The cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis has been confirmed on two new properties, lifting the total number of infected farms to 30.
Both new properties are dairy farms in the Ashburton area and connected to already known infected properties, the Ministry for Primary Industries said.
The regional breakdown of infected properties now stands at one each at Hawke’s Bay and Canterbury, six in Ashburton, 10 in South Canterbury/North Otago, two in Otago (Middlemarch) and 10 in Southland.
MPI said all are linked to the original infected properties via animal movements, and have been caused by close animal contact.
M bovis is a bacterial disease which causes illness in cattle including mastitis, abortion, pneumonia, and arthritis. This illness is hard to treat and clear from an animal.
Once infected, animals may carry and shed the bacterium for long periods of time with no obvious signs of illness.
In late March, MPI said about 22,300 cattle will be culled in an effort to contain the disease.
At an average cost of $1650 per milking cow, the value of the cattle would be approximately $36.5 million.
However, many are lesser value calves, and when the cows are sent to meat processors, they will be worth between $800 and $1000.
At the beginning of the month, officials said $2.6m had so far been paid out to affected farmers, and they projected a further $60m of liabilities. Operating costs to that date were $35m.