The Canterbury A&P Association plans to proceed with cattle classes at its annual show.
More than 50 cattle breeders and show staff attended an exhibitors meeting on June 29, with the majority indicating they were willing to exhibit stock at this year's November show, after show staff said they were exploring measures to limit the risk of Mycoplasma bovis contamination.

Royal Agricultural Society central districts vice-chairman and cattle breeder Philip Worthington, of Fernside near Rangiora, said the show committee was keen to retain the section and would do whatever was needed to make it work.

''I would say we are cautiously positive going forward. There was great enthusiasm to maintain it and there was a general feeling that if we dropped it for a couple of years it would probably take another 10 years to get it back to today's numbers.''

Event director Geoff Bone said he was confident cattle would be exhibited at the Canterbury A&P Show and said many international shows have continued to run successful cattle sections, despite the presence of M. bovis.

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''It is our intention to ensure we are following best practice and creating guidelines that we can share with the A&P movement in New Zealand as a whole.

''We are committing significant resource to ensure this is done properly.''

Mr Worthington said the cattle committee was due to meet tonight to set up protocols to reduce the risk of contamination, which included having gaps between the pens of different stud breeders.

One proposed measure was having a show staff member on hand to spray the cattle wash down with citric acid or a chemical between animals from different cattle studs to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.

The Northern (Rangiora) A&P Association was due to meet last week to consider whether to proceed with its cattle section.

Mr Worthington said he was confident there would at least be a cattle presence at the Rangiora Showgrounds in October, as some breeders had indicated they would be willing to provide stock for the junior handlers and stock judging competitions.

The Oxford, Amberley, Amuri and Hawarden A&P associations will discuss the future of cattle competitions at their respective annual meetings in the coming months.

North Otago A&P show likely to allow cattle entries

The North Otago A&P Show is likely to go ahead with its cattle classes in February, secretary Katrina Kelly says.

North Otago went against most Otago and Southland A&P associations last year by allowing cattle to be entered in its annual show, despite the presence of Mycoplasma bovis in the district.

Entries were low, but Mrs Kelly's family took along some of its dairy stock and a Southland breeder disappointed by cancellations at other shows made the journey to the Oamaru event.

Mrs Kelly said it was easy to take biosecurity precautions at the Oamaru Showgrounds, because there were separate bays for each animal and good wash-down facilities.

The Southern Canterbury A&P Association, for which she was also secretary, would probably make its decision on cattle classes in the next month. Its show is to be held on November 24.

-By Sally Brooker