‘M. bovis’ biosecurity measures

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Mycoplasma bovis is not a highly contagious disease but there are several ways it can spread.

DairyNZ technical policy adviser Nita Harding said it was important for farmers to think about farm biosecurity.

“Because New Zealand is such an isolated country with very few diseases that affect productivity, farmers get a bit relaxed about biosecurity on their farms,” Ms Harding said.

The most common way Mycoplasma bovis was spread was through contact with infected cows, she said.

“Farmers need to keep track of stock that is coming on and off the farms.”

It was also important that farmers made sure their National Animal Identification and Tracing (Nait) records were up to date, Ms Harding said.

“Some farmers have been slack when it comes to keeping Nait records.”

All stock movements had to be recorded on the Nait system and animals had to have Nait tags, she said.

It was also helpful to fill out a pre-purchase checklist, which could be found on the MPI website, Ms Harding said.

Farmers could also talk to graziers and transport drivers about their concerns about biosecurity, she said.

“Talk with your transporter to make sure your animals are transported in a clean truck.”

If farmers had stock arrive on the farm they could keep them separate from the rest of the herd to monitor them for signs of disease or sickness, Ms Harding said.

Farmers could also set up an area for diseased or sick animals, she said.

Another way the disease could spread was through equipment but this was very rare, Ms Harding said.

Cleaning and disinfecting equipment was important.

It was important to clean before disinfecting because disinfecting did not work through dirt, she said.

“It’s important to provide visitors a place to wash their boots.”

Farmers could also wear gloves to keep their hands clean and clean farm clothing regularly, she said.

A recommended disinfectant was Virkon.

DairyNZ had a biosecurity warrant of fitness that farmers could use.