An incidence of bovine tuberculosis infection has been identified and is under investigation in a dairy herd in the northern South Island area of Collingwood.
Kevin Crews, National Disease Manager with OSPRI, which manages the TBfree programme for the management and eradication of TB, said infection was detected in approximately 2 per cent of cows in a medium-sized dairy herd during routine testing in January. Infection was confirmed by blood tests in mid-February, and the reactors slaughtered showed typical TB lesions.
OSPRI will be restricting animals from moving on or off the infected herd’s property and consulting closely with the farmer and neighbours. While an in-depth breakdown investigation is underway, the infection is suspected to have been introduced by an animal from outside the area. Interim findings from the breakdown investigation will be available in a fortnight, Mr Crews said.
Tasman district TBfree Committee Chair Roy Bensemann says that any news of an infection is hard to hear and it will be really tough for the farmer, but with the support of OSPRI and local farmers the issue can be dealt with effectively.
“People must feel for the farmer – nine times out of 10, an infection is not the farmer’s fault,” he said. “We know the road to eradication is the right one and we’re making great progress towards it. But we also know that there will be the odd infection on the way – it doesn’t mean the programme is a failure,” said Mr Bensemann. “It can and will be managed until the farm is clear of infection, but this is part of the process towards eradication.”
:: For more information, please read the factsheet TB testing for Cattle at ospri.co.nz
:: Farmers needing more information can call TBfree on 0800 482 463 or visit tbfree.org.nz.