The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) plans to survey thousands of cattle around the country, as it tries to build a complete picture of the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak
The government is working to eradicate the cattle disease, which was first detected in New Zealand by the MPI in 2017.
Figures released by MPI in its latest stakeholder update show since then 220 farms have been confirmed as having the disease. Of those infected properties, 118 are beef farms.
MPI Chief Science Advisor John Roche said the national screening of beef cattle would allow it to determine if there was any unexpected infection in the beef industry, and, at a later date, would help provide confidence that New Zealand is free from the disease.
"Over the next 12 months, the M bovis Programme intends to test 2500 herds that have not previously been part of the programme," Dr Roche said.
Dr Roche said in order to minimise the pressure placed on farming operations, additional mustering of stock will not usually be required for testing, because sampling would be conducted at the same time that OSPRI takes samples from animals as part of the TBfree Programme.
There has been other nationwide testing carried out as part of the Mycoplasma bovis biosecurity response in 2019 and 2018. Dairy herds have been involved in a bulk milk testing programme and some calf-rearing properties have been screened.