Mycoplasma bovis – farmers are urged to update NAIT information before moving day

Almost 8000 dairy farming locations are yet to re-register with the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme ahead of Moving Day.

Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor has expressed his disappointment with this level of non-compliance.

Low levels of compliance with NAIT had been highlighted during the response to the discovery of Mycoplasma bovis.

Farmers and industry leaders had pressed the Ministry for Primary Industries to increase compliance so that people who are not complying can be held to account.

Mr O’Connor responded last year by introducing a package of technical law changes to support the Mycoplasma bovis eradication programme. One consequence was that MPI increased the number of compliance staff.

Under a recent NAIT system upgrade, moreover, every person in charge of animals must re-register their NAIT location.

So far this year the ministry has conducted 455 on-farm inspections. Well over half of the farms inspected were non-compliant to such an extent they have faced enforcement action.

Compliance staff have served 82 Notices of Direction and issued 169 infringement notices to non-compliant farms.

Mr O’Connor noted that as each new dairy season starts, thousands of sharemilkers around the country move their cows, equipment and families to new farms.

“The main way the disease spreads is through the movement of animals,” he said

“We want some honesty in terms of tracing, so that we can track and trace every possible infected animal.

“We need to get to a position where every single animal movement on every single farm in the country is recorded. If we’d had that system before M.bovis we wouldn’t be in the position we are now.”

Compliance was not just a job for MPI – every farmer in New Zealand had to play their part.

“We’re trying to stop M.bovis going through the entire national herd. We are on track to eradicate this disease and we need the support of farmers, so get on to NAIT and complete your re-registration.

Farmers moving herds to a new property at the start of the next season were reminded they must register a new NAIT number.

Source: Minister of Biosecurity

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog

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