"The last year has been an experience we could have done without."

For North Otago farmers Kerry and Rosie Dwyer, the discovery of Mycoplasma bovis on their Maheno property led to a harrowing ordeal.

For more than a decade, the couple ran a successful calf-rearing business, buying 4-day-old calves, rearing them to over 100kg and then selling them to other farmers. That came crashing down last winter.

The Ministry for Primary Industries arrived on their property on July 28. By September 14, all their calves were dead.


When they received the positive test, the Dwyers voluntarily sent 400 animals to slaughter, Mr Dwyer loading them on to the truck himself. MPI did not want them killed, but the couple felt they had no other choice.

Their Restricted Place Notice was changed to Notice of Direction on November 21. That was removed on April 19. On July 6, they finally received compensation for the animals slaughtered.

"We have had to battle at every stage because MPI has lacked the skills and policies to communicate, consult and provide choices for us.

"Support from our friends and associates has been outstanding; support from industry organisations has been pitiful or non-existent," he said.

Mr and Mrs Dwyer were yet to file a compensation claim for loss of income incurred in the period from August 2017 to April 2018. But compensation would never cover the "real cost" of dealing with MPI, Mr Dwyer said.

"We are pleased to have been in the process early and got it done with. It is disturbing to see those farmers involved now being treated no better than we were," he said.