M bovis levy start confirmed for dairy farmers

The country's dairy farmers will soon start making a contribution to the cost of the campaign to eradicate the cattle disease, M bovis with an industry levy to start in September.

An agreement was reached with Government last year how the cost for the eradication programme would be split.

Under the agreement, the Government and Beef + Lamb New Zealand fund 70 percent of the costs, with the dairy portion being the remaining 30 percent. 

"We listened to the feedback our farmers gave us ," said DairyNZ's  Dr Tim Mackle.
"We listened to the feedback our farmers gave us ," said DairyNZ's Dr Tim Mackle. Photo credit: Supplied

Dairy farmers are this week receiving information from DairyNZ about the Mycoplasma Bovis Biosecurity Response Levy being set at 2.9 cents per kilogram of milk solids for the 2019-20 year. 

The levy will be collected by dairy supply companies from 1 September 2019.

DairyNZ chief executive, Dr Tim Mackle said farmers were consulted earlier this year about increasing the biosecurity response levy cap to 3.9c/kg milksolids in order to pay the sector's share of the M bovis response.

"We listened to the feedback our farmers gave us and made sure there was a strong farmer voice around the table," he said.

"The 2.9c/kg milksolids is obviously less than the 3.9c/kg milksolids cap we put in place," said Dr Mackle.

"This reflects our conversations with farmers, plus the work we've been doing with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to develop the terms of payback in the operational agreement we have negotiated."

For the 2019-20 year, at 2.9c/kg milksolids, dairy farmers will pay on average $4300 each from 1 September 2019 to 31 May 2020 (based on a 430-cow farm).

The 2020-21 M bovis Biosecurity Response Levy, including any changes to the levy amount, will be communicated in April 2020, ready for collection on 1 June 2020.

Dr Mackle said continued focus on the M bovis response was vital, along with support for affected farmers. 

"We've learnt a huge amount over the last two years about responding to this disease. The recently commissioned DairyNZ independent review has highlighted areas of continued focus, which will only strengthen how we all respond."