Taranaki-based business adviser and agriculture specialist Marise James says the emotional fallout from Mycoplasma bovis is likely to be even greater than the business cost.
James spoke to The Country's Jamie Mackay, saying that although she agrees with the Government's eradication decision, it should not go on for too long if it's not going to succeed.
"We need to give it a go. It would be terrible to look back in the future and say we just should have tried a bit harder. But having said that, if it does look like it's not going to achieve the desired outcome and we can't eradicate, I hope that they can come to that conclusion quite quickly, so those people that are currently being affected by having to kill their cows ... don't have to go through this sadness for too much longer."
James predicts many farmers or sharemilkers will leave the industry once their equity has been destroyed.
She also predicts that monitoring, testing and disinfecting all gear that comes on to a farm will drive up costs in future, and that in the short term, the price of stock will rise if the culling continues.
Ultimately, James is concerned about the resulting depression for affected rural workers.
"These uncertain times for people that have their whole livelihoods tied up in their cows ... it's a very, very difficult time for them to manage and they really need the support of their neighbours and their friends and their families to help them get through this."