At the time of writing, we currently have 17 IPs in Southland, and 9 in Otago. Of these, 6 and 4 are currently deemed ‘active’. We aren’t notified of which properties are affected so we only know if we are told by the property owner.
More IPs continue to be found, mostly in Canterbury. All of these are apparently linked to existing known IPs.
Our feeling is that, in our area, most of the risk has now passed, because properties linked to the original infected farms have mostly been traced and tested; then either cleared or culled. However, that may change with the results of the bulk milk tests.
What can I do to protect my farm?
The biggest two risks are still animal movements, and waste milk movements. Hopefully, no waste milk was brought onto your farm this spring. And for animal movements, these must continue to be carefully considered. Use a risk assessment process.
What about service bulls?
For many dairy operations, these represent the only outside stock arriving on your property. However, the risk from these is still very low.
Can I test bulls?
We aren’t allowed to blood test anything- only MPI can do that. The best test we can do is a tonsillar crypt PCR test, which we can do on live animals including bulls. However, the test is only effective at detecting 25% of all positive animals. Therefore it should only be used in large mobs of bulls (>30).
What does VetSouth recommend?
We recommend that, wherever you are worried about risk, you do a comprehensive Risk Assessment. We have developed an online process that is now being used by vets across the country that helps identify and quantify risk- whether you are buying stock in or whether you want to understand your current risk. This is a far cheaper and usually, more effective measure of managing risk than testing.
What if I still want to test?
Talk to your KeyVet first. But remember, if you do test and you are not under a NOD from MPI, if you had a positive test you may not get compensated. We have been asking MPI for clarification on this for months now without success.
Where next with the eradication?
We don’t know. We don’t have any greater information than you do from MPI. We suspect it will depend on how many more farms are identified positive from the bulk milk testing this spring. No results have been released yet.
- Mark Bryan