2 Mar 2012

Reduced TB testing in central North Island

6:28 am on 2 March 2012

Tuberculosis testing in the central North Island has been relaxed for cattle and deer farmers.

Two and a half thousand herds have had their bovine tuberculosis movement controls and testing requirements reduced.

The Animal Health Board, which is heading the campaign to eradicate TB, says it's able to reduce the restrictions due to a fall in herd infection rates and improved wildlife control, particularly for possums which are the main source of TB among livestock.

The technical and farm services manager, Stu Hutchings, says some farmers' annual TB testing requirements will be reduced to every two to three years, which will be a significant reduction in the labour involved.

Dr Hutchings says the total number of TB-infected herds in New Zealand has dropped from more than 1700 to about 60 over the past 10 years.