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More than 5300 farmers to benefit from TB changes

27 February 2014

More than 5300 farmers to benefit from TB changes

From 1 March 2014, more than 5300 herdowners across some 1.7 million hectares will benefit from reductions in both Movement Control Areas (MCA) and cattle and deer bovine tuberculosis (TB) tests.

Herds throughout parts of the Central North Island, Southern North Island and Northern South Island will no longer require pre-movement TB testing, but will continue to be tested annually.

Farmer and Wellington TBfree Committee Chairman Peter Gaskin no longer has to pre-movement test his cattle. He said the progress made by the TB control programme through movement restrictions and wild animal control has been particularly satisfying.

“It’s been very pleasing for farmers to be able to enjoy another on-farm benefit, resulting from the sustained pressure applied by TBfree New Zealand, as it implements the national TB control plan,” said Peter.

TBfree New Zealand acknowledged farmers for their co-operation and contribution towards the main objective of eradicating TB from at least 2.5 million hectares by 2026. The disease has been eradicated from 500,000 hectares since 2011.

As TBfree New Zealand makes progress towards this goal, farmers will benefit from reductions in TB testing requirements and the relaxation of movement restrictions. However, bovine TB is still a threat and farmers need to fulfil their obligations in helping to manage the disease.

Dairy farmers, such as Michael Sargent, of Tihoi, have significantly invested in the success of TBfree New Zealand through their DairyNZ levy. DairyNZ is the largest industry funder of the TB control programme.

Michael learnt first-hand from his father when he took over the day-to-day running of the farm that TB is still out there and farmers need to keep testing their stock and make wise purchasing decisions.

Being in a MCA until now has meant Michael’s been required to TB test all cattle leaving the property at least 60 days before they shift. Although he admits it has been an inconvenience, he is also aware that the testing is an important aspect of TB control.

“It feels great to not have to pre-movement test stock anymore, as it means a lot less work and it will allow us greater flexibility when selling stock,” said Michael.

ENDS

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