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ISSN 1176-0753<br />

DEER INDUSTRY NEWS<br />

Issue 41 • <strong>Apr</strong>il/<strong>May</strong> <strong>2010</strong> • Official magazine of <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> New Zealand and the NZDFA<br />

Napier<br />

calling!<br />

Focu$ed <strong>2010</strong><br />

<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />

Conference<br />

18–20 <strong>May</strong><br />

Also in this issue:<br />

• “Aitken technique” for weaning<br />

• Animal health roundup<br />

• Selection and Appointments Panel<br />

• Mendip Hills Focus Farm report<br />

• Southland farm now “Making the DIFFerence”<br />

• Positive season for velvet


Bred for meat,<br />

not bone.<br />

It’s unusual to see pictures of stags without antlers, but of course<br />

it’s the venison that pays the bills for most deer farmers.<br />

BETTLE6970_DIN<br />

The bone on the head contributes a tiny proportion<br />

of the industry’s earnings, and the bone in the body<br />

is likely to be worthless as soon as the processors<br />

can measure it. For these reasons <strong>Deer</strong> Improvement<br />

applies absolutely no selection pressure on antlers,<br />

and negative selection pressure on bone in the carcass.<br />

These stags form the world’s highest ranking group of<br />

sires bred for venison production. They have<br />

good numbers of progeny in up to seven herds,<br />

providing genetic evaluations you can rely on. Used as<br />

a team the reliability is further enhanced, and because<br />

they each represent a different bloodline, genetic<br />

diversity is assured.<br />

• Czar, with a BV of 24.8 kg, by Cossar out of an<br />

Admiral hind. Czar tops our list for both growth rate<br />

and all carcass traits.<br />

• Bremen, with a BV of 24.0 kg, by Bonn (half German out<br />

of a Foveran hind), from an outstanding Crusader dam.<br />

• Corona, with a BV of 23.8 kg, by Colossus from a<br />

top ranked Doncaster hind.<br />

• Commodore, with a BV of 21.7 kg, an Admiral son<br />

from a Remarkables Park daughter of Carl.<br />

These sires are available directly to every deer farmer<br />

using AI, with the added bonus of closing your herd to<br />

the risk of disease from imported animals. All you have<br />

to do is pick your top hinds and tell us what day you<br />

want them mated.<br />

Bruce McGregor 027 233 2063<br />

General Manager<br />

Hayden Hughes 027 233 2064<br />

Otago, Southland, Te Anau<br />

Geoff Warren 027 231 4094<br />

Rest of the North Island<br />

Gerald Johnson 027 687 7085<br />

Canterbury and Top of the South<br />

Philip Irwin 027 423 3566<br />

Wairarapa, Hawke’s Bay, East Coast


editorial<br />

<strong>Industry</strong>’s pioneering spirit as relevant as<br />

ever today<br />

At this time of year, as nominations for senior positions in the NZDFA and the DINZ Board are<br />

received and Branch AGMs gear up for the committed and faithful, it is a salutary reminder<br />

to me as Producer Manager just how much voluntary effort goes into this industry. We are all<br />

individuals, but we cannot perform optimally without working together.<br />

This spirited volunteering of time, intellect and practical skills<br />

is not new to the industry. It characterises the development<br />

of deer farming and processing, shown by the passion and<br />

commitment given in the first decades. These established<br />

the framework of the current industry structures – in spite of<br />

legislative and practical impasses.<br />

The industry was thirsty for information and action across<br />

all fronts. To get the structures in place it lobbied clearly<br />

and forcefully across many government departments and<br />

legislative areas. Partnerships developed between practical,<br />

innovative and skilled farmers, research providers and<br />

veterinarians. This resulted in research which was applied in<br />

the field and processing facilities. New farmers entered the<br />

industry and drove progress. These early enthusiasts, as now,<br />

covered the spectrum of every type of deer farming country<br />

and conditions across New Zealand, innovating, adapting,<br />

applying and excelling at what they do. These beginnings<br />

underpin today’s production and genetic base. Farming deer<br />

profitably in a variety of land and climate types remains<br />

a challenge today, but it remains a competitive alternative<br />

compared with other land use options.<br />

In its growth, the deer industry has developed excellent<br />

written communications in its own and associated rural<br />

publications, but with communication there is always room<br />

for improvement. Extending our communication is well<br />

advanced into the electronic era with a new website allowing<br />

interactive feedback, commentary from all sectors and instant<br />

access to information, links to YouTube video feeds and<br />

social networking features I don’t understand…yet. The<br />

Contents<br />

Editorial: <strong>Industry</strong>’s pioneering spirit ........................................................................... 3<br />

<strong>Deer</strong> industry conference:<br />

Focu$ed <strong>2010</strong> conference and field day programme: Napier 18–20 <strong>May</strong>.......... 4<br />

General news:<br />

“Aitken technique” for weaning gaining fans ............................................................. 7<br />

Animal health roundup – Hawke’s Bay ...................................................................... 8<br />

Stagline supplement:<br />

NZDFA AGM <strong>2010</strong>: Constitutional matters ................................................................ 10<br />

Selection and Appointments Panel: Role, function and code of practice ................ 11<br />

Market Report:<br />

Venison ...................................................................................................................... 12<br />

Velvet ......................................................................................................................... 13<br />

Focus farms:<br />

Mendip Hills: Fodder and water key to focus farm ................................................... 14<br />

Five Rivers Focus Farm:<br />

Introducing the Ninds ................................................................................................ 17<br />

National programme, local initiative ........................................................................ 18<br />

Focus Farm field day................................................................................................... 19<br />

<strong>Industry</strong> news:<br />

Velvet season roundup .............................................................................................. 20<br />

Venison season roundup ........................................................................................... 22<br />

Letter to the editor:<br />

Dedicated to <strong>Deer</strong>: DINZ work, roles and function .......................................... 23<br />

electronic DINZ annual report is<br />

a further step in this direction, as<br />

is online conference registration,<br />

Focus Farm information and core industry data. The missing<br />

link for many is the promised rollout of rural broadband<br />

access. This is a communication priority and it must happen<br />

in short order. The internet is a perfect medium for groups<br />

which collaborate well, but are physically remote. That’s the<br />

rural community.<br />

In that context, sharing the skills and experience of Focus<br />

Farmers from the “Making The DIFFerence” programme<br />

through direct communication from farm field days has<br />

enhanced the success of the project. We are starting to have<br />

an impact on productivity as we see more fawns on the<br />

ground and better growth through introduction of EBV-based<br />

genetics and use of more targeted and productive crops and<br />

pastures.<br />

Behind these farmers and the programme is a tireless<br />

regional community group of farmers, service providers, vets,<br />

neighbours and Branch members led by project facilitators.<br />

I unreservedly thank all those involved for their typically<br />

low-key but invaluable contributions in time, knowledge and<br />

encouragement.<br />

In this edition of <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>News</strong>, the feature on<br />

Southland focus farmers, the Ninds, typifies this whole<br />

package and the new vision and direction of modern<br />

deer farming. They embody clear objectives and financial<br />

outcomes week by week, matching of land capability<br />

and land use with various deer enterprises amongst<br />

other livestock options and a balance of farming skills,<br />

commitment to deer and seeking application of relevant<br />

information. It’s the same mix across the other Focus Farms.<br />

The field days should be marked as “must attend” events by<br />

all deer farmers on their annual calendar.<br />

This legacy of voluntary contributions at the national level<br />

from DFA Branch members includes sound, practically based<br />

contributions to industry working groups including input to:<br />

• The <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> Productivity Strategy – this links to:<br />

the Venison <strong>Industry</strong> Strategic Intent; The DEEResearch<br />

continued on page 4<br />

<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>News</strong> is published by <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> New Zealand six times a year in February,<br />

<strong>Apr</strong>il, June, August, October and December. It is circulated to all known deer farmers,<br />

processors, exporters and others with an interest in the deer industry. The opinions expressed<br />

in <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>News</strong> do not necessarily reflect the views of <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> New Zealand or the<br />

NZ <strong>Deer</strong> Farmers’ Association.<br />

Circulation enquiries: <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> New Zealand,<br />

PO Box 10-702, Wellington, Ph 04 471 6114, Fax 04 472 5549, Email info@deernz.org<br />

Editorial and advertising enquiries: Words & Pictures, PO Box 27-221, Wellington,<br />

Ph 04 384 4688, Fax 04 384 4667, Email din@wordpict.co.nz<br />

Cover: There’s a fantastic Hawke’s Bay welcome waiting for you in Napier next month at the<br />

Focu$ed <strong>2010</strong> <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> Conference. See page 4 for details. Stag photo: Bridget Hensley.<br />

Issue No 41 • <strong>Apr</strong>il/<strong>May</strong> <strong>2010</strong> 3


deer industry conference<br />

Napier War Memorial Conference Centre<br />

18 – 20 <strong>May</strong> <strong>2010</strong><br />

The NZDFA, host Branch Hawke’s Bay and <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> New Zealand warmly invite you to the 35th Annual New<br />

Zealand <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> Conference.<br />

Are you interested in being able to make better choices with<br />

your deer farming operations through having up-to-date<br />

information? Do you want the chance to listen, question<br />

and discuss the future with industry leaders, processor/<br />

exporters, business and servicing organisations? Do you want<br />

the chance to meet friends and deer farming acquaintances<br />

in a focused forum with excellent business and social<br />

opportunities? Do you enjoy great food, premium wine and<br />

top entertainment?<br />

And are you interested in expert commentary from different<br />

perspectives creating vision and challenges and insights into<br />

our industry? Are you Focu$ed in <strong>2010</strong>?<br />

If any or all of these appeal, then this 35th annual industry<br />

conference should not be missed and we invite you to<br />

participate and join us in the superbly appointed conference<br />

venue in Hawke’s Bay.<br />

A registration form is available online at www.deernz.org<br />

(or print off and post).<br />

If you are unable to access online or would like assistance<br />

please contact conference organiser, Maria Gourlie direct<br />

at 06 877 6443 (Bus hours) or 0274 983 408,<br />

maria@eventmanagement.net.nz<br />

The conference registration hard copy form is also<br />

available on request through the DINZ office (Hannah<br />

Hsu 04 471 6110), Hannah.hsu@deernz.org<br />

Excellent accommodation has been reserved adjacent<br />

to the conference venue. It can only be booked and<br />

confirmed through registration with Maria online or by<br />

post. If you have any problems or queries please contact<br />

Maria direct. Accommodation is always in demand in<br />

Hawke’s Bay so early action is encouraged .<br />

Reminder: Early bird registration at $350.00 closes<br />

on Friday 7 <strong>May</strong>.<br />

editorial from page 3<br />

Venison Supply Systems research programme and<br />

extension projects funded by FRST, DEEResearch and<br />

Landcorp Farming; and the DINZ/NZDFA “Making the<br />

DIFFerence” Focus Farms project.<br />

• Tb Free Committees throughout the country (four are<br />

chaired by deer farmers) and the National Tb free<br />

industry working group and the AHB Representatives’<br />

Committee.<br />

• DFA’s working group of Branch chairs who review the<br />

DINZ budget and who commented on the Dedicated To<br />

<strong>Deer</strong> document prior to release.<br />

• DFA’s NAIT working group, which had to decide the<br />

best form of practical involvement for deer farmers and<br />

continue to lobby for cost effectiveness.<br />

• NZDFA structure and function review group.<br />

• <strong>Deer</strong> industry environmental awards.<br />

• Johne’s Research Group 2’s project aimed at reducing<br />

the impact of Johne’s Disease in the venison supply<br />

chain (funded by industry and the Sustainable Farming<br />

Fund).<br />

Across all of these and other fields, your voluntary<br />

contribution is vital, freely given and strongly appreciated.<br />

Thank you.<br />

As we build up to the next month’s annual deer industry<br />

conference, we note that this year recognises 40 years since<br />

the first deer farming licence was issued to Rex Giles of<br />

Consolidated Traders and Rahana Station in Taupo. That’s<br />

only a short 10–12 generations of deer from heavily culled<br />

and pressured wild sources integrated with the best available<br />

imported gene stock to provide the base New Zealand<br />

“composite” farmed hind of commercial herds and the<br />

nucleus of elite herds and genetics. The quality of farmed<br />

deer, on the eve of the announcement that the deer genome,<br />

the “SNP chip” and genomic selection are imminently<br />

available, is perhaps the best testimony to our short history<br />

and the giving, passion, vision and commitment of so many<br />

dedicated farmers, right across the industry.<br />

I hope to see you at this year’s conference, where the<br />

industry will showcase these qualities to all.<br />

■■<br />

Tony Pearse, Producer Manager,<br />

<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> New Zealand<br />

4<br />

<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>News</strong>


deer industry conference<br />

CONFERENCE PROGRAMME: (subject to final confirmation of times and topics)<br />

A full programme and conference timetable will be available in your registration packs.<br />

