From 9 February 2021, OSPRI is updating the TB testing programme, placing greater focus on higher risk areas while maintaining nationwide surveillance.
The frequency of on-farm testing will change for some farmers based on different levels of risk. It means increasing testing where the risk is higher and testing less often where the risk is low, such as areas with no possum related risk.
This approach to testing is not new. OSPRI has piloted reduced testing for deer herds in some low risk areas since 2018. It is a natural progression as the TB eradication programme successfully reduces the number of infected herds, so a broad testing programme is no longer the most efficient method of detecting TB infection.
Changes to the testing frequency will be rolled out in areas of lowest risk (herds currently tested every three years in Vector Free Areas). There will be less, frequent testing for beef and dairy herds in low risk areas. Your TB tester will contact you in advance of your next TB test.
Deer herds in lower risk areas, currently tested every three years, will no longer be tested on-farm but will be monitored through meat processing plant inspection.
OSPRI has notified TB testing agency AsureQuality about the upcoming changes and provided the necessary information resources. This new approach to testing is not expected to have any immediate impacts on farmers or daily activities at the farmgate.