[12 February/Dairy News]

The cost of the response to Mycoplasma Bovis to dairy farmers have been revealted, with DairyNZ announcing it is asking farmers to approve a levy of up to 3.9 cents/kg milksolids over the next two seasons to pay their share of the eradication effort. With DairyNZ’s regular levy now 3.6c/kgMS, the proposal is to more than double farmers’ total levy payments. DairyNZ emphasises that 3.9c/kgMS is the proposed maximum, chosen so that the bulk of the M.bovis response can be paid for in the first two years and after that substantially decreased. It represents about $6,100 per year, for those two years, for an average farm milking 430 cows. After the decision last May to move to eradication of M.bovis, the Government estimated the total response cost over 10 years to be $870 million. The Government would pay $591m, the dairy sector $262m and the beef sector $17.4m. DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ will each apply their own levying regime after consulting with their sectors. DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel commented that eradication is looking achievable, and partnering with the Government has significantly reduced the costs of managing the M.bovis response.