Tuesday 18 <strong>May</strong> – Day 1<br />

12.00pm<br />

2.00pm – 6.15pm<br />

Registration Desk Opens<br />

“FOCU$ED <strong>2010</strong>” AGRIBUSINESS SESSION<br />

Chaired by John Scurr, DINZ Chairman<br />

2.00 – 2:30pm Rabobank, <strong>Industry</strong> Partner Presentation<br />

The international marketplace, financial situation and<br />

outlook for New Zealand agriculture<br />

Wayne Gordon, Rabobank Senior Analyst, Rural Economics<br />

& Commodities, (Sydney)<br />

2.30 – 3.10pm Technical session<br />

Introduction and overview: The potential for new<br />

technology in agriculture<br />

Dr Andrew West (AgResearch CEO)<br />

<strong>Deer</strong> selection and genomics: What’s been done and<br />

what could be possible.<br />

Dr Jason Archer, AgResearch Invermay.<br />

3:10 – 3.30pm Johne’s Management Ltd update: Johne’s disease and the<br />

state of the play<br />

Dr Jaimie Hunnam (JML)<br />

3.30 – 3.50pm Afternoon Tea Break<br />

3.50 – 4.20pm Food futures<br />

Dr Jacqueline Rowarth, Director, Massey Agriculture,<br />

Massey University. Federated Farmers “Agricultural<br />

Personality of the year 2009”<br />

4:20 – 5:20pm Agribusiness session keynote Speaker<br />

“Healthy bastards”: Dr David Baldwin, the “Bulls Flying<br />

Doctor” is sick of seeing real good Kiwi blokes dying early<br />

from self-induced illness, hence his non-PC book – not for<br />

the faint hearted!<br />

5.30 – 6.15pm Special Guest<br />

The Minister of Agriculture: The Hon David Carter:<br />

Presentation and Q&A session<br />

Throughout the session delegates will also hear short presentations from<br />

industry partner sponsors Rabobank and Gallagher Group, session sponsors<br />

Ballance Agri-Nutrients and Farmers Mutual Group, along with morning and<br />

afternoon teas and lunch break courtesy of PGG Wrightson Seeds.<br />

6.30 – 7.15pm Social/Cocktail meet and greet<br />

7. 15 – 11.00pm Welcome Function: “Taste of the Bay”<br />

Compered by Hawke’s Bay wine and food expert,<br />

entertainer, columnist and writer, Yvonne Lorkin.<br />

Conference Welcome and Opening: <strong>Industry</strong> conference<br />

partner, Firstlight Foods.<br />

Dinner this evening will be an exploration of great<br />

Hawke’s Bay wine and boutique beers and local food. The<br />

dishes will be prepared under the expert eye of local chef<br />

Malcolm Redmond, of Breckenridge Lodge. There will be<br />

five matched courses including an appetiser, three venison<br />

treats and sweets matched to great Hawke’s Bay wine and<br />

beer varieties. Richard Ward from the local Filter Room<br />

Brewery will match some of their exquisite beers designed<br />

to bring out the best in both, aided by expert commentary.<br />

Evening feature: NZDFA annual Matuschka Award.<br />

Venison sponsored by Firstlight Foods.<br />

Premium conference partner<br />

<strong>Industry</strong> conference partners<br />

Issue No 41 • <strong>Apr</strong>il/<strong>May</strong> <strong>2010</strong> 5


deer industry conference<br />

Wednesday 19 <strong>May</strong> – Day 2<br />

8:30am – 1:30pm<br />

<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> New Zealand Formal General Meeting<br />

The meeting will feature DINZ CEO and Executive reports,<br />

Chairman’s industry overview and Board Q & A sessions<br />

on venison and velvet. Venison marketing companies<br />

will provide their perspective on market conditions and<br />

industry prospects.<br />

This session also includes presentations from industry partners New Zealand<br />

Velvet Marketing Ltd and Telford Rural Polytechnic.<br />

2.00 – 2.30pm Special feature lecture: Things you may not appreciate …<br />

yet. A fresh look at disease resistance in deer<br />

Professor Frank Griffin – Disease Research Laboratory,<br />

University of Otago.<br />

2.30 – 6:00pm 35th NZDFA Annual General Meeting<br />

7:00 – 11.30pm 35th <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> Annual Awards Dinner<br />

Venison sponsored for both the Welcome Function and<br />

Awards Dinner by Firstlight Foods Ltd.<br />

Welcome Premium Conference Partner Silver Fern Farms:<br />

Eion Garden.<br />

• Featuring the 26th <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> Award and the <strong>2010</strong><br />

<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> Environmental Awards<br />

• Entertainment by “The Warbirds” Hawke’s Bay’s most<br />

talented performers.<br />

This event is special for us, as this year we will mark the 40th anniversary of<br />

the issue of deer farming licence No 1. issued to Rex Giles of Consolidated<br />

Traders, and Rahana Station, Taupo<br />

Thursday 20 <strong>May</strong> – Field Day<br />

Hawke’s Bay/Central Regions Branch open public field day at The Steyning<br />

(DINZ’s Making the DIFFerence Focus Farm project) followed by a social hour<br />

(or two) at the Sawyers Arms, Tikokino.<br />

8.30 am Buses depart Napier<br />

9.45 – 10.15 Smoko at the Tikokino Hall<br />

10.15 am Introduction: Mike Holdaway, Chairman Community Group<br />

10.20 am Principal Sponsor: Gerard Hickey, Firstlight Foods<br />

10.30 am Where we’ve been: Richard Hilson (Facilitator)<br />

Tim Aitken and Lucy Robertshawe (<strong>2010</strong> Hawke’s Bay<br />

Farmers of the Year)<br />

11.00 am Farmax® in action at The Steyning: Peter Swinburn<br />

11.30 am Drenching deer – get your head out of the sand! Richard<br />

Lee, Vet Services and Simone Hoskin, AgResearch<br />

12.15pm<br />

Lunch at Hall<br />

1.00 pm Drive to The Steyning for farm tour<br />

GHG project: Ian Millner, HB Regional Council<br />

HBRC inputs at The Steyning: Tim Aitken and Ian Millner<br />

Financial report: Lon Anderson, Rabobank<br />

Cropping – what worked, and what it cost:<br />

Dereck Ferguson, Agricom and & Simone Hoskin,<br />

AgResearch<br />

Buses/ Shuttles depart for Napier and or Palmerston North around 3.00pm or<br />

an early departure if required.<br />

3.30 – 4.00pm Adjourn to Tikokino pub (Sawyers Arms) for more casual<br />

chat about deer and to chew the fat over what you’ve<br />

heard and seen today. The field day and social function is<br />

being arranged.<br />

Travel<br />

• Flights to Napier are getting fully booked. Flying into<br />

Palmerston North may be an option with shuttles to<br />

Napier.<br />

• Travel can be arranged back to Palmerston North after<br />

the Focus Farm Field day.<br />

• If travelling associated with conference there is<br />

no charge for the buses, but you must register in<br />

advance.<br />

For further information please contact Maria or Hannah:<br />

Maria Gourlie: Mediawise Event Management, 06 877 6443,<br />

0274 983 408, maria@eventmanagement.net.nz<br />

Hannah Hsu: Marketing/Communications Assistant, <strong>Deer</strong><br />

<strong>Industry</strong> New Zealand, 04 471 6110 hannah.hsu@deernz.org<br />

The <strong>2010</strong> Conference thanks and acknowledges the<br />

tremendous support for this year’s event from the industry<br />

partners, sponsors and exhibitors featured on these pages.<br />

Conference partners and exhibitors<br />

6<br />

<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>News</strong>


general news<br />

“Aitken technique” for weaning gaining fans<br />

The weaning technique used on Tim Aitken’s and Lucy Robertshawe’s Central Regions Focus Farm is spreading fast, and<br />

with good results (<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>News</strong> February/March <strong>2010</strong>, page 13). This is an excellent example of the way Focus<br />

Farms can be used to promote improved husbandry.<br />

Wanganui deer farmer Brian Shaw reports that after hearing<br />

about the technique at the February field day at The Steyning<br />

– the farm in question – he had tried “the ‘weaners back<br />

to the same paddock they came from’ technique and was<br />

hugely impressed with the result”. He said weaners and<br />

mums were in the paddock for just 48 hours prior, weaned,<br />

and then returned. The mums disappeared some distance<br />

away.<br />

Weaners reportedly were all sitting as a group in the middle<br />

of the paddock, with no fence-running noticed and no stress.<br />

Brian reported that even if this was the only message he ever<br />

remembered and applied it would be worth all the trips to<br />

Focus Farms he had made so far.<br />

Richard Hilson, facilitator for the Central Regions Focus Farm,<br />

also used the technique for all weaning on his own farm. “I<br />

had two mobs boxed up a few weeks earlier and all the mobs<br />

in paddocks near the shed about four days before weaning.<br />

The hinds got through a bit of grass in that time but there<br />

was plenty left,” he notes.<br />

“What was interesting was that the fawns went back to their<br />

paddocks really easily (I did leave one or two old cull hinds<br />

in each mob, most of which have their own fawn still in that<br />

mob with them) and negotiated gateways without one break<br />

back. They then basically ignored the hinds when the hinds<br />

went back down the lane past the paddock.<br />

“Anyone weaning into unfamiliar paddocks will know what<br />

I mean about freshly-weaned fawns running against/into the<br />

lane fences as you bring their mothers or any other deer past<br />

on the same day.”<br />

Richard says the fawns all sat down or grazed in a group<br />

and were still okay that evening when the hinds came up the<br />

lane again for sorting into mating mobs, and then went back<br />

again in their mating mobs.<br />

“Three mobs were against seven-wire sheep top-up fences<br />

and only one fawn may have gone through into the next<br />

mob. That’s pretty good! We have regularly had lameness<br />

issues with fawns – usually a few temporarily lame with<br />

bruised soles and occasionally some with infections.<br />

Absolutely nothing this time, as there wasn’t much fencerunning<br />

at all.<br />

“There was also virtually no calling until later that night and<br />

there was a bit of fence walking the next day but no fence<br />

crashing or scrums in the corner.”<br />

Richard says he has spoken to two other clients who used<br />

the Aitken technique and they are also rapt. “One was doing<br />

it previously with some mobs but managed to do all mobs<br />

that way for the first time. The other is a convert after his<br />

first management change in ages. He had two fawns get<br />

out under a gate but their homing instinct was so great that<br />

when he went to put them back in they shot back under the<br />

gate before he even got to open it. That tells a story too.”<br />

Richard says the technique needs adoption because it works<br />

and makes sense from the deer behaviour perspective.<br />

The weaning technique should work well on most breeding<br />

units. Photo: Richard Hilson.<br />

“It won’t suit everyone but it should work for about 80<br />

percent of breeding units, I’d guess. The biggest issue is the<br />

number of paddocks required in the short term if you are<br />

single-sire mating. But that doesn’t matter for a week, while<br />

everything settles down. Then you can mob up the fawns<br />

and get them on rotation.<br />

“I reckon it’ll work well even if grass is a bit short. Feed a<br />

few supplements early and adjust the fawns to the feed and<br />

the machinery you drive and it will work.<br />

“I am absolutely never going back to my old-style weaning,<br />

under any circumstances!”<br />

Issue No 41 • <strong>Apr</strong>il/<strong>May</strong> <strong>2010</strong> 7


