Knowledge of the National Animal Identification and Tracing (Nait) system has increased in the wake of the Mycoplasma bovis response but some farmers are continuing to break the rules.

In a statement yesterday, compliance investigations manager Gary Orr said the Ministry for Primary Industries and Nait Ltd had been running joint operations around the country to check compliance with Nait requirements.

The disease response had highlighted the importance of tracing animal movements and having complete and accurate information available. It was critical all farmers complied with Nait and tracked all animal movements on and off their farms and those who weren't were putting the rest of the industry in jeopardy, Mr Orr said.

An MPI technical advisory group report released earlier this year said the response was the first time the animal traceability system had been used for one of its primary purposes.

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Its value was limited by the failure of many farmers to fulfil their responsibilities under the system, making the tracing of animal movements far harder and less reliable than it should have been. The report detailed a major review of Nait with 38 recommendations aimed at streamlining processes and boosting access and compliance.

Mr Orr said the MPI and Nait Ltd were increasing their focus on compliance. Both organisations had significantly stepped up their efforts to detect instances where animal movements had taken place without being recorded in the Nait database.

Since the start of the year, the MPI had undertaken about 200 compliance checks on farms and saleyards where cattle and deer were present. It had also conducted 19 compliance operations across the country.

Infringement notices and written warnings had been issued and eight active investigations were under way, which might result in further notices being issued. Nait Ltd had begun an analysis of Nait data to identify farmers who continued to offend.

Operations continued at various locations throughout the country through random inspections at various sites.