Around 4,000 cattle are set to be culled in an effort to stop the spread of Mycoplasma bovis in the New Zealand cattle population.
The Ministry for Primary Industries released a statement today saying it plans to undertake the culls on five infected properties around the Oamaru area.
"The only positive results for the disease have been on seven infected properties, leading us to be cautiously optimistic that we are dealing with a localised area of infection around Oamaru," says MPI's Director of Response, Geoff Gwyn.
"To prevent further spread of the disease, around 4,000 cattle on five of the seven infected properties will need to be culled and a programme put in place to decontaminate the properties and then re-populate the farms.
"The two other properties have had a small number of animals culled already and no cattle remain.
The statement goes on to say that DairyNZ, Federated Farmers and Beef+Lamb all support the actions MPI is taking to control the disease.
Federated Farmers President Katie Milne says they understand that the disease has come at a significant emotional cost to the affected farming families and their animals.
"The process of culling whole herds will be very stressful for the people concerned," Ms Milne said.
"But the disease does not respond to treatment and cannot be vaccinated against.
"Culling is the only logical option to prevent ongoing suffering of the animals."
Once the culling is completed the affected farms will have a 60-day stand-down period where no other cattle will be permitted on the farms.