Livestock Improvement Corporation's chief executive has called for New Zealand to remain vigilant to protect against M. bovis after winning an award for LIC's response to the outbreak at this year's Biosecurity Awards.
LIC, the largest supplier of artificial breeding services to New Zealand's dairy farms, is continuing its heightened biosecurity measures this season, including daily semen testing introduced last year for its 10,000 farmer shareholders across the country.
LIC chief executive Wayne McNee says it is important that New Zealand remains vigilant in responding to the threat of M. bovis to support the Government's goal of eradicating the disease.
"As New Zealand continues to grapple with M. bovis, we continue to take all measures possible to help protect farmers' herd assets and the value of the New Zealand dairy industry through effective, workable, best practice biosecurity."
When M. bovis was confirmed in New Zealand in July 2017, LIC rapidly instigated a company-wide biosecurity response, including the introduction of a comprehensive testing regime for its artificial breeding bulls and rigorous MPI-approved biosecurity protocols across its business operations.
To date, the co-operative has tested more than 20,000 samples from its bulls, which have all been clear (M. bovis not detected).
LIC's efforts to protect the national herd from M. bovis have been praised, with the co-op receiving the GIA Industry Award at the Biosecurity Awards dinner last week in Auckland.
McNee says the co-op is honoured to be recognised for its efforts to help protect the national herd and reassure NZ dairy farmers in the face of M. bovis.
"We're currently in the peak mating season where LIC artificial breeding technicians inseminate around 100,000 cows each day."
"It's critical to LIC and the dairy industry that we continue to take all possible measures to protect our bulls and effectively manage any risk of transmission by our staff or equipment."
LIC's additional biosecurity measures ensure every point of contact with farms is addressed. All herd testing equipment that comes into contact with milk is disinfected between farms. LIC staff have been issued with a bucket, brush and disinfectant to be used when they first arrive on farm and before leaving.
"Our industry has been dealing with this significant challenge since July 2017 and we can't afford to become complacent. It's critical we don't give up on the eradication effort."
The annual New Zealand Biosecurity Awards recognise and celebrate outstanding people and organisations across New Zealand who are contributing to New Zealand's biosecurity.
LIC chief executive Wayne McNee says it's important that New Zealand remains vigilant in responding to the threat of M. bovis to support the Government's goal of eradicating the disease.
LIC staff have been issued with a bucket, brush and disinfectant to use when they arrive on-farm and before leaving.