New Zealand to cull more than 100,000 cows to eradicate Mycoplasma disease

New Zealand to cull more than 100,000 cows to eradicate Mycoplasma disease

A $16m "loss of production" cost will be borne by affected farmers.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she believes it's still possible to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis.

"Standing back and allowing the disease to spread would simply create more anxiety for all farmers", she said.

Mycoplasma bovis was first detected in New Zealand in July 2017.

These are indeed large figures but they should be placed against the $8 billion economic contribution of the dairy industry, $2 billion from the beef industry, the country's reputation as a food producer and, perhaps most importantly, animal and farmer welfare.

The government is announcing its decision about whether to eradicate or contain the cattle disease, Mycoplasma bovis.

Officials say they plan to kill all cows on any farms where the bacteria are found, even if some of the animals are healthy.

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"This is a tough call - no one ever wants to see mass culls".

Mycoplasma bovis was first observed in the cows of South Island only but gradually it has spread up to the North Island also in the current year.

The government will take care of 68% of this cost, while DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand will handle the other 32%. The dairy herd of the country reportedly has around 6.6 million cows.

Federated Farmers National President Katie Milne said the process represents a "rough time" for the farmers, adding that they "have to support them as neighbours, community members, farmers, friends". "This is a necessary, unfortunate part of not having a test that clearly identifies the individual animals yet".

An investigation into how Mycoplasma bovis got into the country is still underway.

Erin VanDyke lives on her family farm and has more than 35 years of hands-on experience with the use of livestock guard dogs for predator control. Norway is now the only one. It will only be clear by the end of year if the culling of the cows is working.

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