Deer Industry News #36 June 2009 - Deer Industry New Zealand

Deer Industry News #36 June 2009 - Deer Industry New Zealand

Deer Industry News #36 June 2009 - Deer Industry New Zealand

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conferenceExporter/marketer forumFour leading venison exporter/marketers shared their views on the current and future state of the industry at the<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> Conference in Palmerston North.Duncan developingbrand to targetpremium marketAndrew Duncan, Duncan &Company, had harsh words forthose who would penalise ourfarmers on the basis of theirgreenhouse gas emissions.“<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> farmers are theAndrew Duncan:Announced developmentmost energy efficient in theof new premium brand.world. We should be sequesteringcarbon and actively promoting our free-range farming.”He also looked to put alternative energy sources intoperspective, noting that it would take 50,000 windmills topower <strong>New</strong> York city. For the time being it was unlikelycountries like <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> could persuade the world to dropoil and coal as primary energy sources.“We must differentiate our product, create demand, maximiseproductivity, reduce waste and remove impediments totrade,” Duncan said. Venison marketers needed to pursuehigh-paying specialty markets which are not ruled by price.Duncan & Co was putting those principles into practice,developing a new premium brand to be launched atrestaurant level. He said it would be using only onedistribution channel, employing a strong promotional budgetand be supported by committed suppliers.The brand would attract a premium price to fund promotionwhile increasing profits and returns to farmers. It will beendorsed by five leading chefs who have eight Michelin starsbetween them.“These chefs will be designing some signature dishes usingthe product. They are interested in our country and itshistory, our deer and how they are raised. They want toknow the company and the farmers who grow the animals.This sector doesn’t want ‘spin’ – it wants the real story.”Cooper warns against fragmentationUnlike the situation during the 2001/02 price spike, demandis not linked to food safety issues affecting competingproteins, and customers have greater confidence in thesupply chain, Keith Cooper told deer farmers. “Back then,the prices were largely driven byspeculation over the impact ofBSE on beef consumption.”The Silver Fern Farms ChiefExecutive said demand for chilledvenison was likely to be undersuppliedin the coming season,and the industry would need towork carefully to protect thissegment in the face of fallingproduction with fewer deer beingtaken through the winter forchilled markets.Keith Cooper: Repeatedconcerns aboutfragmentation.He said the whole supply chain would be put under pressureas the financial crisis spread. “Risk aversion is the big thingout there now.”This year a combination of a falling dollar and fallingvolumes had driven the schedule. This had helped turnaround beef and lamb fortunes and was also part of thevenison good news story.Given the current exchange rate, Cooper said Silver FernFarms saw a likely schedule range of just over $7 to justbelow $9 in early 2010. “Chilled diversification is key. We’rethere for a long-term diversified plan that will insulate usfrom some of the volatility.”He said co-products were also playing an important part,contributing about $25 to the value of each animal, or $0.45per kg.Silver Fern Farms was updating its investment in the brand,and developing products that met the needs of time-pressuredconsumers.Cooper was concerned at reports of recent weaner prices of$6 per kg, which he said would not deliver a return “basedon where we see the market”.“The market may struggle to pay prices to work back to a$6 value for weaners, and while this is supporting breederconfidence, it is above levels that we would see workingthrough to the market place.”He also expressed concern about fragmentation in theindustry, with the addition of five new processors over thelast three years. They had not invested in the market andhad little strategy for taking product to the market. “Thiscontinued on page 10Issue No 36 • <strong>June</strong> <strong>2009</strong> 9

