'It’s quite heart-breaking' - Farmers affected with cow disease mycoplasma bovis slam official response

Farmers affected with the cow disease mycoplasma bovis have criticised the official response as shambolic.

There are now 35 infected farms nationwide. Source: 1 NEWS

Three more farms have tested positive for the disease, including the second case to reach the North Island, with new cases in Pahiatua near Palmerston North and in Southland bring the total number of properties infected around the country to 35.

Ashburton farmer Frank Peters' herd has been in his family for generations, but all 1400 cows must be killed after one tested positive for mycoplasma bovis.

"This is 55 year's worth of breeding," an emotional Mr Peters told 1NEWS.

"Well, my son and daughter-in-law, my wife, there seems to be one of us in tears all the time."

His anxiety is being felt the country over, with 8000 cows already culled and 14,000 more to go.

That number is growing too with new cases of the disease springing up.

Mr Peters thinks full eradication is unnecessary.

"I think it's silly, this is a manageable disease, for Christ's sake the rest of the world manage it, this whole thing is a senseless cull," Mr Peters said.

Agriculture Minister Damian O'Connor still believes the disease can be eradicated.

"The new infected properties are to be expected, they are connected to original properties, we believe we can contain and eradicate," Mr O'Connor said.

On the ground though, farmers say confusion reigns.

"There's a lack of consistency in message leading to confusion and a lack of decision making as well, not making decisions on time, people have been left in limbo and don't know where they're going, that has caused quite a lot of angst," Michael Salvesen of Federated Farmers Mid Canterbury said.

Mr Peters says contact from officials has been minimal and he has no idea whether he can hold on to his cows for the season, to see out a $1 million winter milking contract.

"I'm not allowed to swear, but in reality communication is the pits," Mr Peters said.

Many others are also hitting bricking walls trying to find out when compensation will come through.

"There's a vast range from calves and milk that hasn't been produced, we will ensure the farmers won't be worse off, it may take longer than they would like," Mr O'Connor said.

At the quarantined Peters' farm they're still caring for cows and calves with a death sentence and dealing with a question mark over the future of their farm.

"I've hand reared 90 per cent of the herd so it's quite heart-breaking," Anna Peters said.