The Mycoplasma bovis Programme is starting a national beef survey to provide additional assurance that M. bovis is not widespread in the beef breeding and stud herd.

Plans to progress the national surveillance of the beef industry were highlighted in the latest report from the independent Technical Advisory Group, released in October 2019.

Read more Mycoplasma bovis articles here.

Over the next 12 months the M. bovis Programme intends to take samples from 2,500 previously untested herds.

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"Results from the ongoing sampling and monitoring of incoming feedlot cattle gives us confidence the infection is not common in beef breeding herds" said the Ministry for Primary Industry's Chief Science Advisor Dr John Roche.

Ministry for Primary Industry's Chief Science Advisor Dr John Roche. Photo / Supplied
Ministry for Primary Industry's Chief Science Advisor Dr John Roche. Photo / Supplied

"This national screening of beef cattle will allow us to determine if there is any unexpected infection in the beef industry, and, at a later date, will help provide confidence that we are free from the disease" said Roche.

Additional mustering of stock will not usually be required for this screening, as sampling of beef cattle will be conducted at the same time as OSPRI takes samples from animals as part of the TBfree Programme.

Listen to Jamie Mackay's interview with Dr John Roche on The Country below:

This process will minimise the pressure placed on farming operations.

Testing will use the current ELISA blood test to determine whether herds may have been exposed to M. bovis.

Some farms may require additional testing to determine their status. Farms determined to be infected will be managed under the existing processes of the M. bovis Programme.

The Programme has an established range of support measures for those affected by the cattle disease, including on-farm advice, access to welfare and compensation and recovery expertise to help those affected get back to business.