Dairy farmer Phil Riley runs a dairy farm in the Wangapeka Valley in Tasman, on the fringes of the Kahurangi National Park.
He and his wife Jocelyn milk 1000 cows at home, with another block under management a few kilometres down the road and a couple of runoff blocks.
TB testing dairy cattle before any movement off the farm has been part of the operation for the 22 years the Rileys have farmed there. But the movement control area will shortly be revoked.
From March 1, pre-movement stock testing will no longer be required across an area of 178,000ha, impacting on 156 cattle herds and six deer herds. That means a reduction of about 10,600 tests each year.
“A lot of us had got used to it and it’s just another job you have to do on the farm,” says Phil. “But it’s great to see the back of it, because it makes it that bit more difficult if you happen to be selling your farm or stock.
“We’ve only got to look at the progress the TBfree programme has made in the past 10 years to see that as we get better at establishing where the risk is, movement control areas will get smaller and smaller.”
Phil says knowing the source of TB infection and continuing to tackle any disease at the source is key.
“Our TB has come from possums out of the Kahurangi National Park and that connects us to the West Coast where TB-infected possums are still a problem. The pest control the TBfree programme has done in the park has knocked it back in Tasman to the point where the movement control area can be fully lifted. That’s a major step forward.”
For more information on the TBfree programme, visit ospri.co.nz.
This article was originally published in Inside Dairy April 2016