Testing under the TBfree programme

As part of the TBfree programme, we test cattle and deer herds all across New Zealand for TB. How often your herd is tested depends on where in the country you are — it can be anywhere between 1 and 5 years between tests. You can check how often to expect TB testing in your area on our disease control area map.

We carry out TB surveillance nationally through a combination of on-farm TB testing, and meat inspection of all livestock slaughtered for human consumption.

We concentrate our on-farm TB testing in areas where the risk to herds from infected possums is highest, and rely on meat inspection at slaughter plants in lower risk areas. This 'risk based' approach to testing makes more efficient use of the levies farmers pay towards funding the TBfree programme.

If you want to check when your next TB test is due, call our contact centre on 0800 482 463 to find out.

Testing requirements for cattle farmers

Cattle herds in low-risk areas have reduced on-farm TB testing requirements based on how close they are to areas of risk for TB. When these animals are slaughtered meat inspectors check them for TB.

We may need to do extra on-farm TB testing as well, if any animals entering your herd come from a C1 status herd.

Testing requirements for deer farmers

Deer herds in low-risk surveillance areas are no longer routinely tested on your farm. Instead, surveillance is done through slaughterhouse meat inspection. These herds have a 'clear monitored' (CM) status.

We only do on-farm testing if:

  • you're in an area where we currently test deer herds every year or every 2 years
  • any animals entering your herd come from a C1 status herd.

TB testing in Movement Control Areas (MCAs)

In MCAs — areas where infected possums are known to exist, or where it’s important to monitor the possible spread of TB in these populations — herds are tested every year. Pre-movement testing is also required before any animal can be moved off a property, and must be completed within 60 days of the movement being made.

Moving animals from a C1 herd

If your herd has a C1 status, you need to organise a pre-movement TB test before you can move the animals off your property, and apply to us for a 'Permit to move'. You need to give 14 days' notice to arrange the test.

  • If you're moving cattle, call us on 0800 482 463 or use our online form to book a test.
  • If you're moving deer, contact your TB testing provider.

Make sure you record all stock movements in NAIT too.

Buying animals from a C1 herd

If you buy stock from a herd with a C1 status, the animals will need to be TB tested between 3 and 12 months after they move onto your property. We test:

  • the animals that moved, and
  • the animals they mix with in their new location.

We can’t test the animals any earlier than 3 months after their move. This is because any TB infection may not be picked up if they’re tested sooner. If your herd is in an annual testing area, the post-movement test may be covered by your routine TB testing.