News and stories

Mycoplasma bovis Eradication Programme


27 July 2022

M. bovis is a bacterial disease that can cause a range of serious conditions in cattle, including untreatable mastitis, respiratory disease and arthritis. When M. bovis was first found in New Zealand in July 2017, MPI moved to contain the disease and set up a response under the Biosecurity Act 1993.

Significant analysis of the potential impact of the disease was undertaken, this included forecasting the impacts on the economy and animal welfare. In May 2018, the New Zealand government, in partnership with DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand, committed to attempt to eradicate M. bovis from Aotearoa New Zealand.

Four years into a ten-year Eradication Programme, we are on track to be the first country to ever eradicate M. bovis, but there is still work to do. As we near the end of the delimiting phase, the Programme is working hard to find any remaining infected properties. MPI background surveillance tools (bulk tank milk screening and the national beef and drystock cattle surveillance) continue to provide confidence that M. bovis is not widespread in Aotearoa. This work will play a vital part in future phases of the Programme.

Eradication programmes take time and it’s important to acknowledge that the progress made to date is largely due to the hard work and sacrifices of farmers, veterinarians and the wider agricultural sector.

Simon Andrew, M. bovis Eradication Programme Director says, “We have learnt a lot since M. bovis was first detected in New Zealand – not only about the disease and it’s impacts, but how good on-farm biosecurity practices are vital in protecting New Zealand’s agricultural sector.

Good on-farm biosecurity starts at the farm gate, and we all play a crucial part in keeping Aotearoa safe.”

Unwanted pests and disease can have devastating impacts on farming businesses, the wider sector and our way of life. Identifying the risks to your animals and property, and putting practices in place to prevent these, could protect New Zealand from future disease incursions.

The M. bovis Eradication Programme have worked alongside industry to identify what farmers can do to prevent disease on their property.

Take a look at the M. bovis information hub for more information on protecting your farming business and New Zealand from disease.