Te Awamutu Vetora Vet Steve Oehley on how to prevent cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis from getting on to our farms.

One topic of conversation currently on everyone's mind is the Mycoplasma outbreak.

I have had a number of farmers ask me what signs they should be looking out for. However, this is the wrong way to be looking at it.

We need to prevent this disease getting on to our farms in the first place.


Mycoplasma is difficult to diagnose and you could have it on your farm without even having obvious signs initially.

Below are some important things to remember:

1. Stock movements:

Use a pre-purchase checklist when buying or leasing cattle, ask questions about their animal health status.

Make sure all stock are NAIT tagged and you comply with NAIT requirements.

Talk to your truck driver about biosecurity risks and make sure they bring a clean truck on farm.

Talk to your grazier about biosecurity risks, especially avoiding nose-to-nose contact with neighbouring stock.

Keep newly arrived animals quarantined for seven days, monitor them for any signs of disease.

2. Managing access on-farm:

Have clear signs for visitors reminding them of your biosecurity requirements.

Have an area to clean and disinfect footwear, PPE and gear.

Supply PPE for visitors and farm staff.

Ensure machinery and equipment coming on-farm is clean.

Have an area set aside for washing machinery including a waste area for water run-off.

Provide a farm vehicle to transport visitors and contractors around the farm.

3. Farmer structure set up:

If possible, have one entry point onto the farm.

Map out your farm to identify biosecurity risk area.

Keep sick animals separate to the main herd for monitoring.

Secure boundary fences - ideally double fencing to avoid nose-to-nose contact with neighbouring stock.

Consider risk points that may break boundary fence security.

4. Biosecurity awareness:

Ensure all staff know and understand the biosecurity precautions for your farm.

If you've seen the Dairy NZ Biosecurity WOF, you should hopefully be familiar with all of the above.

Full details are at: www.dairynz.co.nz/publications/farm/biosecurity-wof/