Mid Canterbury A&P show organisers are treading cautiously around showing cattle in the wake of Mycoplasma bovis and the nationwide attempt to eradicate the bovine disease.

In keeping with the Ministry for Primary Industries' (MPI) recommendation, the Ashburton A&P Association decided against holding a cattle section at this year's October show.

Ashburton A&P Association administrative secretary Lucille Brown said in a statement that the association had accepted a recommendation from the members of the cattle committee to not hold a cattle section this year due to the current M.bovis outbreak.

''This decision will be reviewed for the 2019 show.


''While the cattle section is not large, it is well supported by regular entrants and has a popular calf competition for schoolchildren where a prize of a mountain bike is keenly sought after,'' she said.

The Methven and Mayfield A&P shows do not hold traditional cattle competitions during their events; however, Methven did hold an annual gift calf auction.

Methven A&P Association president Andrew Griffiths said the gift calf auction component of their A&P show in March would go ahead at this stage, although it might be in a slightly changed format.

He said the process for dealing with cattle at the show was constantly under review following the M. bovis outbreak, and the committee were mindful of the risks.

He said the calf scheme was an integral part of the show, raising money for community groups in the district as well as scholarships for students entering tertiary education.

MPI said charities, clubs, schools and other organisations planning to raise funds through calf schemes needed to ensure all biosecurity requirements could be met before going ahead.

Animals on known infected farms were under movement controls and could not be moved without MPI's permission.

The risk of spreading M.bovis by mixing animals from farms not under restrictions was relatively low. But until all tracing work was completed, there was still a potential risk of spreading the disease through animal contact, MPI said.

MPI and the industry recommended this year that any cattle events that were not business-critical should not go ahead.

Many schools, such as Mt Somers Springburn School, have elected to remove the calf section at its annual popular pet day.

The annual IHC Calf and Rural Scheme was also be suspended this year. This included picking up calves and organising IHC sales.

The Calf and Rural Scheme was in its 33rd year, and generated more than $1 million annually for people with intellectual disabilities.

IHC national manager fundraising Greg Millar said despite only picking up animals with National Animal Identification and Tracing ear tags and Animal Status Declaration forms, the risk remained too high.

If organisers decided to go ahead with cattle events, MPI had information on how to minimise the risk of spreading the disease, which can be obtained at their website, or by phoning 0800008-333.

Central Rural Life