More beef than dairy farms have been placed under movement controls because of Mycoplasma bovis in recent weeks.

In its June 7 update, Biosecurity New Zealand said it had predicted it would need to issue up to 250 Notices of Direction restricting cattle movements before Moving Day - the start of the new dairying season on June 1.

However, it issued only 171 notices, and had 304 farms under active surveillance.

Beef properties accounted for 116 of them, while 23 were dairy and 32 grazing or lifestyle.


''Beef properties present a lower risk of further spreading the disease, so it is positive that there are fewer dairy farms requiring restrictions,'' the update said.

''It is important to keep in mind that a Notice of Direction does not mean that your property has M. bovis. Only 10-15 per cent of NODs are found to have the disease.''

The properties under movement control were ''spread around the country in a similar pattern to what we've seen previously'', it said - 44 in the Waitaki district, 26 in Southland, 12 in Ashburton, 12 in Selwyn, 11 in Hurunui, 19 elsewhere in the South Island, and 47 in the North Island.

Biosecurity New Zealand staff understood how difficult it was to have cattle movements curtailed during winter.

''The programme's regional managers, recovery advisers, veterinary technical experts, as well as DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb representatives, and Federated Farmers are all ready to support every farmer with any challenges they might face, be it around feed shortages, pasture damage, calving, or anything else,'' the update said.

Tracing activity would continue throughout winter as infected properties were discovered.

Anyone whose farm was under movement control was asked to work with the programme's field teams to separate trace animals (those connected with known infections) and have them sent to slaughter as quickly as possible.

Testing to decide the property's status could not be completed until the trace animals were removed.


Three companies could be contacted to value the cattle before they were sent to the abattoir - PGG Wrightson, Carrfields, and Progressive Livestock.

More than 100,000 animals have been slaughtered since M. bovis was first confirmed on a Morven dairy farm in July 2017, and 645 properties have been released from movement restrictions.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has received 1102 claims for compensation, 770 of which have been completed or had part-payments made.

A total of $76 million has been paid out so far.

- Central Rural Life