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Cattle disease bill in New Zealand could be $30,000 per farm

Staff Writer |
Farmers could end up paying $30,000 each on average to help cover the cost of eradicating mycoplasma bovis.

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The figure represents 40 percent of the $1 billion that Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor now predicts it will cost to wipe out the disease.

One farmer, who asked not to be identified, said having seen first-hand the impact of the disease, he would be willing to pay more towards the cost of dealing with it.

He had to sent 1100 calves worth $2 million to the freezing works after it was discovered they were infected, wiping out two-thirds of his business overnight.

"After going through what we've been through personally, yes.

"I think we pay enough taxes ... but if that's what it takes to get rid of this then so be it, as long as they get rid of it."

The farmer had done everything he was required to do once the infection was discovered, but wanted to remain anonymous because of the hit his business would take from those still worried about the chances of the disease spreading to their own herds if they bought calves or even feed from him.

There was real fear from farmers, many of whom were holding back coming forward, in case they were marked as being an infected farm, he said.

"A few loyal friends and people we trade with regularly don't have a problem with it but the general public are quite worried and rightfully so."

Mid-Canterbury dairy farmer Willy Leferink had so far avoided infection but agreed farmers should be willing to stump up for the cost of controlling the disease.

However, he doubted the $1 billion would be enough to control it.

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