New virus will put big hit on pest rabbits

Rural Exchange 03/03/2018

News this week that the new rabbit haemorrhagic virus disease strain, RHDV1 K5, has been approved for release will be a huge relief for farmers plagued by the pest.

Andrew Simpson, a High Country farmer who represents Federated Farmers on the cross-sector group co-ordinating the K5 initiative, said there are "some desperate farmers out there.

"The timing of this is critical in some areas," he said.

If another year goes by without release of this virus, the ecological damage to some properties would be mind-numbing.

K5 is the Korean strain of the RHDV1 rabbit calicivirus that was released in Otago in 1997 without official sanction.

It is anticipated that the new K5 strain will help overcome resistance that has built up among wild rabbit populations to the old virus.

Watch the full interview with Andrew Simpson above.

Rural Exchange with Hamish McKay, Sarah Perriam and Richard Loe, 5-7am Saturday and Sunday on RadioLIVE with Carter’s Tyre Service. Click here for all the ways to watch and listen.