Cattle farmers stay away from Christchurch Ag Show

New Zealand's largest's agricultural show has show kicked off in Christchurch with thousands of people attending.

However despite cows, bulls and calves being allowed in, few cattle farmers have showed up because of fears of over mycoplasma bovis.

There are rows of empty pens and no animals, with cattle exhibitors down over 50 percent in the beef section and 75 percent down in the dairy section..

For most farmers, it is too much to lose, and cattle breeder Richard Van Asch is sympathetic.

"When it's your sole source of income with your livelihood on the line, I can understand why exhibitors would stay away," he said.

Richard Van Asch farms cattle only as a hobby and was happy to come to the 156th show.

"Canterbury A&P have done a marvellous job and put some very stringent protocols in place," he said.

Most shows around the country have excluded cows all together - organisers decided it was important they went ahead.

"We've developed new systems around separation of animals, how we load/unload, MPI are here on site working with us," said event director Geoff Bone.

MPI has been checking the cattle are from unaffected farms and that the cattle have no nose to nose contact and kept two metres apart. 

The lack of cattle certainly hasn't stopped the crowds from coming with over 100,000 people expected here over the next three days.

"It's the only place in New Zealand where you have this giant rural and urban rural community come together," said Mr Bone.

The New Zealand Agricultural Show in Christchurch runs until Friday November 16th.