general news<br />

Animal health roundup: Hawke’s Bay region<br />

Richard Hilson, veterinarian with Vet Services Hawke’s Bay, presents the first in a<br />

projected series of practical articles from deer vets around New Zealand.<br />

There is no need to regale you with horror stories of droughts<br />

and poor deer performance from the East Coast this year. It<br />

is dry alright, but much of the Bay had a huge rainfall in late<br />

January and there is plenty of grass on deer farms at present.<br />

It may not be top quality tucker, but we are better off looking<br />

at it than we were looking for it.<br />

Nearly every breeding unit around here weaned in late<br />

February or very early March so that job is ticked off the<br />

autumn list. There were a significant number of farmers who<br />

tried the “Aitken technique” for the first time this year (see<br />

separate article); it may be coincidence, but we have had<br />

very few reports of any major weaning-time problems locally.<br />

What is on the horizon for the next couple of months?<br />

Handling the fawns again!<br />

They’ll need to come in for a second drench and a booster<br />

Yersiniavax® vaccine so be brave and get ready for that first<br />

muster. Don’t procrastinate as young animals in autumn<br />

face considerable parasite challenge. The issues we see with<br />

worms in young deer always occur after extended intervals<br />

between drenches. If you are using oral white drench, you<br />

should be looking to re-drench at not more than three-to-four<br />

week intervals in autumn. The interval will be different with<br />

different drenches.<br />

Back up those stags. Every year we see the results of stag<br />

failure when we are scanning hinds. It is a costly loss and<br />

easily avoided in MA hinds in particular. Most hinds (R3 and<br />

older) that are weaned early will have been mated by 10–15<br />

<strong>Apr</strong>il if the stag is up to it. Put a back-up in then.<br />

Taking the stags out<br />

I may not have spent a lot on my sire stags but, like many<br />

of you, I attach some value to them. Think about the stag<br />

removal process before you start. I take mine out in mid-<br />

<strong>Apr</strong>il and box the hinds up with a single back-up stag. So<br />

the sires come out then and join a few spikers. I take out the<br />

least valuable sire first and put him in with the spikers in a<br />

new paddock – not a paddock that some stag has rutted in<br />

and thinks is his territory to defend. Then I work through the<br />

ranks, adding the stags in the order of value. The last couple<br />

in are older stags and by the time they get in there everyone<br />

else is too tired to challenge them.<br />

New series with practical focus<br />

Fawn<br />

deaths<br />

Be vigilant with<br />

fawn deaths in<br />

particular. Please<br />

don’t assume<br />

that every fawn<br />

death is for the<br />

same reason they<br />

died last year.<br />

While deer don’t<br />

actually get too<br />

many serious<br />

diseases, we regularly get involved a bit late in an outbreak.<br />

No two diseases are covered by an identical treatment or<br />

management change so getting the right answer is important.<br />

A lepto outbreak won’t stop if you treat it as yersinia, and<br />

vice versa. A post mortem is a simple and accurate tool if<br />

you are having weaner deaths, so get your vet involved early.<br />

Pregnancy testing<br />

Pregnancy testing isn’t too far off if you did some AI in<br />

your hinds. We usually schedule that for 40-45 days after<br />

AI, which means that with a rectal linear probe the back-up<br />

pregnancies won’t be seen. With most AI here done in the<br />

second half of March, we’ll be into it in early <strong>May</strong>.<br />

Our main pregnancy testing gets busy from late <strong>May</strong>. The<br />

Steyning – the Central Regions Focus Farm run by Tim<br />

Aitken and Lucy Robertshawe – is usually one of the first<br />

done around here as we will do a full pregnancy mating<br />

date profile. Aging pregnancies isn’t a quick technique but<br />

does add considerable value to the job. Timing is important<br />

so if you are looking for that extra information make sure<br />

you book your scanning early. Aging will confirm the<br />

ability of a new stag or identify if a stag isn’t performing.<br />

It will also tell you a lot about how mating went with the<br />

yearlings in particular, often showing where there is room for<br />

improvement.<br />

Conference coming up<br />

This is the first in what we hope will become a regular series<br />

of practical information from deer veterinarians around New<br />

Zealand reporting on local conditions and seasonal issues<br />

affecting all deer farms. If you are a deer vet interested in<br />

contributing to future issues of <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>News</strong>, please<br />

contact the editor, Phil Stewart, at din@wordpict.co.nz<br />

And don’t forget that the <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> Conference is on in<br />

Napier, 18–20 <strong>May</strong>. The third day features a field trip to the<br />

Central Regions Focus Farm and we’d love to see you there<br />

(see programme in this issue).<br />

We have done some interesting<br />

stuff, with a big leaning towards<br />

animal health, and there will<br />

be plenty of thought-provoking<br />

information for you to digest.<br />

Take the stags out in early <strong>May</strong>,<br />

drench the weaners, book in the<br />

scanning, put the hinds in a big<br />

paddock and get to the Bay.<br />

We’ll see you then!<br />

8<br />

<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>News</strong>


WITH YERSINIOSIS, IT’S ONLY<br />

A QUESTION OF WHEN.<br />

VACCINATE NOW BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.<br />

R+R_20119_DIN<br />

Yersiniosis is a highly infectious disease affecting<br />

weaner deer. It takes little to trigger yersiniosis,<br />

which rapidly leads to bloody scours and death.<br />

Yersiniosis strikes during late autumn and winter<br />

when the typical stresses that trigger the disease<br />

– poor nutrition, changes in feed, yarding,<br />

transport and bad weather – are at their worst.<br />

Yersinia bacteria are always there, waiting, and<br />

there’s nothing that you can do to eliminate them.<br />

But you can prevent the disease.<br />

Yersiniavax is the world’s first and only vaccine<br />

for yersiniosis. Yersiniavax gives herd protection<br />

over weaning and through the high risk late<br />

autumn and winter periods.<br />

For more information, please ask your vet.<br />

Registered pursuant to the ACVM Act 1997, No A6151. Prescription Animal Remedy (P.A.R.) Class 1. For use only under the authority or prescription of a<br />

veterinarian. Registered trademark. Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health Limited. 33 Whakatiki Street, Upper Hutt. Phone: 0800 800 543. YER-115-2009.


stagline supplement<br />

NZDFA AGM <strong>2010</strong>: Constitutional matters<br />

1. AGM: Notice of meeting<br />

New Zealand <strong>Deer</strong> Farmers’ Association, Annual General<br />

Meeting.<br />

Notice is hereby given that the 35th Annual General Meeting<br />

of the New Zealand <strong>Deer</strong> Farmers’ Association (Inc) will be<br />

held in the conference rooms of the Napier War Memorial<br />

Conference Centre, Marine Parade, Napier on Wednesday 19<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2010</strong>, commencing at 2.30 pm.<br />

The Chairman and Executive Committee of the NZDFA invite<br />

all members of the NZDFA and industry levy payers and<br />

interested parties to attend.<br />

2. Executive Committee<br />

appointments<br />

Members of the NZDFA Executive Committee (two members<br />

representing the North Island and two representing the South<br />

Island) are elected for a two-year term. Members retire by<br />

rotation and are eligible for re-election. According to the NZDFA<br />

constitution rules, the Executive Committee annually elects<br />

a Chairman from amongst the four members, for a term also<br />

decided annually. This has traditionally been a 12-month term.<br />

Nominations have been called for the two vacancies created<br />

by retirement by rotation.<br />

Executive Committee North Island<br />

Two nominations have been received for the vacancy created<br />

by the retirement by rotation of Earle Wells. They are Earle<br />

Wells, Coastal Bay of Plenty (nominated John Travers,<br />

seconded Hamish McKenzie) and Steve Borland, Waikato<br />

(nominated Alby Cooper, seconded Brian Marcroft). An<br />

election is required by postal vote.<br />

Executive Committee South Island<br />

Two nominations have been received for the vacancy created<br />

by the retirement by rotation of Edmund Noonan. They are<br />

Edmund Noonan, Canterbury (nominated Bob Kingscote,<br />

seconded Ron Schroeder), and Barry Cuttance, Canterbury<br />

(nominated Jim McPhee, seconded Corey Busch). An election<br />

is required by postal vote.<br />

The successful candidates will join sitting members Bill<br />

Taylor, Winton, Southland and Wilton Turner, Apiti, Central<br />

Regions as the <strong>2010</strong>–11 Executive Committee of the NZDFA<br />

following the conclusion of the 35th NZDFA AGM on 19 <strong>May</strong>.<br />

Stop Press: Steyning scores again<br />

Tim Aitken and Lucy Robertshawe are the <strong>2010</strong> Hawke’s Bay<br />

Farmers of the Year. The award was announced at a Silver Fern<br />

Farms-sponsored dinner on 6 <strong>Apr</strong>il. Tim and Lucy have had a<br />

high profile as the <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> Focus Farm for the southern<br />

North Island over the last couple of years, and we are sure all<br />

deer farmers will join <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>News</strong> in congratulating this<br />

innovative and hard working couple. There will be a field day<br />

on 6 <strong>May</strong> at their 316-hectare property, The Steyning, Makaroro<br />

Road, near Tikokino. But if you miss that don’t forget there<br />

will also be a <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> Focus Farm field day on 20 <strong>May</strong><br />

immediately following the <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> Conference. The Farmer<br />

of the Year judges were impressed with the couple’s ability to<br />

look to the future and their commitment to an integrated supply<br />

chain with Firstlight Foods.<br />

Nominees’ profiles have been mailed to all those entitled to<br />

vote in this election as part of the voting pack.<br />

3. Selection and Appointments<br />

Panel (SAP)<br />

The SAP consists of the four-man Executive Committee and<br />

four non-Executive Committee elected members. Two of the<br />

non Executive Committee elected members of the Panel (one<br />

from each island) retire annually by rotation.<br />

SAP North Island<br />

Three nominations have been received for the single vacancy<br />

created by the retirement by rotation policy:<br />

The sitting member, Mike Holdaway, Apiti has not sought<br />

re-election. Nominations received are: Andy Jarden,<br />

Wanganui, Central Regions, (nominated Mike Holdaway,<br />

seconded Brian Shaw), Mike McCormick, Hawke’s Bay,<br />

(nominated John Spiers, seconded Richard Broughton) and<br />

Campbell Clarke, Waipa (nominated Steve Borland, seconded<br />

Brian Wellington). An election is required by postal vote.<br />

Nominees’ profiles have been mailed to all those entitled to<br />

vote in this election as part of the voting pack.<br />

SAP South Island<br />

One nomination has been received for the single vacancy<br />

created by the retirement by rotation policy:<br />

Mark Hawkins, Sutherlands, South Canterbury (nominated<br />

Bill Taylor, seconded Andrew Fraser) is declared appointed<br />

unopposed.<br />

He and the successful North Island candidate will join<br />

current members David Stevens, Balfour, Southland, and<br />

Ponty von Dadelszen, Waipukurau, Hawke’s Bay, on the<br />

<strong>2010</strong>–11 NZDFA Selection and Appointments Panel.<br />

4. NZDFA appointments to the Board<br />

of <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> New Zealand<br />

Producer-appointed Board members are appointed directly to<br />

the DINZ Board for a three-year term and that appointment<br />

is advised to the Minister of Agriculture as a formality. There<br />

are two vacancies for the <strong>2010</strong>–2013 Board term, those of<br />

sitting members John Scurr, Wanaka (who does not seek<br />

reappointment) and Keith Neylon, Winton.<br />

Three nominations have been received for the vacancies:<br />

Collier Isaacs, Wellington (nominated, John Somerville,<br />

seconded, Brian Russell)<br />

Andy MacFarlane, Ashburton, (nominated, David Morgan,<br />

seconded, John Acland)<br />

Keith Neylon, Winton, (nominated Chris Hughes, seconded<br />

Murray Hagen).<br />

The candidates are invited under the NZDFA constitution to<br />

present a short overview of their candidature at the 35th<br />

AGM in Napier on 19 <strong>May</strong>, <strong>2010</strong> prior to the meeting’s<br />

general business session. The Selection and Appointments<br />

Panel will interview candidates (suggested for 9 June <strong>2010</strong>)<br />

and make an appointment prior to 1 July as required.<br />

10<br />

<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>News</strong>


stagline supplement<br />

Selection and Appointments Panel:<br />

Role, function and code of practice<br />

<strong>Deer</strong> farmers are currently in the process of electing a non Executive Committee member (North Island) for the Selection<br />

and Appointments Panel (SAP). For the democratic process to work properly, as many people as possible should take<br />

part, and voters should understand the roles of their representatives. David Stevens, Chairman of the 2009/10 SAP,<br />

reminds us how the panel operates.<br />

• The panel has eight members.<br />

• Four are deer farmers directly elected for a two-year<br />

term, two from the North Island and two from the South<br />

Island.<br />

• The remaining four positions are taken up by the<br />

NZDFA Executive Committee.<br />

• Each year, four positions are available for election: two<br />

non Executive Committee and two Executive Committee<br />

(based on the positions for both from the North and<br />

South Islands).<br />

• The vacancies are available for re-election of sitting<br />

members or new nominations, which can only made by<br />

members of the NZDFA from the Island for which the<br />

vacancy exists.<br />

• All active deer farmers (full, life and elected NZDFA<br />

members and levy payers) are eligible to vote for all<br />

positions if they choose so.<br />

• At its first meeting each year, the SAP elects a Chairman<br />

for that year. It is traditionally recommended that the<br />

DFA Executive Committee Chairman cannot also hold<br />

the SAP Chairman’s role unless there are exceptional<br />

circumstances.<br />

The primary role of the SAP is to select suitable people for<br />

the positions of Producer Appointees to the <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />

