In May 2018 the government announced its plan to work to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) over the next ten years. The spring bulk milk surveillance programme is a critical part of that eradication programme, allowing the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to identify any areas where the disease has spread which have not previously been discovered.

Results were expected to be released in November but MPI is now expecting farmers to get results in early to mid-December. Despite earlier predictions of a spike in infected herds the findings so far show only a few new farms with confirmed M. bovis, all of which were already on the MPI tracing programme. Final results should provide a clearer indication as to the likelihood of success for the eradication programme but MPI M. bovis response director Geoff Gwyn is positive about the results so far. "If this [disease] had been endemic in New Zealand or established in New Zealand, then bulk milk testing in New Zealand would have been on fire; we would have found hundreds of cases but we didn't."

Although preliminary findings are positive, it is important for farmers to continue to be vigilant both in farm biosecurity practices and NAIT record keeping.

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