About 22,000 NZ dairy cows are due to be culled under official plans to limit an outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis on the South Island.
Dairy farmers will be compensated by the NZ government if the widespread cull program is undertaken. Up to 30 farms have been found to be infected; most of them linked by stock movements between properties. The disease is highly contagious among cows, causing lameness, abortions, severe mastitis and can kill animals, but does not affect humans. NZ had been one of few countries previously unaffected by the disease. It is estimated it affects about 0.6% of Australia's dairy herd. Wayne Langford, vice dairy chair of the Federated Farmers of New Zealand group said while 22,000 cows sounded like a lot, NZ had 20m total dairy and beef cattle. There might be a slight increase in heifer prices while people re-stocked, he added.