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GIANINA SCHWANECKE
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A mixed sheep and beef farm in South Wairarapa was identified with cases of M.bovis in August, the fourth and most recent property in the region to be identified with the disease.

A total of $479,159 has been paid out to 14 claimants around the region impacted by biosecurity measures to stamp out the Mycoplasma bovis cattle disease since the disease was first found in the region in June last year.

The latest property was still being treated as an active confirmed property, which means it was under quarantine controls restricting the movement of both stock and equipment on and off farm.

Two properties were identified in June last year, one a sheep and beef farm in Bideford and the other a dry beef property near Masterton.

A Landcorp-owned farming property in Pahiatua was also identified in May 2018.

“These three properties have been de-stocked and cleaned and disinfected and are on their way back to farming free from disease,” a spokesperson for the Ministry for Primary Industries said.

Eleven properties remained under Notice of Direction movement control while undergoing on-farm sampling and testing to determine if they are infected.

Most were either dry beef or beef breeding operations, with only two dairy farms placed under a NOD order.

“The massive majority of these farms – over 90 per cent – are found to not be infected,” the MPI spokesperson said.

A Bideford sheep and beef farm manager, who the Times-Age has agreed not to name, said being placed under NOD was stressful.

The property was under restrictions for more than nine months and he said the most difficult part was essentially surrendering control of the farm to MPI.

They were unable to sell stock while the notice was in place and had to find feed for the additional cattle they bought to avoid falling behind.

“While we were under it, we had to keep going but we couldn’t sell anything,” he said.

“We couldn’t sell cattle when we wanted to, but it worked to our advantage with a turn up in the market.”

He said he found MPI quite disorganised with their dealing of the process at times, citing as an example being asked to test an animal which had already been tested and culled.

“There’s no rule to what they were doing. They were making the rules up as they went along.”

He said the eradication process had also highlighted issues with the national animal identification and tracing [NAIT] programme.

With the restriction now removed, he said he felt better about the process and was grateful to his case manager and fellow farmers for their support.

“It’s cost them quite a lot of money to do this process,” he said.

“But at the end of the day, it’s in our best interests.”

Twenty-six other properties which had been placed under NOD orders have since had these restrictions lifted and 1170 cattle from the region had been culled as part of the eradication process.

M.bovis in Wairarapa

4 confirmed infected properties [1 still active]

37 properties under NOD restrictions [11 still active]

1170 cattle ordered culled from the region

$479,159 paid out to 14 claimants