New Zealand Board and to advise these appointments to<br />

the Minister of Agriculture. This is typically done in early<br />

June following conference as the Board appointments<br />

are due to be made by 1 July. SAP members don’t take<br />

this responsibility lightly, as it is extremely important in<br />

maintaining the integrity of the selection process.<br />

The SAP operating code of practice requires that meeting<br />

procedures, declaration of interests and interviewing of<br />

candidates must be carried out professionally. The code has<br />

been developed over the years and also details SAP selection<br />

and ballot operations among other issues.<br />

Before considering candidates for appointment to the DINZ<br />

Board, the SAP decides what requirements and strengths are<br />

needed on the Board, identifying any gaps in resources and<br />

skills.<br />

An understanding of farming issues, marketing and<br />

governance and having time available to contribute are all<br />

factors considered. A candidate may be exceptional in his or<br />

her field but may not fit the needs of the DINZ Board at that<br />

time. This is no reflection on the ability of the candidate.<br />

Nominees are invited to participate in a presentation at the<br />

annual conference prior to the selection process.<br />

The SAP (as formally granted in the DFA constitution)<br />

usually meets with the NZDFA producer appointees to the<br />

Board twice a year for an exchange of views on matters of<br />

concern and interest within the deer industry.<br />

The SAP can meet as required to review the performance<br />

of the Board and its effectiveness in dealing with industry<br />

issues and, where necessary, recommend to the Executive<br />

Committee that it make submissions to the DINZ Board.<br />

The SAP also works with the DFA working group to review<br />

the annual DINZ budget, and from time to time meets with<br />

Branch Chairmen in teleconferences or can be consulted by<br />

the Executive Committee on major issues for the DFA (eg,<br />

progress with NAIT).<br />

Traditionally, the newly appointed SAP meets at the end of<br />

the NZDFA conference in <strong>May</strong> each year.<br />

The SAP is very aware of the quality of the candidates<br />

standing for a producer position on the DINZ Board. We<br />

have been fortunate to secure funding through the Producer<br />

Manager budget and held two workshops during the past two<br />

years with Graeme Nahkies of Boardworks International Ltd,<br />

looking at:<br />

• director selection and appointment<br />

• interview process<br />

• interview and assessment techniques<br />

• director effectiveness evaluation<br />

• director training and development<br />

• development of board charters, codes of practice and<br />

governance policies.<br />

These workshops have proven very useful in upskilling<br />

SAP members, ensuring they clearly understand the<br />

responsibilities of directorship.<br />

Finally, I know I speak on behalf of all of SAP members in<br />

saying that it is a privilege to represent deer farmers on the<br />

panel. This important body is a senior DFA representative<br />

group openly selected by vote. I urge deer farmers to exercise<br />

their vote this year for the Executive Committee and Non<br />

Executive Committee positions on the SAP.<br />

A client tells us his weighing system paid<br />

for itself twice over in the first season.<br />

AUTO - weigh AUTO - draft<br />

bridge<br />

Let us share with you just how he did this.<br />

email: heenanchch@xtra.co.nz<br />

or phone: 0800 502 337<br />

Issue No 41 • <strong>Apr</strong>il/<strong>May</strong> <strong>2010</strong> 11


Market Report<br />

Venison<br />

Production<br />

The steep reduction in New Zealand venison production<br />

continues with 12-month production to the end of December<br />

back 22 percent to 458,000 deer for the calendar year.<br />

Anecdotal reports suggest the kill through the first few months<br />

of <strong>2010</strong> is down even more in comparison with previous years.<br />

While the plentiful grass earlier in the year encouraged some<br />

producers to hold stock back, the main cause is the reduction<br />

in the total herd numbers and the retention of females for<br />

limited herd rebuilding.<br />

Exchange rate<br />

The steady appreciation of the New Zealand dollar against<br />

our main trading currency continues to erode returns for all<br />

exporters, including the New Zealand deer industry. The New<br />

Zealand dollar hit a 24-month high against the euro in the<br />

week beginning 29 March, up 31 percent year on year. While<br />

the US dollar has strengthened in recent weeks, it remains<br />

nearly 30 percent less valuable than it was one year ago.<br />

Schedule<br />

In recent years, deer farmers have been calling for stability in<br />

the venison schedule. If this is what was asked for, this is what<br />

is being delivered. For the past 13 weeks the national average<br />

schedule, as reported by Agrifax, has stayed in a narrow range<br />

around $6.70. This remains the third-best payment for venison<br />

producers at this time of year.<br />

Schedule 60kg AP Stag ($ per kg)<br />

$10.50<br />

$8.13<br />

$5.75<br />

$3.38<br />

$1.00<br />

Weekly Schedule<br />

2006 10 year average<br />

2007 2008<br />

2009 <strong>2010</strong><br />

1 6 11 16 21 26 31 36 41 46 51<br />

Week<br />

Market conditions<br />

Prices remain good for New Zealand venison in Europe. Despite<br />

the recession, cheap European stocks, and worries about<br />

the prospects for the remainder of the year, New Zealand<br />

exporters remain confident that prices will remain stable for<br />

the year ahead. While back on the highs achieved during<br />

the commodity boom of 2008, New Zealand venison has<br />

held its value well over the past 12 months. The reduction<br />

in production coming from New Zealand has <strong>help</strong>ed, but<br />

with stocks carried through from the previous year there was<br />

a reluctance among some European importers to commit<br />

to purchasing significant quantities of frozen New Zealand<br />

venison for the year ahead. This is especially so for the more<br />

expensive middle cuts, which remain in adequate supply on the<br />

“off-season” market at present.<br />

Recent promotion activities<br />

Cervena®<br />

If you receive the Prime television channel, keep an eye out<br />

for their upcoming new local series, Tom’s Kitchen. The series<br />

features charismatic international chef and author Tom Kime<br />

delivering a feast of international flavours straight to your<br />

home with his new kitchen-based demonstrations. In the<br />

coming weeks Tom will demonstrate a delicious venison recipe.<br />

Check it out at www.tomskitchen.co.nz<br />

Filming Tom’s Kitchen, new series bringing viewers a delicious<br />

venison recipe.<br />

Store tastings<br />

Over the past few months, DINZ has continued to support<br />

German companies as they promote out-of-season<br />

consumption of New Zealand venison to German consumers.<br />

Retail promotions are an extremely effective way of getting<br />

people to realise that New Zealand venison is different from<br />

the traditional product, shaping many people’s perception of<br />

game items. Hamburg-based Prime Meat has recently been<br />

conducting tastings. The company is a very long-standing<br />

customer and ardent supporter of New Zealand venison.<br />

Prime imports New Zealand venison alongside other New<br />

Zealand meat products, and is very active in promoting the<br />

attributes which differentiate it from other game options to<br />

their wide customer base. The tasting in Hamburg was in<br />

conjunction with the Internorga catering and food service<br />

trade fair, which has over 100,000 visitors and is the biggest<br />

trade fair in Europe for the hotel and restaurant industry.<br />

More than 100,000 visitors come to the Internorga trade fair.<br />

New Zealand venison was on show.<br />

12<br />

<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>News</strong>


Market Report<br />

Velvet<br />

Velvet prices have held for producers in New Zealand and<br />

through to the markets. However, a clear separation now<br />

exists in the quantity of velvet exported compared to last year.<br />

While New Zealand velvet continues to receive a premium price<br />

in Korea, a reduction in the volume exported and increased<br />

Russian production has resulted in a declining market share for<br />

New Zealand velvet in South Korea. Market access continues to<br />

be a key driver for industry projects.<br />

Prices<br />

Reportedly, velvet prices remain strong, with demand for New<br />

Zealand velvet showing little or no weakness to date. Indicative<br />

spot pricing across most grades has remained consistent over<br />

the past several weeks.<br />

Production<br />

Comments from buyers and exporters still suggest production<br />

will be significantly lower compared with last year. It is still too<br />

early to predict whether production will finish above or below<br />

the 400-tonne mark.<br />

Exports<br />

Velvet exports from 1 October 2009 to 28 February <strong>2010</strong> were<br />

down 27% on the previous year, at around 170 tonnes (frozen<br />

equivalent) compared with approximately 233 tonnes exported<br />

for the same period last year.<br />

Frozen tonnes<br />

400<br />

300<br />

200<br />

100<br />

2005/2006 2006/2007<br />

2007/2008 2008/2009<br />

2009/<strong>2010</strong><br />

0<br />

Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb<br />

Figure 1: Cumulative velvet exports (frozen tonnes) 2005–<strong>2010</strong><br />

Source: Statistics New Zealand. Dried converted to frozen at a<br />

ratio of 1:3.3<br />

Korean imports<br />

The scene has changed in Korea this season as imports of<br />

cheaper Russian velvet have more than doubled. New Zealand’s<br />

market share has slipped, showing that while our production<br />

may be down, consumption has not fallen to the same extent<br />

and demand is being filled elsewhere.<br />

Korean economy<br />

Korea’s Ministry of Finance and Statistics reported that the<br />

number of private jobs increased in February, the first gain<br />

since November 2008. Job growth is usually a good sign that a<br />

recovery is firmly underway. This position was further enhanced<br />

by a Korean Central Bank survey showing manufacturers as<br />

being the most confident they have been in the last seven years.<br />

The New Zealand currency has continued to decline against the<br />

Korean won, having reached a high of around 870 since the<br />

start of the season. The four-year seasonal average however is<br />

well below 800 at 743.<br />

NZD against Korean won<br />

950<br />

900<br />

850<br />

800<br />

750<br />

700<br />

650<br />

600<br />

550<br />

500<br />

Sep-09 Oct-09 Nov-09 Dec-09 Jan-10 Feb-10 Mar-10<br />

Figure 2: NZD against the Korean won, 1 September 2009 to 29<br />

March <strong>2010</strong> versus four-year seasonal average<br />

Market activity<br />

2009 - <strong>2010</strong> 4 year season average<br />

Korea<br />

<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> New Zealand and the Velvet Processors’<br />

