The main way that Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) spreads is through direct and prolonged contact between infected and uninfected cattle.
Infected cattle must be actively shedding (releasing) the bacteria and mingling for a reasonable length of time for infection to spread.
M. bovis is not spread through air or water. So if the external boundaries of your farm are secure your neighbour’s farm poses very little M. bovis infection risk to you.
M. bovis can also be spread to calves that are fed milk from infected cows.
To secure your farm’s external boundaries make sure fences are well maintained with no weak areas where cattle could break through – either yours or your neighbour’s.
You may wish to put up an extra separation wire on your side of the fence for extra peace of mind that there’s an additional buffer zone between your properties and to further reduce the risk of cattle wandering. It is ideal is to keep groups of cattle at least two metres apart.
Talk to your neighbour about any plans you or they have for grazing boundary lines between your properties.
You may wish to avoid grazing a particular area while your neighbour has stock in the next-door paddock.
If you find cattle on your farm that may have come from your neighbour’s property:
Properties with cattle that neighbour properties with the infection need to be assessed to see if testing is required. We'll be in touch to carry out an assessment of your farm.
Find out more about what's involved with testing.
There is no current evidence, either in New Zealand or internationally, that M. bovis spreads from:
But it’s recommended to have good biosecurity practices in place to enhance your protection against M. bovis and other pests and diseases.
Biosecurity Warrant of Fitness
Protect your farm from disease, give it a Biosecurity Warrant of Fitness.
Please think about how you can support your neighbour at this time.
They will be facing the culling of cattle, followed by a process of cleaning and disinfection and/or a stand down of affected parts of their farm.
There’s no evidence that people going between farms spreads M. bovis, so you don’t have any worries about popping in to see how they’re doing.
Be aware that depending on what part of their farm you visit, you may have to follow some good biosecurity practices, like cleaning and disinfecting boots when arriving and leaving.
In the absence of wandering stock there’s very little risk of M. bovis spreading across the boundary from your neighbour’s place to yours.
But there are some practices that increase risk of your farm being infected, so please let us know if:
Contact our Farmer Liaison team:
If a legal direction is given to you, make sure you understand it and always get it in writing. Claiming compensation is easier when there’s clear evidence that your losses stemmed from a legal direction given by the M. bovis programme.