Federated Farmers is updating its contracts to include provisions for sharemilkers and sharemilker farm owners to develop a farm biosecurity plan.

"A viable sharemilking industry has long been a key part of the vibrancy and innovation of the dairy industry," sharemilker farm owners chairman Tony Wilding said.

"With the Mycoplasma bovis incursion, and the decision to try and eradicate the disease, an extra challenge has been put in front of us."

In the past a biosecurity plan had been sensible business practice under the sharemilker/farm owner model, but now it was an imperative, he added.

Advertisement

Sharemilkers chairman Richard McIntyre said there was plenty of advice at www.dairynz.co.nz/animal/cow-health/mycoplasma-bovis/, including the kinds of questions that need to be asked if new stock was coming on to the farm.

"But there should also be discussion about how the farm will function in the medium and longer term from a biosecurity perspective," he said.

"Even relatively simple stuff should be in the plan. For example, if you or a neighbour intends grazing stock in paddocks where there is a boundary fence, you could send them a text. One of you can then put up a break fence to keep herds from direct contact.

"Another example — there should be agreement about service bulls. Will the farm be all AI or will it get service bulls from a farm that fits x and y biosecurity requirements, such as a closed Hereford breeding operation, or an operation that does not bring in dairy beef?

"Or do the two parties agree that's not particularly important."

The advice on the DairyNZ page could be used as a conversation starter and checklist, he said.

"Good due diligence by both parties, and a robust biosecurity plan, will underpin a continuing, viable sharemilking industry," Mr McIntyre said.