Association are working with the New Zealand Ministry of<br />

Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Korean Free Trade negotiating team,<br />

to seek out the best possible trade position for New Zealand<br />

deer products. The fourth round of negotiations between the<br />

two governments is due this month.<br />

Hong Kong<br />

The Closer Economic Partnership signed with Hong Kong in<br />

March may not effect any big changes in terms of reduced<br />

tariff, but it does <strong>help</strong> to “future-proof” the favourable trade<br />

conditions that industries (such as New Zealand’s deer industry)<br />

enjoy with Hong Kong. While more velvet is now being<br />

exported directly to China, Hong Kong still imports around<br />

8–9% of New Zealand’s velvet production (down from around<br />

30% four years ago).<br />

Australia<br />

An increasing number of enquires are occurring as we continue<br />

to move through the approval process to get New Zealand<br />

velvet registered on the Therapeutic Goods Administrations<br />

Permitted Ingredients List. The final Compositional Guidelines<br />

have been signed-off after consultation with New Zealand<br />

processers. The final step in the process, the application for the<br />

Australian Approved Name, is also underway.<br />

General marketing support<br />

Many of New Zealand’s main market distributors have given<br />

very positive feedback on the DVD, Nature’s Finest. They<br />

comment, however, that while the DVD is good at promoting<br />

New Zealand velvet’s brand attributes, it is aging. A project<br />

to completely overhaul the DVD and provide an interactive<br />

tool (including video) to the markets has begun. The plan is<br />

to create interactive media to supply marketers with necessary<br />

material to <strong>help</strong> promote New Zealand velvet. This will include<br />

all recent brochures and the technical manual.<br />

Issue No 41 • <strong>Apr</strong>il/<strong>May</strong> <strong>2010</strong> 13


focus farms<br />

Fodder and water key to focus farm<br />

Fodder-cropping beets and water supply on dry hill country were key elements of the 18 February Mendip Hills Focus<br />

Farm open day.<br />

The Mendip Hills Focus Farm is entering its final year on<br />

the programme. <strong>Deer</strong> are part of its diversified operation<br />

alongside sheep and cattle. The deer operation consists of<br />

60 hectares with weaner hinds and R2 hinds after scanning,<br />

and a deer hill block of 805ha, mostly in six blocks for<br />

MA breeding hinds. This is a small but important part of<br />

the 6,132-ha property. The deer operation also operates in<br />

conjunction with an irrigated 150ha mid-Canterbury property.<br />

Mendip Hills manager Simon Lee notes that: “Since the last<br />

field day in spring, we have given the hinds in the deer<br />

unit on the hill a copper bullet and selenium pour-on and<br />

set-stocked them for calving on their hill blocks. We were<br />

delayed in getting the new hill block fenced for the first<br />

calving hinds and they started calving on the flat so we<br />

decided to leave them there to finish calving. Instead we put<br />

all the yearling hinds on the new hill block.”<br />

In September, all hinds were Tb tested and scanned and<br />

60 dries sold. R2 hinds were Johne’s blood-sampled for the<br />

second time and copper and selenium levels were checked.<br />

About a hundred cattle were introduced to the hill deer block<br />

to tidy up some of the rough tag 1 and some breeding cows<br />

were left there to calve with the hinds.<br />

Focus on fodder<br />

Planting winter feed in the bottom deer unit has been a<br />

major task. It started in spring when they prepared the<br />

ground for an October sowing of fodder beet and spraying<br />

two more paddocks to be direct-drilled with turnips and<br />

second rape. Four hectares of Revolution ryegrass were also<br />

sown in October and other crops include 15ha of lucerne,<br />

Andrew Johnston, Luisetti Seeds, (community group member) and Miesha Lee<br />

of Mendip Hills Station show off some of the developing fodder beet during the<br />

field day.<br />

1 “Tag” is a North Canterbury expression for scrub and long<br />

grass from a “growthy” spring gone to seed amongst manuka<br />

and matagouri. Good for burning off but can protect tough<br />

country from drying out too quickly. Useful cattle tucker but<br />

not great for deer.<br />

75ha of kale and 110ha of turnips; 140ha of new grass has<br />

been sown between February and the start of <strong>Apr</strong>il.<br />

As with other Focus Farms, fodder beet has been the subject<br />

of keen interest lately and Mendip has a fine crop for winter<br />

fodder. Says Simon: “One lesson learned has been not to<br />

plant soon after a brassica crop as regrowth of these plants<br />

could not easily be controlled by the post-emergence sprays<br />

used on the beet. We should have used a bit of Roundup<br />

a couple of days before sowing, to knock off the brassica.<br />

At that stage Roundup is a cheap option compared to the<br />

brassica-specific sprays that would otherwise be needed.” As<br />

a result, it was necessary to hand-weed the regrowth on what<br />

turned out to be the hottest day of summer! Establishment<br />

costs were $1500/ha for seed and the post-emergence spray<br />

of Nortron, Betanol and Gultrix. “After the last application<br />

of nitrogen it’s just a matter of watching the crop grow.<br />

Pests aren’t an issue and the beets hang on to their leaves,<br />

shading the ground, reducing moisture loss and eliminating<br />

competition.”<br />

James White from Seedforth said that while beets were<br />

regarded as a relatively technical crop to grow, they were still<br />

fairly straightforward. “Preparation is the thing. You need to<br />

select the paddock early. The main issue at this stage is that<br />

pH needs to be 6+ or you have to add lime. If it’s in the low<br />

5s you need to both lime and grow another rotation before it<br />

will be suitable.”<br />

He also cautioned that it was important to look at the history<br />

of the land use because beets could not tolerate the residual<br />

effects of certain post-emergence sprays used on brassicas, or<br />

follow maize that had seen atrazine or Granstar.<br />

“Once it is established the potential yield is huge:<br />

the world record for heaviest forage beets is<br />

79kg, and 20kg is commonplace. We’re aiming at<br />

a finished weight of 5–7kg, excluding the tops.<br />

By June we expect to have four to six plants per<br />

square metre, or 20 tonnes/ha. Most of the further<br />

weight gain will be in the bulb. As the yield goes<br />

on upwards, the cost per kg dry matter (DM) goes<br />

progressively down, possibly as low as seven<br />

cents/kg.<br />

“Dry sites aren’t necessarily a problem if you plan<br />

to get the plants established when conditions<br />

are most favourable. You may have to plant on a<br />

different date each year and you need the flexibility<br />

to do this. In dry conditions the leaves will often<br />

wilt during the day but bounce back as the day<br />

cools – they’re much hardier than brassicas.<br />

“Remember they have a very high sugar content,<br />

which is their main advantage over brassicas. In the<br />

bulb, the sugar content can be as high as 90 percent<br />

DM. Unlike turnips they keep their leaves, which<br />

are also relatively high in protein. Such a nutritious<br />

diet will maintain and even increase liveweight during winter,<br />

something you can’t expect from kale. A bit of supplemental<br />

feeding with silage or lucerne is also advisable if the aim is<br />

to push yield rather than just maintain condition.”<br />

14<br />

<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>News</strong>


focus farms<br />

Simon said the feeding plan with the beets was still evolving.<br />

“The utilisation rate is better than for kale, with the deer<br />

eating it right down into the ground. Once they get a taste<br />

for it there’s no holding them back, and it isn’t necessary to<br />

fence it off into breaks when feeding beets to deer. Tearing<br />

up of the ground will happen in the wet regardless, but<br />

unlike kale, beets remain sound when things dry out again.<br />

Stories of 90 percent utilisation on kale are exaggerated but<br />

with beets that level is possible.<br />

“Originally it was intended to put the weaners on it in mid-<br />

<strong>May</strong> then possibly use the two-year-olds to clean up after<br />

them. However, we do need to be careful as there is Johne’s<br />

in the soil and you don’t want to graze too low. The aim<br />

is to get as much weight as possible on the weaners before<br />

they go to the stag. Mendip is very focused on maximising<br />

conception rates for first-timers and we will be closely<br />

monitoring the animals’ growth rates.”<br />

A way with water<br />

With so much hill country and low rainfall, stock water<br />

is another big issue at Mendip. A new stock water supply<br />

scheme now mainly serves the farm’s hill deer unit and<br />

pushes water as far as 200 metres uphill. This highly<br />

automated system requires a servicing visit only once every<br />

22 days.<br />

Farming carbon credits<br />

Mendip Hills owner Bryden Black says<br />

carbon farming is now becoming part<br />

of the operation and is upbeat about<br />

the prospects. He said it worked best<br />

on weed-ridden ground, where it could<br />

become a real money-spinner with<br />

carbon credits trading at $23–24 a tonne<br />

and rising. “The timber market may<br />

not be so good but we’re in the market<br />

for sequestered carbon. What was at<br />

first a total pain is now looking fairly<br />

attractive.”<br />

In addition to a forestry block, patches<br />

around the farm adding up to more than<br />

120 hectares of macrocarpa and pine<br />

plantings are turning previously weedridden<br />

ground into a valuable asset.<br />

Bryden noted that pruning is no longer<br />

carried out on new plantings. This <strong>help</strong>ed<br />

keep establishment costs down and<br />

reduce risk.<br />

Clayton Wallwork of the Carbon<br />

Farming Group said the emissions trading scheme was<br />

set to continue after 2012, irrespective of Kyoto, and<br />

recommended not selling off carbon credits. “Their value<br />

is likely to go up and if you have sold yours it may be<br />

very costly to replace them when the time comes to fell<br />

the timber. If you sell off your carbon credits you will be<br />

handing on a large liability to the next generation come<br />

harvest time. Timing of harvest will also be determined<br />

to some degree by the price of timber and carbon<br />

credits.”<br />

Determining the necessary capacity of the system has been<br />

the subject of some careful calculation. For example, lactating<br />

hinds typically need around 2–4 litres of water per kg DM<br />

eaten so if they have the potential to eat 4–5kg DM a day,<br />

then they can need up to 20 litres a day. They may get some<br />

of that from the grass but will still need a significant amount<br />

of drinking water to make up the shortfall. However, once<br />

weaned they need less water per kg DM eaten, and since<br />

they will only need 2kg DM their supplemental water needs<br />

are reduced.<br />

Early weaning also <strong>help</strong>s conserve feed and water. A hind<br />

will either need 30 to 40 megajoules of metabolisable energy<br />

(MJME) a day at this time of the year or must use her body<br />

reserves to meet the demands of the calf. With, for example,<br />

900kg DM/ha on offer, then the hind may be able to eat 3kg<br />

DM/d at 9MJME/kg, leaving her 3–13MJME short. If she<br />

has any body reserves left then she might recover 20MJ/<br />

kg of liveweight lost, so might be expected to lose 0.15 to<br />

0.65kg/d. This would mean losing one unit of body condition<br />

score (BCS) in 15–30 days.<br />

This leaves the calf’s intake, which should be 1–1.5kg DM/d.<br />

The calf will reduce that depending on the milk supply of the<br />

hind and it could be as low as 0.5kg DM/d. That puts the<br />

demand back onto the hind – she’ll lose weight at the 15-day<br />

continued on page 16<br />

Mendip Hills owner Bryden Black talks to visitors about plantation planting and<br />

carbon farming potential in forestry blocks.<br />

Choice of species was also important and fairly site<br />

specific, he said. “Douglas fir takes a longer rotation<br />

than eucalypts, which are initially fast-growing then<br />

slow down. Eucalyptus regnans is fastest and more<br />

efficient than Douglas fir, though there are some<br />

problems with insects. Macrocarpa is very prone to<br />

canker, which creates lesions that look like snow<br />

damage. This is aggravated by pruning stress, another<br />

good reason not to prune them.”<br />

Mendip Hills is continuing to operate a policy of clearing<br />

regrowth scrub from its rolling hills.<br />

Issue No 41 • <strong>Apr</strong>il/<strong>May</strong> <strong>2010</strong> 15


