A farm west of Napier has welcomed its first stock since 700 bulls were slaughtered after Mycoplasma bovis was identified more than seven months ago.
About 100 young bulls arrived mid-afternoon yesterday at the Patoka grazing and finishing property of farmers Jeremy and Sharron White, who had been left effectively unable to farm.
The bulls had been culled, under direction from the Ministry of Primary Industries after the herd in November became the first in the North Island identified with the disease. The infected herd had been brought in from the South Island
With no further sign of the disease on the property since the bulls left for the slaughterhouse, the property has been cleared by MPI for restocking.
The culled stock had come from the South Island apparently already with infection in the herd. The first identification of M. bovis was in North Otago last July, and it has now been identified on almost 40 properties in the South Island.
It lead to this week's announcement of an eradication programme expected to see the slaughter of over 150,000 head nationwide, mainly cows and also still mainly in the South Island.
Preparing for the arrival of the replacements yesterday, Jeremy White wasn't commenting further on the situation into which the family had been thrown, just two years after starting the operation.
They have, to date, been part-compensated according to the Biosecurity Act, allowing redress where loss has resulted from the MPI exercising its powers under the act. They awaited full settlement.
Compensation for those hit by M. bovis on their properties was reaffirmed in the eradication announcement by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Agriculture and Biosecurity Damian O'Connor on Monday, by which time about 26,000 head from 28 properties, all but one in the South Island, had been culled since the first case was reported.
At least 126,000 more are expected to be culled as the industry strives to stop the outbreak becoming the worst biosecurity disaster to hit the agricultural or horticultural sectors in New Zealand.
The Whites have had to wait more than half-a-year to start re-establishing the herd, and for a compensation settlement.
Monday's announcement promised claims would each be mostly met within four to 10 days, but full verification of loss was required to complete settlement in a process similar to that of an insurance claim.
ANZ Bank yesterday announced an assistance package to help farmers affected by loss of their stock meet short-term cash requirements and to help re-establish their herds.
The assistance includes access to short-term funding for the immediate challenges while protecting long-term productivity, suspending loan principal repayments and waiving fees associated with restructuring business loans and term finance and investments aimed at improving performance and ability to respond to m.bovis in the future.
The bank was also donating $20,000 to the Rural Support Trust network to help its work with stricken farmers.