Article feature: Mycoplasma still an issue for Dairy Farmers

Original Article by Keith Woodford. The following is an excerpt from his article.

For most New Zealand dairy farmers, the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak in South Canterbury is now little more than background noise.  However, dairy and even beef farmers would be wise to recognise that it could still be lurking anywhere in New Zealand, waiting for the right circumstances to strike.

The whole saga of the outbreak has been poorly communicated.

The starting point for error has been the widely reported falsehood that it is on intensive confinement farms owned by the van Leeuwen Group.  In fact, the disease has not been detected to date on any of the four robot-milked free-stall farms owned by this family. Rather it is on five outdoor farms that they own.

Keith has taken an interest in the outbreak since it was first detected back in July. He contacted the van Leeuwens at that time to try and understand what was happening, and has stayed in touch. His interest is that of a semi-retired academic who likes to follow issues from an independent perspective. He goes wherever the evidence takes him.

Back in August, Keith wrote an article on  Mycoplasma published in New Zealand Farmer, also at, and also on his own site.  At that time, he wrote that “Regardless of whether or not the current outbreak can be contained, and the disease then eradicated, the ongoing risks from Mycoplasma bovis are going to have a big effect on the New Zealand dairy industry”.

He also wrote back then that “If the disease is contained and eradicated, then the industry and governmental authorities will need to work out better systems to prevent re-entry from overseas. And if the disease is not eradicated, then every farmer will have to implement new on-farm management strategies to minimise the effects.”

Those statements remain unchanged some three months later.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE including transmission and testing details.