focus farms<br />

continued from page 15<br />

rate – and it lowers the performance of the calf, towards<br />

200g/d growth rate.<br />

So in a drought, the intake reduces to 3.5–4kg DM/d per<br />

hind/calf pair, with hinds losing BCS at around one unit<br />

every 15–20 days, and calves growing only 200–250g/d,<br />

meaning they are lighter at weaning.<br />

“If we wean then the overall intake requirement does not<br />

change much, as we still need 2kg DM/d for the hind, and<br />

1.5kg DM/d for the calf. But if we stop the decline in BCS,<br />

we increase the gain on the calf, back towards 300–350g/d,<br />

and we have more control of the use of different types of<br />

feed. So the hind can be put on to relatively low-quality<br />

rations, while the calf can get the higher-quality rations or be<br />

moved off the property.<br />

“This means that weaning is really important, not just to<br />

conserve feed but also to conserve water. It also saves on<br />

feed in the autumn, when the 1kg liveweight lost takes 5kg<br />

of grass to regain. So a loss of 10kg needs 50kg pasture<br />

to recover, 25 percent of a hind’s winter maintenance<br />

requirements.”<br />

Customised lime pellets<br />

Other features of the open day were a demonstration of the<br />

Gallagher tag system (as described in <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>News</strong><br />

issue 39, December 2009) and a presentation on Optimise, a<br />

new ultra-finely-divided lime product.<br />

This is made from lime ground to less than 50 microns<br />

particle size and pelletised. The formulation of each batch<br />

ordered can be tailored to the individual property and the<br />

elements released over a period of up to two years. According<br />

to Optimise’s Geoff Latimer, the extremely fine lime particles<br />

ensure much more rapid utilisation of the calcium, enabling<br />

lower application rates. The problem of losses caused<br />

by dust drift is eliminated by pelletising. Although it’s<br />

Lunch break during the field day Mendip Hills on the airstrip<br />

block. Speaking are facilitator Peter Bradley (dark shirt) and<br />

Mendip Hills manager Simon Lee (in cap on left).<br />

more expensive than raw agricultural lime, less is needed,<br />

application costs are correspondingly lower and it is much<br />

more effective – and more rapidly effective, Geoff says.<br />

He adds that it’s a good pre-drilling tool to fast-track pH<br />

change and can be followed later with ordinary, slower-acting<br />

agricultural lime. “It has also been very effective on highaluminium<br />

soils. On a property at Tarras it reduced the<br />

aluminium level from 9.1 to 1.8 in three months, and pH was<br />

improved, which also makes minerals more available.”<br />

Contacts for further information:<br />

■■<br />

Peter Bradley, Facilitator, Macfarlane Rural Business,<br />

027 649 1107, peter@mrb.co.nz<br />

■■<br />

Simon Lee Manager 0274 355 779, 03 319 2857<br />

simon@mendiphills.co.nz<br />

■■<br />

Optimise: Tony Drake, 0508 678 464 #4<br />

■■<br />

Clayton Wallwork, Carbon Farming Group:<br />

0800 123 733, info@carbonfarming.org.nz<br />

Livestock weighing is an essential component<br />

of effective farm management.<br />

Capable, reliable and yet simple to use –<br />

Heenan WEIGH bridge teamed<br />

with Gallagher, Tru-Test or your existing scales,<br />

is an important tool that contributes to more<br />

profitable farming.<br />

No hassle – just quietly, quickly (200+/hour)<br />

and efficiently.<br />

email: heenanchch@xtra.co.nz<br />

or phone: 0800 502 337<br />

16<br />

<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>News</strong>


focus farms<br />

From town to country:<br />

Introducing David and Pam Nind<br />

Following a path from townies to shearing to dairying to deer, David and Pam Nind are<br />

finally where they want to be.<br />

The last couple of years have been full-on for the Nind family<br />

of Five Rivers in western Southland, the latest farming couple<br />

to join the Making the DIFFerence Focus Farm programme.<br />

David and Pam Nind have a dairying background, coming<br />

into the deer industry 10 years ago. Originally townies, their<br />

goals of farm ownership were clear: with shearing and then<br />

share-milking, they built up the equity needed to purchase<br />

a deer property and produce venison. They built up their<br />

mixed livestock Dipton farm from 344 to 728 hectares, then<br />

took up one of the several offers to buy they’d received<br />

before looking for a new challenge – one with more flat land<br />

and more flexibility.<br />

The couple then bought two farms in the Five Rivers valley<br />

– the 728-hectare East Dome property in July 2008, and the<br />

272ha Bixter Road block seven months later – and have<br />

created deer units on both while retaining a 40ha leased<br />

deer-finishing block near Dipton.<br />

Over the last 12 months, David, Pam, their one employee<br />

and a very efficient contractor have built 40km of deer fence,<br />

3.5km of lane, 4km of drainage and erected new deer yards.<br />

They have also put in 113ha of crop to new grass.<br />

The combined 497ha within the deer units form extensive<br />

commercial breeding and finishing properties.<br />

New deer yards at Five Rivers Farm.<br />

Farm in focus<br />

The couple have agreed to be Focus Farmers as part of the<br />

<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> Focus Farm project in Southland. This initiative<br />

is a little different in that it encompasses integrated livestock<br />

management, established by the Southland NZDFA Branch<br />

as a key theme of interest for the area. This is one of the<br />

reasons David came on board.<br />

Their 13,000 stock unit farming operation incorporates sheep,<br />

beef and deer, plus dairy grazers over winter to boost the<br />

cashflow.<br />

“Improving profit and productivity from a mixed livestock<br />

operation is a challenge facing many of us, and this seems<br />

like a good way of looking at what we’re doing in one area<br />

to maximise production across the whole operation,” David<br />

explained.<br />

The Focus Farm is a way of David giving something back into<br />

the industry while extending his knowledge and challenging<br />

himself to try new things.<br />

“I see a real need to<br />

update ourselves with<br />

what’s being done in deer<br />

and what improvements<br />

we should be looking<br />

at to make it better for<br />

commercial deer farmers<br />

– we can’t all be stag<br />

breeders.”<br />

Having attended many<br />

dairy discussion groups<br />

with his staff, he knows<br />

the value of information<br />

sharing. “I don’t think there’s the same amount of<br />

information getting out about deer farming, and I think it’s<br />

time we stepped up. It’s important to attract young people<br />

into the industry and to keep them informed and motivated.<br />

It’s up to us to make that happen.”<br />

For the future<br />

David was pleased and a little surprised at how many<br />

people turned up to the recent field day (25 February) on his<br />

property and at the interest shown in his deer conversion.<br />

The goal of the Ninds’ operation is to have $30,000 income<br />

every week of the year, achieved through a balance of stock<br />

management but with some flexibility built in to manage dry<br />

and difficult seasons.<br />

For the deer unit, as he explained at the field day, that<br />

means more calves, heavier and earlier to ensure crucial<br />

pre-Christmas revenue, with a focus on winter management<br />

which includes scanning at Queen’s birthday to ensure he<br />

doesn’t carry dry hinds longer than necessary. He’s also<br />

moving away from running what he terms “average” deer,<br />

buying the best stags he can.<br />

Last year the farms wintered 1,100 mixed age hinds, 2,000<br />

weaners and 50 stags. They also ran 3,000 ewes, 40 breeding<br />

cows and 413 rising two- and three-year-old cattle for trading.<br />

Stock were wintered on 28ha of whole crop barley, 9.8ha<br />

of fodder beet, 103ha of swedes and choumoellier. A total<br />

of 250 bales of hay and 500 bales of baleage were made on<br />

farm, with a further 200 baleage bales purchased.<br />

Achieving their goals<br />

David Nind: wants to put<br />

something back into the industry<br />

through Focus Farm programme.<br />

A low cost structure and low labour costs compared with<br />

dairying has allowed the Ninds’ business to grow, and to<br />

convert the existing sheep farm to deer.<br />

Development costs have been around $1,000/ha, covering<br />

fencing, gates and lanes. David and farm staff took out<br />

fences and laid out all material for the contractor, keeping the<br />

fencing contract to $3/metre, with fencing materials $5.96/<br />

metre.<br />

continued on page 18<br />

Issue No 41 • <strong>Apr</strong>il/<strong>May</strong> <strong>2010</strong> 17


focus farms<br />

National programme, local initiative<br />

The Five Rivers <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> Focus Farm project is stimulating discussion in Southland.<br />

The practical issues around achieving the Focus Farm ideal<br />

of “more calves, heavier and earlier” in Southland were<br />

highlighted on 25 February with a Focus Farm field day on<br />

the Five Rivers property of David and Pam Nind.<br />

The field day, one of nine over three years held as part of<br />

the <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> Focus Farms project, provided around<br />

100 western Southland and Fiordland farmers with industry<br />

updates, discussion and a valuable look into what one<br />

innovative local deer farmer has been doing to increase<br />

on-farm deer returns.<br />

The tour of David and Pam’s impressive year-old deer<br />

conversion at Five Rivers was undoubtedly the highlight.<br />

The ideas the Ninds shared during the tour provided a<br />

useful catalyst for discussions on management options for<br />

the colder months, where managing feed crops and spring<br />

grass to optimise deer growth is crucial to growing calves out<br />

early in a cost-effective way. While there is no silver bullet,<br />

a financial analysis of David’s crops programme showed the<br />

advantages of the crops – swedes, silage, baleage and fodder<br />

Some of the 100 or so who attended the February field day at<br />

Five Rivers farm.<br />

From town to country continued from page 17<br />

One of the difficulties he currently faces is growing stock out<br />

quickly on poor pasture; regrassing a further 60ha this year<br />

will therefore be a priority in David’s redevelopment plans,<br />

as is providing more shelter to protect stock from the harsh<br />

Southland winter.<br />

David expects there will be a period of consolidation for the<br />

farm as it maximises production following the intensive<br />

redevelopment work. But he always has an eye to the future,<br />

particularly as the couple’s two teenagers intend to farm, and<br />

for further opportunities in venison as they come up.<br />

beet – in his mix, alongside the benefit of a pasture renewal<br />

programme.<br />

A follow-up to the field day is an initiative to form an<br />

associated discussion group, coordinated by businessman<br />

and recently retired deer farmer Lloyd Thayer with facilitator<br />

Alastair Gibson. The aim is to make sure the food for thought<br />

provided by the field day is backed with practical information<br />

and direction for local farmers wanting to challenge their<br />

production and financial targets. These differing approaches<br />

and skills will be shared with others.<br />

The group had an initial meeting in late March, the first time<br />

in many years that a deer discussion group has been set<br />

up in the area. The plan is for the farmers who signed up,<br />

plus advisers including Alastair Gibson, veterinarian Dave<br />

Lawrence, <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> New Zealand Producer Manager<br />

Tony Pearse and other expertise from AgResearch and Focus<br />

Farm partner Landcorp Farming Ltd, to meet four or five<br />

times a year.<br />

Not only will the group analyse the productivity and<br />

profitability drivers on the properties in-depth, and discuss<br />

different management options for the focus farmers, they’ll<br />

also set themselves goals to review management aspects on<br />

their own properties.<br />

Updates will be provided at each Focus Farm field day.<br />

The discussion group is open to all deer farmers in western<br />

Southland/Fiordland, and interested farmers are welcome to<br />

join up.<br />

Steering committee chairman Craig North believes the<br />

field days and Focus Farms are an exciting new concept<br />

in monitoring and comparative performance based on key<br />

performance indicators, and the bottom line of gross margin<br />

enterprise profitability. It is hoped there will be strong local<br />

support for the initiative.<br />

The <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> Making the DIFFerence project hopes to<br />

provide the inspiration and the practical information that<br />

integrated deer and sheep farmers need at a regional level<br />

to improve productivity – and profit. It’s a joint venture<br />

between <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> New Zealand, the New Zealand <strong>Deer</strong><br />

