A collaboration between Landcare Research and TBfree New Zealand is delivering national benefits by addressing the bovine tuberculosis (bTB) problem in the dairy, beef, and deer industries. bTB is one of the largest commercial biothreats for primary industries, with a risk of bTB being transmitted to livestock from wild possum populations in about 40% of the country. Innovative strategies and technologies used in this collaboration have led to a large-scale disease eradication initiative previously thought impossible.
Landcare Research is now the major bTB research provider, conducting in excess of $3m of bTB and possum control related research annually.
The partnership has been a major contributor to providing knowledge and practical advice that has assisted TBfree New Zealand to reduce the number of infected herds by more than 95% since 1994, to less than 100 infected herds.
It has enabled TBfree New Zealand to commit to the hugely ambitious strategy of regional-scale bTB eradication from both livestock and wildlife over 2.5 million ha by 2026. In time, this will greatly reduce the $80m p.a. cost of keeping bTB at the very low levels needed to help maximise access to premium markets for our primary produce valued at ~$20 billion p.a.
This collaboration was a finalist in the 2014 KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards. Watch the story.