New Zealand’s meat processors are gearing up for the extra cattle expected to go through the plants as a result of the Mycoplasma Bovis (Mp. bovis) cull.
“Over the past five years, the average number of adult cattle processed in April has been 278,000, but this has ranged between 254,000 and 318,000 head for the month over this period. The average number of adult cattle processed in May over the last five years has been just under 349,000 thousand, ranging from 310,00 to 392,000 during the month over the period,” says Meat Industry Association (MIA) chief executive Tim Ritchie, adding the numbers fluctuate from year to year dependent on climate and other factors.
“While it will be important for processors to meet the needs of their existing suppliers, the industry should have the capacity to cope with the proposed 22,000 or so additional livestock,” he says.
MIA is meeting with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and processing companies next week to coordinate the processing of the animals from the infected farm properties, ensuring that the process is done as efficiently and quickly as possible.
Mp. bovis is an animal disease endemic overseas in countries such as Australia, the US and Europe, that is an animal welfare and productivity issue for cattle. It is new to New Zealand. There is no food safety aspect to the outbreak. Carcases of the culled cattle will be subject to the usual stringent meat inspection processes.