Farmers’ Association, Landcorp Farming Ltd and supported<br />

by and Wool New Zealand. Covering a huge area with<br />

different land types, the project in Southland involves: the<br />

commercial finishing property of George and Mary Scott,<br />

Pukerau; David and Pam Nind’s extensive commercial<br />

breeding and finishing properties at Five Rivers; and<br />

finishing, breeding, breeding/finishing combinations, and an<br />

elite breeding unit with the Landcorp farming operations in<br />

the Te Anau Basin.<br />

The key issues for the area include:<br />

• relative enterprise profitability<br />

• fawning and weaning performance<br />

• integration of other classes of stock<br />

• disease risk and animal health factors in general<br />

• feeding levels and actual performance, with a target of<br />

lifting both carcass weight and the earlier slaughter<br />

production patterns of venison for the chilled markets.<br />

18<br />

<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>News</strong>


focus farms<br />

Five Rivers field day:<br />

Lessons learned from a Focus Farm<br />

There’s room for improvement at all stages of the deer production chain, but change doesn’t have to be difficult or<br />

expensive.<br />

A lot of ground was covered at the 25 February Focus<br />

Farm field day at David and Pam Nind’s Five Rivers<br />

farm. Attendees were updated on the National Animal<br />

Identification and Tracing (NAIT) system; given information<br />

on drench resistance; brought up to date on the Environment<br />

Southland consultation on deer feedlot management and<br />

silage leachate run-off; and given a breeding values refresher<br />

from AgResearch. Discussions centred on practical winter pad<br />

management, deer mating ratios and mating and weaning<br />

management.<br />

Practical winter pad management<br />

All Southland farmers know feed management decisions over<br />

the colder winter months are crucial for pasture management<br />

when feed is short. Traditional winter feed crops such as<br />

swede and kale have the advantage of allowing valuable<br />

pasture to come away rapidly in the warmer spring weather,<br />

as well as providing a nutritious way to maintain condition<br />

in stock.<br />

The Focus Farm initiative is a good opportunity to review<br />

the relative productive and financial merits of different crops<br />

and for farmers to question how best to manage crucial<br />

animal growth in autumn and spring to meet the premium<br />

schedules of the pre-Christmas venison market. This issue is<br />

particularly important for the cooler Southland winter.<br />

It is thus imprortant to understand the basics of how<br />

management options are influencing the target of producing<br />

more calves earlier, when the 100 shorter days of winter<br />

control growth potential. Farmers may not have to spend<br />

anything to adapt to a slightly different management system<br />

to make a big difference in improving their animals’ growth.<br />

It’s also about setting goals for calf growth, managing the<br />

system to ideally meet their growth potential, such as the<br />

500g to 700g potential growth for young animals in February,<br />

pre-weaning, and in early March when growing quality feed<br />

is not usually a problem.<br />

And it’s about getting calves away early, leaving late summer<br />

grass for the lactating hinds to grow on.<br />

The Ninds have set a target of 56kg carcass weight at<br />

slaughter, and will be critically examining year-round feed<br />

management to lift carcass weight from the present 51kg<br />

average achieved through the chilled season.<br />

Farm consultant Alastair Gibson has done the analysis for<br />

the Focus Farm crop programme; the figures apply across all<br />

Southland deer breeding and finishing units.<br />

Primed for action: stags at Five Rivers farm.<br />

Issue No 41 • <strong>Apr</strong>il/<strong>May</strong> <strong>2010</strong> 19


industry news<br />

The aim is a programme which is cost-effective and avoids<br />

animal health stresses for young stock.<br />

David and Pam’s crop programme includes kale, turnips,<br />

swede, rape, whole crop barley and fodder beet, as well as<br />

making baleage and silage.<br />

Baleage, although an expensive option, provides a quality<br />

feed and has its place for boosting deer growth in early<br />

spring. Silage feeding is a standard supplement, but has<br />

its challenges, particularly with soil compaction across wet<br />

Southland paddocks, something that self-feeding pits are<br />

addressing.<br />

The Ninds’ new crop of fodder beet is creating interest.<br />

Although expensive, and with some production management<br />

issues (it’s clear that 22 tonne/ha production was required to<br />

be cost-effective), the high sugar content of beets means it is<br />

a high-energy option to manage stock growth.<br />

The couple’s experience of whole-crop barley is that hinds do<br />

exceptionally well, “cleaning up every scrap of grain”.<br />

Mating and weaning management<br />

in western Southland<br />

Mating and weaning dates are also crucial components of<br />

meeting the goal of growing heavier calves out earlier to gain<br />

early premium rewards.<br />

A quick survey of the 100 western Southland deer farmers<br />

at February’s Focus Farm field day showed considerable<br />

variation in mating and weaning management practices.<br />

The date stags went to the hinds ranged from 1 February<br />

through to 20 March, depending on feed availability, weather,<br />

weaning dates and stag temperament.<br />

Those farmers agreed there was no point in putting stags out<br />

too early, before they were ready, but the ideal was the last<br />

week in February or first week in March, and out by 25 <strong>Apr</strong>il.<br />

This provides real opportunity for bringing weaning and<br />

slaughter dates forward, and offers flexibility for management<br />

during a difficult season such as a drought.<br />

Weaning dates were around the last week in February, to<br />

mid-March for the 60 percent that weaned pre-mating.<br />

For single-sire two-year-old mating, a 1:60 stag to hind<br />

ratio was common, with ratios ranging from 1:80 down to<br />

1:30. The variations are put down to age, breed, hind score,<br />

synchronising and topography, and farm management. A<br />

lot of farmers were interested in a condensed calving, so no<br />

back-up stag was used.<br />

For MA stags, industry practice recommends a ratio of 1:50.<br />

Spiker ratios of 1:10 were common among the group; farmers<br />

were consistently using well-selected spikers with good<br />

results. Most spikers were being mated to yearling hinds,<br />

but some operators reported good success with MA hinds<br />

as well. Although it still provided difficult to get over 80<br />

percent calving in first calvers, and there were additional<br />

management requirements to introduce spikers into the hind<br />

paddocks, the benefits were reported as outweighing any<br />

disadvantages.<br />

The merits and practicalities of adjusting mating management<br />

will be discussed in more depth by the recently organised<br />

discussion group and updates will be provided at the next<br />

Focus Farm field day.<br />

20<br />

Velvet season round-up:<br />

2009–<strong>2010</strong><br />

The word on the last velvet season is positive, with solid<br />

gains, quality product, and good prices. But prudence<br />

would seem to be the watch word for the future. <strong>Deer</strong><br />

<strong>Industry</strong> <strong>News</strong> spoke to some of the key players about<br />

their assessment of the season.<br />

Rhys Griffiths, Velvet Market Services<br />

Manager, DINZ<br />

“We have seen good solid selling throughout the season,<br />

from all participating exporters,” said Rhys Griffiths. “Trading<br />

was <strong>help</strong>ed early in the season by lower stocks in Korea,<br />

which is still around 65 percent of the market. The inventory<br />

out of many other velvet producing countries was down;<br />

New Zealand exporters capitalised on this and showed good<br />

leadership.”<br />

A highlight was the strengthening position of New Zealand<br />

velvet against the Russian product, he said.<br />

“Historically it was always Russia that led the market but<br />

last September for the first time New Zealand velvet received<br />

a premium. At the time this was thought to be temporary,<br />

but the premium price has been sustained and this has<br />

been encouraging in terms of both returns and further<br />

development of our brand identification. Some of the younger<br />

oriental medicine doctors are starting to buy into this and<br />

it shows the message is really getting through about the<br />

benefits of New Zealand’s quality assurance systems, food<br />

safety programme and traceability. It also reflects a growing<br />

appreciation of the fact that our free-range farming systems<br />

are more natural than those in other countries where deer are<br />

often raised in pens.”<br />

Grant Cochrane, Director, New Zealand Velvet<br />

Marketing<br />

Grant Cochrane said that despite the impact of the global<br />

financial crisis and the strong New Zealand dollar, prices for<br />

deer velvet had held firm. “We are happy with the prices,<br />

which exceed $100/kg for Korean-grade velvet. Although<br />

the total harvest was down, the volumes handled by NZVM<br />

still reached expectations and we maintained our market<br />

share. The aim for this season was always to develop greater<br />

market stability; we have achieved this while improving<br />

prices. This is very encouraging and has come about through<br />

the discipline that NZVM has brought to the market. This<br />

benefits the whole industry – and of course we couldn’t have<br />

done it without the strong support of deer farmers. The focus<br />

this year on an orderly sales process has reaped its rewards.<br />

Greater confidence has meant that the overkill situation with<br />

stags has eased.<br />

“The quantity has been good but just how good relative to<br />

other seasons will be difficult to say until all the figures are<br />

in. Anecdotal evidence to date suggests not a lot of velvet is<br />

still being held back – certainly less than last year.”<br />

Nick Taylor, General Manager, New Zealand<br />

Velvet Marketing<br />

Nick Taylor said this season’s price relative to the last two<br />

<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>News</strong>


industry news<br />

seasons had been good but even $100 for Korean grade did<br />

not represent a total restoration of the confidence lost: “That<br />

market has not bounced back to full strength. Instead, the<br />

trend has hit a plateau and if we can hold and maintain<br />

current levels we will have done very well.”<br />

He said production forecasts for the season had been based<br />

on an expected 20 percent decrease in volume but NZVM<br />

had managed to exceed its budgeted throughput. “The total<br />

harvest is down from last year’s – we don’t yet know by how<br />

much – but it looks like the forecast of 345 tonnes leviable<br />

was probably too low.<br />

“The role of spot market sales continues to decline and<br />

these now make up a very small percentage of our turnover.<br />

Nevertheless pool sales remain a useful ‘price discovery<br />

mechanism’ – we offer a small quantity, see what it gets, and<br />

this acts to affirm where the price is. It is particularly useful<br />

for certain grades, such as spiker tyned, where the value<br />

is more unpredictable so the market at the time has to tell<br />

you.”<br />

On another positive note, Nick said there had been little<br />

or no holding back of this season’s crop. “I think the $100<br />

level acts as a tipping point – above that level nobody holds<br />

back.”<br />

However, the stag kill-off of two seasons ago was continuing<br />

to have a large effect on velvet production, which could still<br />

be seen in the volume of certain grades; for example there<br />

was very little D and E grade, reflecting the reduced numbers<br />

of two-year-old stags on farm.<br />

“Regarding Russia and its pre-eminent position as a supplier<br />

of deer velvet, the question is whether our market gains are<br />

sustainable as the new northern hemisphere season gets<br />

underway very shortly. At this point the clock will be reset<br />

and it will be interesting to see whether the Russian velvet<br />

can return to its premium position. However, what used to<br />

be a considerable gap between Russian and New Zealand<br />

velvet has in effect been halved. It is good progress, and very<br />

good for New Zealand brand identification. What we have<br />

to work on is making our velvet the preferred choice, not a<br />

default option for those who find the Russian product too<br />

expensive.”<br />

Colin Stevenson, CK Import Export<br />

Colin Stevenson is upbeat: “It has been a very successful<br />

season; we have easily sold all our velvet and are about 10<br />

percent ahead on last year. A few farmers did carry their<br />

velvet through towards the end of the season but have sold<br />

most of it over the past few weeks.”<br />

But he was sceptical of reports that the velvet harvest was<br />

down on last year: “Frankly I doubt there has been any<br />

reduction. There has been exponential weight growth from<br />

B to Super A, reflecting the age-weighting of herds, though<br />

a significant amount of Super A is coming from two-yearold<br />

animals. Two years ago if we got 20 percent Super A in<br />

the Korean velvet that was pretty good; this year it’s around<br />

60 percent. At $100/kg, the guys out there are now farming<br />

velvet rather than meat.”<br />

He said the premium value over Russian velvet had been<br />

very significant, at $50–60 extra per kg, but he doubted it<br />

was sustainable and warned against relying on this with the<br />

start of the northern hemisphere season only weeks away. It<br />

would be most unwise to run a business operation that kept<br />

recent velvet production in storage while hoping for the price<br />

to hold or for a fall in the value of currency, he said. “That’s<br />

not marketing, it’s relying on luck.<br />

“Road buyers don’t have the luxury of being able to hold on<br />

to stock, so we have to bank it ourselves. Historically, when<br />

velvet gets to $100/kg it’s totally about the state of supply<br />

around the world. If the supply becomes too high that price<br />

will fall; if supply remains short it will be sustained. If other<br />

industry players can’t sell the stock they have in reserve now,<br />

I hope they won’t have to drop the price and undermine the<br />

whole market and all the good work we’ve put in over the<br />

past year.”<br />

Issue No 41 • <strong>Apr</strong>il/<strong>May</strong> <strong>2010</strong> 21


industry news<br />

Venison season roundup<br />

The 2009–10 season was very good for chilled venison, though volume was down, according to Karl Buchanan, Venison<br />

