About 40 cows and heifers are not at this week’s New Zealand Dairy Event (NZDE) at Feilding’s Manfield because of concerns about the spread of the cattle disease Mycoplasma Bovis.
Cattle from the South Island and Hawke’s Bay, where the disease had been found, were unable to attend.
Event chairman Lawrence Satherley said in light of the disease organisers contacted the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) and asked what measures could be put in place to reduce the risk of it spreading.
On January 16, organisers advised there would be no exclusions from the event unless cattle were under movement control.
But they changed their mind after a letter from Dairy NZ, supported by MPI, which advised that although the risk was low, there was further testing of farms to do and all links were not yet known.
Satherley said the advice was to avoid co-mingling of cattle between islands.
“This is a huge disappointment for New Zealand’s premier dairy show and those who volunteer their time for it to take place.
“Furthermore, the disappointment comes when NZDE will be celebrating 10 years of the event this week. The NZDE committee has taken on board DairyNZ and MPI advice and has made contact with exhibitors and asked that all those affected by this decision to remember that we need to continue to work together to reduce the risk of infection until other measures are found to eradicate the disease.”
The event is to go ahead for North Island exhibitors.
At last year’s event the supreme champion had gone to a South Island cow.
Satherley said there was no shortage of people putting cattle forward for the show even without the South Island entries.
“We have more competing than last year with 370 cows and heifers for 2018.”
He said it was a shame no South Island or northern Hawke’s Bay people could bring cattle. Entries have been confirmed from southern and central Hawke’s Bay.
About half the entries were in the stadium ahead of Thursday’s competition.
Former NZDE chairman Selwyn Donald, from Arran Stud, in Wairarapa had cows stabled on Monday.
“They need to settle in, start to eat and get used to the surroundings.”
He had brought ayrshires, holstein friesians and a single brown swiss cow.
Donald said his cows had all been at shows since they were young and were used to the facilities.
He said they were all shaved and washed before they came to the event, and needed only finishing touches before they went in the ring to compete.
He said his brown swiss cow had won the intermediate title as a three-year-old, but she would now be a senior as a four-year-old.
The best senior cow and the supreme champion of the show were highly sought after titles.
The event featuring the nation’s best dairy stock at Manfeild Stadium from this evening until February 2 is free to visitors.