Advice for farmers, rural contractors and transporters

What farmers, transporters and rural contractors need to do to help control Mycoplasma bovis.


Farmers

Look out for signs and report the disease

Look out for signs of Mycoplasma bovis and report to your vet or the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) on 0800 80 99 66.

Signs include:

  • unusual mastitis in cows that doesn't respond to treatment
  • arthritis in cows and calves
  • late-term abortion
  • high numbers of calf deaths.

Not all infected animals get sick as sometimes the disease is dormant, only appearing when animals are under stress – for example when calving, being transported or in adverse weather. They can spread the disease to other cattle through close contact.

Mycoplasma bovis mainly affects cattle and has little effect on other production animals. It does not affect horses and other pets.

Practice good on-farm biosecurity

Keep NAIT and animal movement records up-to-date

NAIT is New Zealand's cattle and deer tracing system and complying with it is law. It's critical that you maintain up-to-date and accurate NAIT and other animal movement records. Accurate record keeping helps us track animal movements and locate any that could be affected. It is also a useful tool for managing your own on-farm biosecurity by providing you a complete history of brought-in animals. 

Farm service providers

Farmers should be using routine on-farm biosecurity practices to minimise risk to their animals. Comply with the farm's cleaning and disinfection requirements to help minimise risk.

  • Don’t arrive unannounced. Let the farmer know you plan to visit their farm and ask what their requirements are.
  • Work with the farmer to comply with any farm biosecurity requirements.
  • Clean and disinfect footwear, protective clothing and equipment before coming on the farm and again before leaving the farm.
  • Be proactive – assure farmers of your hygiene practices.

Trucking companies

Work with farmers to meet their hygiene requirements.

All properties under a Restricted Place Notice require permits to move animals between properties and to slaughter. Places under Notices of Direction require permits to move animals onto (not off) the place. The permits require the truck to be cleaned and disinfected at the end of each movement.

Safe to move to other farms

It is absolutely safe for tradesmen and truck drivers to move from infected farms to other properties.

All infected farms are under strict legal controls under the Biosecurity Act. These controls include a comprehensive cleaning and disinfection protocol which MPI provided to them. This makes sure vehicles have a very small biosecurity risk.

All vehicles are cleaned and disinfected before leaving properties. Vehicles carrying animals – for example, transporters to the meat processing premises – are disinfected on exit, going directly to the meat processor (not to other farms) and then thoroughly cleaned and disinfected at the plant on completing the job.

Vehicles from neighbouring farms are not required to clean vehicles leaving their properties as the biosecurity risk is considered by MPI to be very small.

Minimise risks at cattle shows and events

The risk of Mycoplasma bovis spreading at shows and events is relatively low. But until tracing is completed, it is still a potential risk. Our fact sheet has some simple precautions you can take to minimise the risks.

Resources

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