Published: Thu, May 31, 2018
Research | By Sheri Schwartz

Northland farmer backs Government decision to cull more cows

Northland farmer backs Government decision to cull more cows

Officials cited government forecasts, which have estimated that if the disease was allowed to spread unchecked, it would cost the industry NZ$1.3 billion in lost production in 10 years.

Farming is vital to the economy in New Zealand, whose isolation has helped protect it from some diseases which affect herds elsewhere.

The Government along with the dairy and beef industries have agreed that an attempt will be made to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis.

Mycoplasma bovis has so far been found on 38 farms throughout New Zealand, officials say, a number they expect to rise to at least 142 farms based on computer modeling.

"[There are] 450,000 cows in Ashburton, mid-Canterbury".

Last week the country's biggest dairy company Fonterra, pitched its opening farmgate milk price for the 2018/19 season at $7.00 per kg of milksolids - one of its highest yet.

The population of cows in New Zealand is nearly double than its human population.

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

"We all agree that while there remains a chance to get rid of this disease, we should take it", he said.

As at May 28 there are 37 infected farms and some 260 suspect farms.

DairyNZ said it backed the Government in its efforts to eradicate the cattle disease.

Arden herself said she empathizes with the farmers who will have to undergo having all their cows slaughtered, but the government and cattle industry are in agreement that the long-term consequences of letting the disease spread far outweighs any incurred losses with the eradication plan.

"Our farmers have been waiting for nearly 11 months on a way forward and part of the challenge has been a lack of certainty about the long-term solution for New Zealand".

MPI says a substantial part of a farmer's claim for culled cows should now take 4-10 days, with a fully verified claim taking 2-3 weeks.

Farmers in the South Island suspected the decision was being driven by North Island farmers, Jefferson said.

"I think maybe they're [the decision-makers] optimistic. Everyone down here has been reasonably keen to manage it instead of eradication drive".

Politicians and industry leaders announced the ambitious plan today.

Mycoplasma bovis has been detected on more than three dozen farms since it was first detected in New Zealand past year, leading to the slaughter of about 26,000 cattle. We know that moving towards eradication will be a devastating decision for some, and will mean that thousands of animals will have to be culled. "But a few will be".

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