A Ministry for Primary Industries spokesperson confirmed yesterday the infected cattle found this week on a Landcorp property near Pahiatua in northern Wairarapa had originated on an infected property not in Hawke’s Bay, and had transitioned through a Hawke’s Bay property that is not infected.
It confirmed Patoka farmers Sharron and Jeremy White’s insistence that their bull grazing and finishing unit is not linked to the latest find, and that the risk on their property had all-but been eradicated by the sending of all their suspect herd to the slaughterhouse.
Their 700 bulls had to be killed, leaving the couple without any stock, nor income, pending the “sign-off” and compensatory settlement issues being negotiated with MPI.
Landcorp on Thursday confirmed its Rangedale Station, a 1380ha sheep and beef operation in the Makuri district east of Pahiatua, had been found to be infected.
Testing on the farm began after National Animal and Identification Tracing (NAIT) records showed a connection with an infected property, Landcorp head of communications Simon King told the Wairarapa Times-Age.
“Once we became aware that we had purchased stock from an infected farm we began testing animals and self-imposed an animal movement ban from the property,” he said.
The farm manager and Landcorp informed farmers from neighbouring properties last week of the suspected infection, and then held a meeting on Wednesday to confirm the positive testing.
King said about 300 cattle were being culled as a result of the discovery.
The station, a former Ballance Farm Environment Award winner, bought a number of bulls in November last year from a Hawke’s Bay property, to control summer feed King said.
In early March, they were informed that “some of those bulls” had been traced to an infected farm and required blood sampling.
The incurable disease was first detected on two dairy farms owned by the Van Leeuwen Dairy Group near Oamaru in July last year.
It can infect both calves and cows with symptoms including pneumonia, udder infection (mastitis), arthritis.
According to MPI there was no concern about consuming milk and milk products from infected cows, and the disease is not a human or food risk.
Tararua District Mayor and Eketahuna dairy farmer Tracey Collis said her main concern was the wellbeing of Pahiatua farmers.
“I’m sad for the sheep and beef farm involved, and the uncertainty this brings to their farm and the surrounding farms,” she said.
The disease was new to the North Island which meant many locals would be wanting to understand more about what the disease meant for them, she said.
“To find that it’s in our district, that will be a shock,” she said.
The infectious cow disease was first detected in New Zealand in July last year on two dairy farms near Oamaru.
There are now 35 infected properties quarantined under movement restrictions, all but two in the South Island.
Source: NZ Herald