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Published: 2005-06-16 00:00:00

The Waikato’s farms are close to being bovine Tb free, this week’s Environment Waikato Biosecurity Committee meeting heard.

Latest results show 10 infected herds in the Region – eight cattle and two deer herds. Using the international standards to determine freedom from Tb, the Waikato has achieved less than 0.2 percent prevalence of Tb from herd test results. This was tempered by the requirement that the Region’s vector risk areas must achieve that result as well, and at the moment they were at 0.36 percent.

There was concern over the detection of a positive cattle reactor in the North Taupo area . The property backed onto a gully and an urgent multi-species survey is being undertaken to track the potential Tb vector source. The Committee heard that identification of any infected animals was a concern as the area had been Tb free for five years.

The Council is proposing a survey of Sika deer in the Port Waikato area, where deer have been illegally introduced. The Council consulted with landholders in the area, however some landowners were not willing to allow the aerial application of 1080 to be used on their properties. . Biosecurity staff met with hunters and landowners earlier this month to discuss the collection of deer carcasses for autopsy.

The major Tb eradication operation in the Hauhungaroa Ranges – the largest ever undertaken in New Zealand – is well underway, with most of the aerial pre-feeding completed. Areas to receive deer repellent-coated carrot bait on the western side of the Range are yet to be started.