Fieldays: Farmers face up to Mycoplasma bovis biosecurity scares

Business experts say farmers have been too relaxed about biosecurity for too long.

They say farmers are lucky the country hasn't been hit with a disease worse the Mycoplasma bovis, like foot-and-mouth.

It's hoped the M bovis scare will better prepare the sector for biosecurity incursions.

KPMG Agribusiness head Ian Proudfoot says if farmers can't track their animals, they can't fix the problem quickly.

"M bovis in its core is not a fundamentally challenging disease. It doesn't cause production issues; it doesn't close our markets. But if it was foot-and-mouth we were facing now, this would be a damn sight more serious."

M bovis crisis responder Lani Guilford has been a dairy farmer for more than 25 years, so it's personal.

"It's hard, but I'm not going to give up the good fight."

She says there's a lot of scaremongering surrounding the disease.

"Go to the people that know, don't listen to rumour, and look after each other."

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor says it's time the whole sector upped its biosecurity game.

"I think everyone's been aware of the importance of it, especially in the farming sector, but relied on someone else to do the work."

Biosecurity was one of the major focuses at this year's Fieldays event.


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