Marketing Manager of Silver Fern Farms, speaking at the recent Focus Farm field day at Mendip Hills Station.<br />

He also reported that there were no freeze-downs and chilled<br />

venison was all sold out by Christmas, albeit on lower<br />

volumes. “But the frozen market has been very slow over<br />

the last 12 months, with product carried over from 2008 into<br />

2009 and more competition from other game meats including<br />

European hunted venison, roe deer and wild boar, through<br />

good supply and change in the traditional price relativities.”<br />

It came down to the continuing impact of the global<br />

recession, he said, which hit particularly hard in northern<br />

Europe, including its food-service sector – a key outlet for<br />

New Zealand venison. “With the 2009 kill at 468,000, down<br />

about 20 percent from 592,000 in 2008, it looks like we<br />

undersupplied the market last year, but that wasn’t the case.<br />

At present, importers are delaying purchasing decisions and<br />

are reluctant to commit to frozen meat with its inherent<br />

storage and finance costs and market risk.”<br />

He said there was still good availability of high-value cuts<br />

in the market, which were bought last year at higher prices.<br />

“The recent large drop in processing numbers has not yet<br />

had an impact on the market, but it may well at a later time.<br />

At present we are mostly selling at slightly lower price levels<br />

than last year, except for loins. Loin cuts are a significant<br />

portion of the schedule price and they have been weak with<br />

the decline in high-end restaurant trade.”<br />

The present state of the market showed some uncertainty.<br />

The recent schedule rises were fuelled by procurement rather<br />

than market prices. The New Zealand dollar was likely to<br />

strengthen further against the euro with the situation in<br />

Greece, and since more than 80 percent of venison is sold<br />

in that currency, the situation could be challenging, he said.<br />

“This will be especially so compared to beef and lamb,<br />

which are less prone to the vagaries of the euro, because<br />

they trade in a more diverse basket of currencies. Overall the<br />

schedule is driven by market price, currency and, currently,<br />

procurement. Low numbers mean higher production costs<br />

and we get into issues of long-term viability of processing<br />

plants – which in our case the farmers own,” he said.<br />

Meanwhile, he said, Silver Fern Farms was still processing<br />

feral venison. Modifications had been made to the Hokitika<br />

plant to process cull cattle, thereby increasing the viability of<br />

the operation, but the company did not want to set up multispecies<br />

plants as they were not necessarily ideal for venison.<br />

“Looking ahead we see stable current market prices and<br />

expect a good chilled season – there’s been a bit of pick-up in<br />

beef lately, which traditionally assists venison. But currency<br />

fluctuation is the chief concern. At today’s rate of exchange<br />

the current contract price for spring supply is $8.25/kg.<br />

A general rule of thumb is that a two percent increase in<br />

exchange leads to a three percent drop in schedule.”<br />

22<br />

Three key influences on venison marketing<br />

Referring to the international situation, DINZ venison<br />

marketing services manager Innes Moffat said three<br />

main issues were affecting venison marketing at present:<br />

the impact of the recession, currency fluctuations and<br />

production issues in New Zealand. He said people needed<br />

to appreciate the direct effect of recession on the purchasing<br />

power of many millions of people. “Just one example to put<br />

into perspective the depth of the crisis: in the United States<br />

there is a national debt of US$12 trillion – that’s US$113,000<br />

per taxpayer. This can only be paid back through devaluing<br />

the US dollar or by higher taxation, neither of which is likely<br />

to <strong>help</strong> our venison sales in the that market.<br />

“Globally,” continued Innes, “the economy is not looking<br />

too flash, and we are unlikely to see the high protein prices<br />

of 2008 again soon. Despite this, however, prices for New<br />

Zealand venison in Europe have remained pretty stable.<br />

For example, the wholesale price of New Zealand bonein<br />

haunch has stayed flat over the past two years, while<br />

prices for competing products such as European roe deer<br />

collapsed owing to oversupply in 2009. With the amount<br />

of roe venison in storage, demand for New Zealand frozen<br />

venison declined, but as this cheaper European product was<br />

consumed, the price improved as the season progressed.<br />

Meanwhile, a bad winter in Europe caused high mortality of<br />

roe deer this year, which works in our favour.<br />

“The good news is that last year we saw this increasing<br />

differentiation against competing European red venison, with<br />

our product preferred even though it was more expensive.<br />

Demand for frozen middles is subdued but better for chilled<br />

and cheaper cuts.”<br />

He noted the impact of exchange rate fluctuations and<br />

observed that if that week’s exchange rate had applied to<br />

last year’s schedule, farmers would have received $5.56<br />

instead of $8.10. “That figure will give you an appreciation<br />

of how a strengthening New Zealand dollar can erode a<br />

price improvement.”<br />

Regarding predictions for the New Zealand spring schedule,<br />

he said the New Zealand dollar volatility was likely to<br />

continue, and this would affect returns to New Zealand<br />

farmers. “Under such conditions it is more important than<br />

ever to focus on product differentiation, to remove New<br />

Zealand venison from commodity trade. Producers can<br />

choose to reduce the impact of currency fluctuations by<br />

taking forward supply contracts on offer.”<br />

An industry promotional drive in the food-service market<br />

was continuing, to encourage European chefs to use more<br />

middle cuts. “In North America, Cervena® is still being<br />

promoted, albeit with a reduced budget, focusing on<br />

maintaining the value of the brand, which remains an asset<br />

for the industry. There is a distinct preference for it among<br />

chefs who discovered it in the 1990s, but today’s young<br />

chefs are not so familiar with it and need more education<br />

and targeted advertising.”<br />

When asked if the increasing world population would<br />

benefit venison farmers, Innes observed that there could<br />

be nine billion people in the world by 2050. “This will<br />

inevitably increase demand for proteins. As people’s incomes<br />

rise, they eat more protein and we need to ensure venison is<br />

an on-going part of that. But the vast majority of the world’s<br />

population will still not be able to afford venison.<br />

“In order to make venison farming sustainably profitable we<br />

need to continue to pitch our products at the top end of the<br />

market.”<br />

<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>News</strong>


letter to the editor<br />

Dedicated to <strong>Deer</strong>:<br />

DINZ work, roles and function<br />

Dear Editor<br />

I read with interest the summary of the just-completed<br />

industry consultation, centred on a document titled Dedicated<br />

to <strong>Deer</strong> (<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>News</strong>, February/March <strong>2010</strong>). I would<br />

like to make the following comments.<br />

At the last Canterbury Branch NZDFA meeting [DINZ<br />

Producer Manager] Tony Pearse said there were 4,000<br />

Dedicated to <strong>Deer</strong> documents sent out. The 129 responses<br />

was a pitiful response, representing a 3.225 percent response.<br />

Three (2.3 percent) of the respondents were vehemently<br />

opposed to DINZ. This means that 96.775 percent of the<br />

recipients had no interest. To suggest the quality of response<br />

was high shows how far removed from reality the DINZ<br />

Board and the DINZ CEO is. The 96.775 percent “no show” is<br />

a vote of no confidence in them and their incompetence!<br />

I am pleased that DINZ agreed with my comment on official<br />

access for New Zealand deer velvet into Australia and that<br />

DINZ is expediting this via the appropriate channels. I refer<br />

to the NZGIB Annual Report of 2001–2002 and the then<br />

Velvet Manager, Mark O’Connor’s report, quote “The GIB<br />

also began work to have velvet listed as a new substance<br />

with the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration. This<br />

will allow New Zealand marketers the opportunity to sell<br />

their velvet products in Australia and is also a defensive<br />

move should stricter trans-Tasman legislation be enacted.”<br />

On page 4 of the same document I see the faces of John<br />

Skurr [sic] and John MacDonald on the Board of Directors,<br />

and eight or nine years later this has still not been<br />

accomplished. Since 2001–2002 Scurr, MacDonald and<br />

O’Connor have collectively taken in excess of $2 million in<br />

fees and wages and the New Zealand velvet marketer is still<br />

waiting to sell velvet product officially into Australia!<br />

I believe this is indicative of the lack of value that New<br />

Zealand deer farmers get from the DINZ levy system<br />

and the complete lack of product knowledge and market<br />

understanding that the Board members have.<br />

In finishing I would like to congratulate the three producers<br />

who were vehemently opposed to DINZ and the 12 who<br />

rated their performance at 5 or less. I believe that this group<br />

represents the voice of the 96.775 percent of recipients who<br />

did not waste their time commenting on the self-promoting<br />

DINZ propaganda document, Dedicated to <strong>Deer</strong>.<br />

■■<br />

Barry Cuttance, CEO Adeerco Natural Health Ltd<br />

DINZ Chairman John Scurr responds:<br />

I wish to clarify aspects of Barry Cuttance’s letter. Barry’s<br />

personal attacks are all too familiar to the staff and directors<br />

of <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> New Zealand (DINZ) who, along with<br />

others involved in the industry, have been subjected to his<br />

abuse for years now.<br />

With regard to Dedicated to <strong>Deer</strong>, the Board of DINZ was also<br />

disappointed with the low response rate, but we appreciated<br />

the time and effort which many respondents took to provide<br />

DINZ with their thoughts. The fact is that the quality of the<br />

feedback was high. The feedback was mostly not a “boxticking”<br />

exercise. It required thought from respondents and<br />

most did that.<br />

All producers in New Zealand were invited to provide their<br />

opinion on DINZ. Eight indicated they were dissatisfied with<br />

DINZ’s performance (score less than 5/10). DINZ has not<br />

assumed what those who did not reply might, or might not,<br />

have thought. DINZ can only ask for feedback, and work<br />

with the responses received. As the results show, more than<br />

90 percent of respondents expressed a favourable opinion<br />

of the work that DINZ does. It’s important to note that<br />

producers are welcome to offer views to their Board and<br />

Executive whenever they wish.<br />

With regard to Barry’s allegations over the time taken to<br />

achieve approval to import velvet into Australia, here are the<br />

facts.<br />

Obtaining approval as a therapeutic good in Australia is not<br />

a simple process of applying for, and receiving, approval.<br />

The collection, submission, analysis and approval of proof<br />

of safety and efficacy takes time. <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> New Zealand<br />

has literally provided boxes full of information to the<br />

Australian Therapeutic Goods Agency (TGA), the governing<br />

agency in Australia.<br />

The process for approval was begun in 2002 with the<br />

compilation of research and information on velvet’s efficacy<br />

and safety. The approval process for all goods under<br />

review, including velvet, was then delayed in about 2004<br />

by discussions between the Australian and New Zealand<br />

Governments on the formation of a single, joint body to<br />

issue these approvals. However, the main breakthrough<br />

came in 2006 when New Zealand’s Ministry of Health did<br />

a comprehensive review of deer velvet which provided<br />

a very credible basis for the Australian TGA. In 2008<br />

the Governments of New Zealand and Australia decided<br />

not to proceed with this joint agency. DINZ immediately<br />

resubmitted the application and has been consistently<br />

shepherding the application through the process since then.<br />

I would point out that Australian velvet producers had tried<br />

unsuccessfully to get approval to market their own further<br />

processed velvet products in Australia. They told DINZ that<br />

they did not believe that DINZ would be successful, but<br />

wished us luck.<br />

This process and the reasons for delay have been explained<br />

to Barry on several occasions. DINZ staff and directors have<br />

provided Barry with time, promotional material and levyfunded<br />

financial assistance for his business development<br />

projects.<br />

However, DINZ staff and directors have had this assistance<br />

met with personal abuse and continued spiteful – and<br />

sometimes quite strange – comments regarding individuals.<br />

As a director of <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> New Zealand I am responsible,<br />

alongside my fellow directors, for the appointment of the<br />

Chief Executive. The Board has full confidence in him and<br />

his executive team. If it did not, it would certainly take<br />

appropriate action.<br />

■■<br />

John Scurr, Chairman <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> New Zealand<br />

Issue No 41 • <strong>Apr</strong>il/<strong>May</strong> <strong>2010</strong> 23

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