Farmers in Hawke’s Bay have been left shocked, with the rapid spread of the cattle disease, Mycoplasma Bovis, as reported by radionz.co.nz.
Local Farmer and member of the rural community board member, Nick Dawson, has said farmers in the area are stunned by the outbreak in the area. Recently a property near Hastings was confirmed to have an outbreak, while there were three other confirmed cases found in Southland and another near Ashburton/
The disease was first identified in the area back in July of this year, with twelve properties in total succumbing to the virus. The Ministry for Primary Industries say they had expected to find other farms with the disease.
"Tracing is a complex exercise and we did expect we would find other [farms]" said Geoff Gwyn Ministry for Primary Industries director
All of the farms where the infections were found are directly linker to Dairy Group Van Leeuwen. A total of 3000 ows have already been culled, to try and control and prevent further spreading of the disease.
"We're all a bit shocked and stunned that it's got to the North Island.” said local farmer and rural community board member, Nick Dawson.
"We felt pretty safe up here but in hindsight it was inevitable. We're one big country and we can't close the barrier between the North and South Island." he added.
He said himself and other farmers would be left devastated if they had to cull any of their herds.
"In my situation we've got a dairy herd with 21 years of breeding, we've got kids school calves in that herd ... we've had the same herd since sharemilking days so it's quite personal.” he said.
"I'd be devastated if we had to kill my herd, they're almost part of your family and they've served you well for years and years ... to suddenly have to kill them would be heartbreaking." he continued.
The MPI say it will review its current culling plan, once the complete cull is carried out of Van Leeuwen.
"The horse might have bolted a bit, but I'm sure they're doing everything they can in their powers to contain it." said Nick Dawson.
Federated Farmers president, Katie Milne, said the current outbreak is frustrating, but said the link to the Van Leeuwen group gives hope.
"It does all trace back to the original farm ... so it is technically still semi contained," she said.
"We still have options to make sure we can move through to get rid of it." she continued.
She also advised farmers to exercise caution on their farm to prevent infection.M
"It's putting up a temporary fence, or a permanent one if they get around to it, even a reel around their property so there is no nose-to-nose contact with other people's animals.
"Make your farm a fortress is what the aim is now." she added.
Biosecurity measures, such as foot baths, should also be put in place they warned, while the Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor, said they are doing all they can to contain the outbreak.
"I want to know on a daily basis what progress is being made in terms of further identification of properties.” He said
"We will be looking to try and contain, within all existing properties identified, all animal movements." he continued.
Mr O'Connor said he is unsure if the disease can be contained, but said he remains optimistic.
"Every extra farm that is identified is a big challenge, and any possible animal movements in or out of these properties can contribute to further spread." he said.
Mycoplasma bovis is a small cell-wall deficient bacterium in the genus Mycoplasma. It is known to cause mastitis, arthritis and pneumonia in cattle.