowing it to spread throughout the country,” DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says.
If we hadn’t moved to eradication, the alternative – to let this disease spread throughout our stock – would have been a serious challenge and the costs significantly higher.
The evidence supports a relatively recent incursion into New Zealand and confirms there is no widespread, unlinked disease in the dairy herd population. The available evidence suggests that we are catching up with the animal movements which are spreading the disease. The genetic analysis also shows we are catching up with the spread of the infection.
“This is positive news. We want to see continued success as we work together to remove this disease,” Dr Mackle says.
TAG consists of New Zealand and international experts that provide MPI with independent advice on the feasibility of eradicating M. bovis from New Zealand, and other key areas affecting the response.
“It is very important we have independent and scientific analysis of the progress of the eradication programme to help ensure we are taking the right steps and to help us continually review progress and adapt the response,” Dr Mackle says.
DairyNZ is currently consulting dairy farmers on how the sector will pay its contribution to the M. bovis response. The Government, dairy and beef sectors are each paying a share, with the Government paying the majority.
For dairy farmers it is proposed that they pay the biosecurity response levy, set at a maximum of 3.9 cents per kilogram of milksolids (MS) with the amount reviewed annually. Once the costs of the M. bovis response are recovered over two years, the levy will reduce significantly (unless there is another biosecurity response required).
DairyNZ has posted information packs to all dairy farmers, outlining details of the proposed levy and how it will be collected. The information is also on the DairyNZ website at dairynz.co.nz/GIA and at farmer meetings that will be held throughout the country from 18 to 22 February.
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