Frustration as dairy farmers flout cattle ID scheme ahead of stock moving day

Farmers are being urged to comply with the stock registration scheme National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) with concerns that M bovis may be spread with the upcoming annual stock moving day.

Almost 8000 dairy farming locations are yet to re-register with the NAIT scheme ahead of Moving Day on June 1st.

Moving Day involves the mass transporting of cows and machinery around the country's roads as farm contractors relocate themselves and their stock in time for the new season.

Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor said the situation was not good enough.

"One thing the Mycoplasma bovis response has highlighted is the low levels of compliance with NAIT," he said.

Damien O'Connor said every farmer in New Zealand has to play their part.
Damien O'Connor said every farmer in New Zealand has to play their part. Photo credit: Newshub

Following a recent NAIT system upgrade, every person in charge of animals must re-register their NAIT location.

O'Connor said farmers and the industry have been asking MPI to increase compliance so that people who are not complying can be held to account. 

"Last year I introduced a package of technical law changes to support the M bovis eradication programme, as a result of that MPI increased the number of compliance staff," he said.

He said so far this year they have conducted 455 on-farm inspections, and well over half of the farms inspected were non-compliant to such an extent they have facedenforcement action.

Compliance staff have served 82 Notices of Direction and issued 169 infringement notices to non-compliant farms.

"Moving Day is part of dairy farming culture in New Zealand. As the new season starts, thousands of sharemilkers around the country move their cows, equipment and families to new farms."

He said the main way M bovis spreads is through the movement of animals. 
"We want some honesty in terms of tracing, so that we can track and trace every possible infected animal."

"Farmers need to step up and take responsibility. This is not just a job for MPI - every farmer in New Zealand has to play their part. We've ramped up our compliance activities and those who don't comply will face the music."

Chris Lewis said re-registration, and other aspects of NAIT compliance, was essential.
Chris Lewis said re-registration, and other aspects of NAIT compliance, was essential.

Meanwhile Federated Farmers was also concerned about the situation.

Feds Dairy Chairperson Chris Lewis said technical and other issues are not helping with re-registration for the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme but urged all farmers to persevere.

"This is too important to backslide on. The Mycoplasma bovis issue has highlighted why we need excellent levels of compliance with NAIT," he said.

"All of us - farmers and OSPRI - need to pull together to get NAIT working well. In terms of eradicating M. bovis, to borrow the words of Ed Hillary, that's the way we'll 'knock the bastard off'," said Lewis.

"Re-registration, and other aspects of NAIT compliance, is essential. "

Newshub.

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