Protecting the national herd from Mycoplasma bovis

We are taking all measures possible to help protect the national herd from Mycoplasma bovis and will continue to comply with all MPI directives.

More than 99% of the country’s dairy herds have no signs of this disease, and we want to keep it that way.

We are confident the robust procedures we already have in place will protect our bulls from the disease and effectively manage any risk of transmission by our staff or equipment. For added safety, our procedures are heightened in times of potential disease outbreak.

We want you to be fully informed about where we stand on this so you can have confidence in your co-op.

Protecting our bulls from M. bovis is critical to us and critical to the dairy industry:

We have extensively tested our bulls and haven’t found any sign or indication of M. bovis in our bulls or semen.

We are taking action to safeguard our bull stud and help protect the national herd.

  • Isolation of new bulls for health testing before they enter an LIC property including M. bovis testing .
  • All bulls are under quarantine measures and monitored daily for any health concerns.
  • Daily testing of every semen collection (from 3rd September) with results confirmed before semen is dispatched to farmers.
  • In addition to semen testing, routine testing of our bulls for M. bovis using preputial samples. 
  • Additional antibiotic added to the semen diluents which targets M. bovis. 

As M. bovis is mainly spread between cattle in close contact, the best way we can protect our bulls is to continue with our strict animal management and monitoring measures.

We are making changes to the way we work as a result of M. bovis:

All LIC staff have been issued with heightened hygiene protocols for all farm visits and will comply with any additional biosecurity requirements for your farm. 

  • We won’t turn up unannounced. If a visit from LIC is not expected, we will contact you prior.
  • We will always arrive with clean boots, clothing and equipment.
  • We won’t use or provide dirty equipment.
  • We will use a farm’s wash station, or our own cleaning equipment (bucket, brush and disinfectant) when we first arrive on farm and before leaving the property.

If we visit or service properties deemed a ‘restricted place’ by MPI, any clothing and/or equipment will not be worn or used on any other property.

More changes to the way we work are in the Q&A.

We also encourage you to:

  • Practice good on-farm biosecurity. MPI and DairyNZ have some good tips to help with this.
  • Tell us if you are under any notice from MPI.
  • Continue to record animal movements in MINDA.
  • Contact us if you have any concerns about LIC staff or equipment.
  • Contact our FarmWise Consultants to assist with any compensation claims.  

For more information about M. bovis please visit the MPI website.

Questions and Answers

We have done extensive testing and haven’t found any sign or indication of M. bovis in our bulls or semen. 

We have introduced a new daily testing regime where we are testing every semen collection for M. bovis and will confirm the results before semen straws are dispatched to farmers.

The PCR test is highly sensitive and will detect if M. bovis is present in the semen.

We are doing this to provide additional reassurance for our famers that our semen is free from M. bovis.

The daily semen testing complements our recent introduction of an additional antibiotic into the semen diluent in an effort to further reduce the risk of transmitting M. bovis via semen.

MPI have stated M. bovis is mainly spread between cattle in close contact.

We are confident the robust procedures we have in place for AB will minimise any risk of spreading M. bovis. Every inseminator is protected by a single use disposable sheath so there is no direct contact with the animal. The sheaths are changed between animals. As an additional precaution, inseminators will now be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol wipes between farms.

Yes. We have done extensive testing and haven’t found any sign or indication of M. bovis in our bulls or semen. 

All current production bulls were tested for M. bovis in March/April this year (2018) and were clear. This followed testing in September 2017 which was also clear

We have also introduced a new daily testing regime where we are testing every semen collection for M. bovis and will confirm the results before semen straws are dispatched to farmers.

We continue to test any new bulls for M. bovis in isolation before they enter the main LIC bull farm.

As M. bovis is mainly spread between cattle in close contact, the best way we can protect our bulls is to continue with our strict animal management and monitoring measures.

We use a PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) test which multiplies distinctive segments of DNA and detects the presence of the bacteria itself. This is the same test that MPI uses.

When testing semen, the PCR test is highly sensitive and will detect if M. bovis is present in the semen.

Based on our extensive testing and strict animal management and monitoring measures, we are confident our bulls are clear from M. bovis.

Yes.

Based on the testing and our strict animal management and monitoring measures, we are confident our bulls are clear from M. bovis, but as a precautionary measure we have added an additional antibiotic to the semen diluents in an effort to further reduce the risk of transmitting M. bovis via semen.

YesLIC processed semen has been certified for use in organic farming by BioGro since 2011 and they have approved the addition of the antibiotic to target M. bovis.

A specific bull purchased in January 2017 has been involved in an MPI trace. This bull was moved to LIC six months prior to when the herd in question received infected stock. Subsequent testing of this bull and all contacts by MPI and LIC have been clear.

MPI carried out the testing and followed the same protocols that are being followed for every other farm around the country. We were not put under any notice or restriction from MPI due to this as the property was not infected when we purchased the bull and test results confirmed there was no sign of M. bovis in the bull. That is standard MPI practice.

  • All herd testing equipment will be disinfected between farms.
  • Herd test setups will be completed before any pickups to ensure there is no risk of milk samples contaminating clean flasks.
  • All AB inseminators will be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol wipes between farms.
  • We are asking some farmers to rear their Wagyu calves for longer so we can collect calves from one farm in one pick-up with a clean, dedicated stock truck for that farm.