One site in Hastings and four within a farm complex in Winton contain traces of the pneumonia-casing infection Mycoplasma bovis, according to New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
MPI said it “strongly suspects” one more property could test positive for the infection in due course.
MPI’s director of response Geoff Gwyn said the developments were “really disappointing” and could spell further problems in New Zealand’s fight against Mycoplasma bovis, which has seen over 3,500 cattle culled so far.
‘Complex detective work’
“It was always possible further infected properties would be found; buying, selling and moving stock is a common practice in farming,” added Gwyn.
“A key part of our response has been identifying and investigating animals that have moved to or from affected properties before Mycoplasma bovis was first detected. This tracing is complex detective work which takes time.
Properties in Hastings and Winton are in quarantine lockdown. Movement of animals and other at-risk goods on and off the farm has been restricted until further notice from the government.
Sam McIvor, chief executive of B+LNZ, called the news “extremely disappointing” and said he sympathised with the difficulties facing the country’s cattle farmers.
“Our thoughts are with the affected farmers in these regions. We’re encouraging farmers and rural contractors to follow MPI’s recommendations on how to protect their farms, to keep an eye out for symptoms in herds, and to ensure all farm records and National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) records for stock they buy, sell or move are accurate and complete,” he added.
“We know this is a difficult time for rural communities where the farms are located, and we wish to see all available support provided to those affected.”
MPI claims to have completed over 55,000 tests to identify properties that may contain traces of the infection.