A Northland dairy farming leader is calling on those buying and selling livestock to register for their National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) number to prevent the spread of Mycoplasma bovis.

Federated Farmers Northland dairy chairman Ashley Cullen said some dairy and dry stock beef farmers in the region were still not taking the disease seriously despite outbreaks in other parts of the country.

The Ministry of Primary Industries this week confirmed an unnamed property with about 50 beef cattle in Northland, believed to be in the Kaipara, has tested positive for Mycoplasma bovis.

It's the first time the bacterial disease has been confirmed in the region.


Cullen said since the disease was found on a beef farm, it would be a lot easier to contain or eradicate the disease than if it was discovered on a dairy farm.

"The biggest worry is if the infected farm is close to a farm that's selling bulls for mating. Bull sales start next week," he said.

Cullen said owners of the infected farm would be going through "hell and back", with huge levels of stress.

"In saying that, there are still some farmers in Northland that are not taking Mycoplasma bovis seriously, especially those selling calves. They need to make sure the person that's buying them is registered with NAIT,'' he said.

"There are a lot of lifestyle blocks here and some might have that (many cows) while some are not interested. They should get their records up to date. It's not difficult to be compliant."

Infringement fees for offences under NAIT range between $150 and $1000.

Cullen said it took minutes to register for NAIT online and he has urged Northland farmers to do so irrespective of how many animals they have.

According to dairy NZ, there were 308,587 dairy cows and 1030 herds in Northland — including Rodney District— last year.


Most, if not all, of the roughly 50 infected beef cattle on the Northland farm will be culled at freezing works.

The farm, as with all other infected properties, was identified through the tracing of
animals movements from known infected farms and is under a Restricted Place legal notice under the Biosecurity Act 1993.

MPI has placed the property in quarantine lockdown, restricting the movement of animals and other risk goods on and off the farm.