Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Farmers key in foot and mouth detection

Thursday, June 26 2014

For immediate release
Farmers key in foot and mouth detection

Prevention against one of New Zealand’s biggest biosecurity risks – foot and mouth disease (FMD) – has been given a leg-up with specialist training in Nepal.

DairyNZ veterinarian Anna Irwin recently returned from Kathmandu, Nepal, where she was part of a five-day training camp run by the European Commission for the Control of Foot and Mouth Disease.

She says the experience highlighted the pivotal role New Zealand dairy farmers play in detecting the disease early.
“I found seeing the disease invaluable,” says Anna. “But it also brought home the importance of being alert on farms. Anyone working with livestock on a daily basis is in the best position to be our number one surveillance force.

“Foot and mouth is one of our biggest biosecurity risks, so we need to be prepared. The quicker something is picked up, the better our response will be.”

Along with farmers keeping an eye out for signs, their use of New Zealand’s biosecurity systems, such as NAIT (National Animal Identification and Tracing), will help prevent an outbreak.

“It’s very important that farmers keep their NAIT records up-to-date, as animal tracing and accurate records are vital in any disease investigation. In any outbreak, the ability to reliably trace animals saves so much time,” says Anna.

“Nepal doesn’t have anything like our system in place, which makes it much harder to manage and control the disease when animals move around so much.”

If FMD were to reach New Zealand, it would damage the country’s trade reputation and halt virtually all exports of meat, animal by-products and dairy products until at least three months after the disease was considered eradicated.

Led by the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Nepal trip provided training in the clinical recognition, diagnosis, investigation and control of FMD.

“Foot and mouth is widespread in Nepal and outbreaks occur frequently there,” says Anna. “The training gave veterinarians, government officials and other rural professionals from foot and mouth-free countries some of the skills required for a potential outbreak.”

Anna will share her experience and training with colleagues and farmers as part of DairyNZ’s work with the government and other industry groups such as Beef + Lamb New Zealand, on being prepared for FMD.

Farmers should report anything they are unsure about in any livestock to the biosecurity line by calling 0800 80 99 66.

Farmer guide to foot and mouth disease

• Affects all cloven-hoofed animals (e.g. cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, deer).
• Is caused by a highly infectious virus. There is no cure.
• It can be spread by saliva, mucous, milk, faeces and can be carried on wool, hair, grass, footwear, clothing, livestock equipment and vehicle tyres. It can also spread by wind.
• Animals are typically depressed, not eating, lame or reluctant to stand-up. They will have a sudden drop in milk production (in Nepal it was usually halved), will drool and chomp teeth. Animals usually have a high temperature in the early stages.
• Vesicles (blisters) will rupture on the muzzle, inside the mouth, on feet (between claws) and on teats.


DairyNZ is the industry organisation representing New Zealand’s dairy farmers. Our purpose is to secure and enhance the profitability, sustainability and competitiveness of New Zealand dairy farming. For more information, visit

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


DIY: Kiwi Ingenuity And Masking Tape Saves Chick

Kiwi ingenuity and masking tape has saved a Kiwi chick after its egg was badly damaged endangering the chick's life. The egg was delivered to Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs in Rotorua 14 days ago by a DOC worker with a large hole in its shell and against all odds has just successfully hatched. More>>


Trade: Key To Lead Mission To India; ASEAN FTA Review Announced

Prime Minister John Key will lead a trade delegation to India next week, saying the pursuit of a free trade agreement with the protectionist giant is "the primary reason we're going" but playing down the likelihood of early progress. More>>



MYOB: Digital Signatures Go Live

From today, Inland Revenue will begin accepting “digital signatures”, saving businesses and their accountants a huge amount of administration time and further reducing the need for pen and paper in the workplace. More>>

Oil Searches: Norway's Statoil Quits Reinga Basin

Statoil, the Norwegian state-owned oil company, has given up oil and gas exploration in Northland's Reinga Basin, saying the probably of a find was 'too low'. More>>


Modern Living: Auckland Development Blowouts Reminiscent Of Run Up To GFC

The collapse of property developments in Auckland is "almost groundhog day" to the run-up of the global financial crisis in 2007/2008 as banks refuse to fund projects due to blowouts in construction and labour costs, says John Kensington, the author of KPMG's Financial Institutions Performance Survey. More>>


Health: New Zealand's First ‘No Sugary Drinks’ Logo Unveiled

New Zealand’s first “no sugary drinks logo” has been unveiled at an event in Wellington... It will empower communities around New Zealand to lift their health and wellbeing and send a clear message about the damage caused by too much sugar in our diets. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news