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National Beef and Drystock Cattle Surveillance

What is M. bovis National Beef and Drystock Cattle Surveillance

A comprehensive National Surveillance programme to assess the extent of the M. bovis infection in the New Zealand beef sector involves:

  • a national beef survey
  • sampling at meatworks
  • feedlot testing

National Beef and Drystock Cattle Surveillance for M. bovis is part of New Zealand’s comprehensive background surveillance to provide evidence that infection is not widely distributed among beef and drystock cattle in New Zealand.

So far, the findings indicate that M. bovis is not widespread in beef and drystock properties. National Beef and Drystock Cattle Surveillance will also be crucial in a “proving absence” phase once M. bovis is eradicated to provide confidence that New Zealand is free from the disease.

  • National Beef Survey

    How are properties selected for screening?

    Herds are not being tested because we think they are infected.

    The National Beef Survey is a risk-based surveillance, capturing properties across New Zealand and covering all production types. Sampling is more intense in regions and production types that historically have had a higher incidence of links to infected properties. 

    How does testing work?

    Cattle on beef and dry stock properties will be blood sampled during routine farm management procedures and tested for M. bovis. Veterinary practices will contact farms to arrange a suitable time for a sampling visit to occur ideally when other management procedures are underway.

    Blood samples will be collected by veterinarians and veterinary technicians, coordinated by SVS Laboratories.

    A single sample of blood will be taken from between 25 and 150 cattle that are yarded for a routine farm management procedure (pregnancy testing, drenching, vaccinating etc). Approximately 10ml of blood should be collected from the tail vein of each eligible cow.

    How will the samples be tested?

    All samples will be tested using a M. bovis ELISA test. This test determines the presence of antibodies to M. bovis.

    When will results be available?

    We aim to provide results within 14 business days of samples being taken. These will be reported for the group of cattle sampled and are provided by email to the tested property.

    Farmers need to be sure that the vet or vet tech has your current email address.

    The National Beef Survey is a screening test, not a final result. While most farms aren’t expected to return a positive result, some herds will require further testing to confirm their infection status.

    If the blood results indicate further testing is required, you will be contacted by phone within 14 business days.

    What if further test results are positive?

    Farms will enter the Mycoplasma bovis Eradication Programme, see our website below for more information.

    Learn more:

  • Feedlot testing

    Feedlot testing of incoming cattle will provide additional national surveillance of the beef sector, supplying vital information to help with the eradication programme.

    High volumes of cattle pass through feedlots. Testing cattle on arrival for M. bovis antibodies before they enter the feedlot can increase identification of farms with infected herds.

    Traceability is a key part of managing the spread of M. bovis.

    The M. bovis Programme contact farms detected through the testing and follow-up with on-farm testing to establish disease status.




  • There's still a risk of bringing infection on to your farms. All farmers need to be take steps to protect their herds. See further biosecurity advice.
  • NAIT compliance is a vital part of helping us achieve eradication – please tag every animal, register it into the system, and record every movement between NAIT locations.


Learn more about the National Beef and Drystock Cattle Surveillance:


Farmer tip

If you’re affected by the M. bovis eradication Programme make the most of your professional team. Your vet, bank manager and farm consultant can give you advice and support. They also understand the need to treat this information confidentially. MPI won’t contact any third party organisations about your situation without your consent. You can also find advice & support here.



Find out more