Thursday, November 2, 2023

"Kiwi Farmers Torn Over M. Bovis Eradication Efforts: To Stamp It Out or Let It Be?"

Ospri will manage day-to-day aspects of the planned eradication of the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis  from November 2023.

"Is M. Bovis Eradication Worth the Hoo-Ha, Mate?"

The gumboots and jandals are stompin' as the M. Bovis cattle disease crusade heads into a fresh surveillance scene, but down in Southland, a dairy farmer's still givin' it a bit of the ol' side-eye, wonderin' if it's been a proper bang for the buck, bro.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has chucked out the word that the mission to give that cattle disease the old heave-ho from our national herd will be run by Ospri (Operational Solutions for Primary Industries), a good-natured, not-for-profit outfit, startin' from November. The ministry's joinin' forces with Beef and Lamb New Zealand and DairyNZ to keep tabs on the whole shebang.

Now, Kelvan Smith, who's the head honcho of the M. Bovis governance group, says Ospri's got a job to test farms, keep an eye on a place in Canterbury that's already been hit, and any new farms that get the bug, and also take care of the scrub-a-dub and support for farmers. Smith reckons, "MPI's still gonna do the boring stuff like compensation and slappin' wrists when needed. So, you won't notice much difference, bro." No extra chingas for M. Bovis either.

The government's deal with Beef and Lamb NZ and DairyNZ will be on the books until the National Pest Management Plan gets the green light and sets up shop. Submissions for that plan just closed shop, and they'll give the government the final lowdown in early 2024, so it can be up and running by mid-2024.

Since this whole M. Bovis saga started back in 2018, the number of infected farms has dropped to almost zilch, according to Smith. A total of 280 farms have been given the all-clear, 70 up north, and 210 down south, with over 3.3 million tests thrown in for good measure. As of October 26, only one farm had the bug left, and once that's sorted, they'll keep an eagle eye on things for about 2½ years before going to the bigwigs to prove we've kicked it to the curb.

But hold your horses, cuz Southland dairy farmer Jason Herrick's got his own take on the whole shebang. He's reckonin' that New Zealand should just learn to live with this pesky bacterial disease, like we've been doin' with bovine tuberculosis, leptospirosis, and bovine viral diarrhea. "Kiwis are pretty good at rollin' with the punches, and M. Bovis ain't no different, bro."

Herrick's on about the real cost here, not just the cold hard cash but the heartache and headaches of losin' whole herds due to a couple of infections. He's not sold on the idea that we can ever truly kick this disease to the curb and outta Aotearoa.

Our M. Bovis eradication scheme is the first of its kind worldwide, with a whopping price tag of $870 million. Stuart Anderson, the ex-boss of the M. Bovis show, reckoned that lettin' that virus run wild would've cost us way more, a whopping $1.3 billion in lost productivity within the first decade.


Pigeon Post News, Richmond.

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