Use our visual guide to see how the Mycoplasma bovis Programme works.
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The M. bovis Programme is a Government Industry Agreement between MPI, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand. It's co-funded, governed and operated by these three organisations in partnership.
Allowing M. bovis to spread would cause an estimated $1.3 billion in lost productivity over the next ten years. Eradicating it will protect the productivity of the cattle sectors, reduce our reliance on antibiotics, and ensure animal welfare.
There has only been one strain of M. bovis found in New Zealand, and we're confident that there's only been a single incursion in late 2015. It's not widespread, and is transmitted by direct and prolonged contact with infected cattle, or calves drinking infected milk.
The Programme identifies high risk farms, primarily by tracing cattle movements, and then tests their cattle to determine if they are infected.
The Programme also uses a variety of National Surveillance methods like Bulk Tank Milk Surveillance which allows us to identify possibly infected farms faster than we could find them by tracing cattle movements.
The Programme involves tracing all potentially infected cattle. Herds are tested for the infection and infected herds are culled.
Cattle showing signs they could be infected with M. bovis (clinical cases) are also investigated.
The Programme includes ongoing national surveillance including bulk milk testing and on-farm testing. This will continue until no further evidence of infection is found.
Culling of infected herds is done in cooperation with affected farmers, helping to lessen the impact on farmers by allowing for flexibility in timing, which can help to offset production losses.
For example, providing biosecurity controls are met, dairy farmers can milk out the season, or beef farmers can finish their cattle before slaughter.
The Programme has a wide range of activities aimed at identifying possible instances of infection and ensuring appropriate measures are taken to eradicate bacteria on properties where infection is confirmed.
These activities, which will continue until no further evidence of infection is found, include:
Farms directly involved in the Programme (i.e. those that are subject to Programme surveillance) will fall into one of the following categories:
The vast majority of farms in New Zealand do not have M. bovis, but they may be subject to national surveillance activities, such as bulk tank milk testing for dairy farms, and national beef surveillance for beef farms.
Farms are placed under Active Surveillance when risk of infection is low, but testing is necessary to ensure that there is no infection in the cattle on the farm.
These properties require at least one to two rounds of testing. The farms aren’t under any movement restrictions and can operate as usual, while initial testing is carried out.
Where the risk of M. bovis infection is considered high, the property will be put under Notice of Direction (NOD).
This includes farms where:
The NOD stops cattle, milk and equipment that’s at risk of spreading M. bovis from being moved off the farm (without a permit) while more testing is carried out.
Permits can be sought for culls, that are part of business-as-usual on the farm.
These are properties that have had M. bovis infection confirmed. They will either be:
Cleared Confirmed Properties
These are farms that have been confirmed to have M. bovis and are under a ‘Restricted Place Notice’, which stops animal movement and at-risk goods/equipment on and off the affected part of the farm.
All cattle subject to the Restricted Place Notice will be culled.
Depending on the type of farm, it will go through cleaning and disinfection and/or a stand-down period.
Once this has been completed, and movement controls lifted, a farm becomes a ‘Cleared property and can be repopulated with replacement cattle.
These properties have had M. bovis, and have been depopulated, cleaned and disinfected, and had restrictions lifted.
We provide regular updates on the Programme’s progress here: Mycoplasma bovis Situation Report (news and events)
To get the latest Programme updates - sign up here