The impact of Mycoplasma bovis on infected animal and herds will be the subject of a new study.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and its Mycoplasma bovis eradication partners DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand have initiated a research project into the direct impact of the devastating cattle disease.

The study is part of the Mycoplasma bovis Science Plan which aims to address the scientific challenges and research new tools that accelerate eradication of the bacterial disease.

Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) can cause welfare and productivity issues in dairy and beef cattle.


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Researchers will measure how M. bovis impacts infected animals and herds, including physical signs, effects on milk yield and quality, weight gain in cattle, and the duration of these effects.

"This study will increase our knowledge of the impact of M. bovis across different New Zealand farming systems. This is important as we need to have greater direct scientific understanding of its impact in a New Zealand farming context," said Dr John Roche, chair of the M. bovis Strategic Science Advisory Group and MPI's chief science adviser.

"We will use the findings to improve our detection of the disease, our surveillance tools, and to increase our understanding of how it spreads, which is key for eradication."

Only cattle already known to be positive for M. bovis will be used in the study.

No cattle will be intentionally infected, and cattle will only be studied up until their agreed cull date.

New Zealand is the first country in the world to attempt to eradicate M. bovis.

Roche said science was a critical weapon in this fight, as recognised by the Government investment of up to $30 million for science.


This is the second M. bovis Science Plan project to go out to market, with the call for proposals for a major diagnostic research programme made several weeks ago.

A Request for Quotes from potential research providers has been issued.

The call for quotes has been issued on the Government Electronic Tender Service (GETS). Applications must be received by 2pm on July 16.