conferenceNAIT features prominently at BranchChairmen’s meeting<strong>Deer</strong> farmers signalled a more flexible attitude and representatives of NAIT indicated room for more pragmatism at theNZDFA Branch Chairmen’s meeting in Palmerston North on 26 May.The Branch Chairmen welcomed three new members to theirranks at their meeting: John Somerville (Southland), MurrayCoutts (South Canterbury/North Otago) and Jim Scorgie(Otago).There was a healthy sign of interest in leadership in theSouth, with an election required for the Southland Branch,quite possibly a first in recent times. A small leadership fund,supported by DINZ, been created this year to introduce futureExporter/marketer forum from page 9has a destabilising effect in <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> and offshore. It’sgood to see our competitors here [at conference]. It’s just asinteresting to see who’s not here – and they are often absentfrom industry-good tables as well.”Cooper strongly endorsed the strategy and role of DINZ as akey part of the industry going forward. “It’s very importantthat we have that body to represent you as producers and usas processors, giving the industry one voice. It’s importantwe ensure it is fully funded for the future of the industry.”Cuff predicts stablescheduleAlliance Chief Executive, GrantCuff, reinforced Keith Cooper’swarnings about the destructiveeffects of fragmentation in ourvenison industry. “Going out andselling venison to someone whois not developing the market,spreading the geographic position,or spreading the segments awayfrom the traders and the Germangame season – it’s not helpful. It’smarketing efforts and maximising returns – not just sales andtaking a margin – that’ll keep you ahead of someone else.Please think long term when you choose your processor.”He also forecast a stable schedule price at current levels for thenext three years – an encouraging prediction for farmers giventhe highly volatile nature of the world economy right now. Thatprediction was qualified however: it requires some exchangerate stability, and it requires the global recession-inducedreduction in demand to match the reduction in supply.Cuff said the current good prices were more than simplya question of falling volumes. He said the industry has anopportunity to maintain current price levels. This could bedone by avoiding extremely high prices while also steppingaway from lower-value business, thus keeping prices stableand firm.He said Alliance had managed to keep lamb processing coststhe same since 1990, shrugging off 45 percent inflation sincethat time, while producing a far more complex product range10Grant Cuff: Stableschedule over the nextthree years if rightconditions persist.Branch leaders to national events, and Branches have beenasked to nominate contenders.<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong> attended the meeting, and the followingkey points emerged:Stagline-onlineAbout half of the paid-up NZDFA membership (900–950under much more stringent compliance requirements. “That’sjust an example of the processor end of the productivitygains that we have to keep doing.”Sustainable returns throughout thesupply chain – HickeyThe 50 percent farmer-ownedFirstlight Venison will continue todevelop organically in line withmarket growth, its director GerardHickey told deer farmers.The company was begunin Hawke’s Bay and is nowestablished in the Manawatu andis designing its farming systemsto deliver niche products underinternationally recognised brands.Gerard Hickey saidintegration of the supplychain is important.The venison products – about500 tonnes in total – are targetedat UK and US markets, where the company has about a 30percent share of all venison exports at present. Firstlightconcentrates on year-round chilled product and doesn’t focuson markets with a traditional game season.Hickey said the product is targeted at the top end of themarket and the company is working closely with celebritychef, Peter Gordon, in London.At the production end of the supply chain they are concentratingon genetics to give them a younger slaughter animal (15 months)with specialist meat attributes, good tenderness and colour.The integration of the supply chain is important to Firstlight,and Hickey said the company is working closely withretailers to ensure they feel part of that mix and understandwhere all the costs of production lie.Producers are paid on the basis of boxed meat sold, so thehigher the yields the better for them.As part of their strategy for improving productivity andproduct quality, the company is looking closely at growthrates, genetic selection, good recording systems (includingelectronic identification) and carcass quality.Hickey joined the previous speakers in strongly endorsing theindustry-agreed strategy for venison.<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>

conferencepeople) now receive this electronic monthly newsletter asan additional benefit to members. Innovations such as the“Corner Pen” reports, recipes, etc have been well received. Ifyou are a DFA member, have an email address and don’t yetreceive the newsletter, contact the national office. It’s plannedto send a hard copy out with the forthcoming subscriptionreminder as an indication of the additional services NZDFAmembers receive as part of their subscription support of thenational body.Finance and membershipThe <strong>2009</strong>/10 budget allows for 1750 members (1759 theprevious year) and a $10 increase in the membership sub inorder to balance the budget. There was a deficit of $10,676after tax for the 2008/09 year. There was no need to run anelection this year, which will save about $5,000 and make iteasier for DFA to meet its break-even budget for <strong>2009</strong>/10.The drop in membership has been less than the overall lossin active deer farmer numbers (now believed to be about3,100). The proportion of DFA members to total deer farmersis now slightly higher (about 57 percent) than it was whennumbers peaked in 2002.There are reports of some returning to deer farming, andthere was a call for the DFA to develop a promotionalpackage for Branches to use to attract new members. WaikatoBranch assigns each committee member a number of non-DFA members to contact and encourage to join up.Branch remitsThere was only one Branch remit this year – perhaps a recordlow for the NZDFA. The Canterbury remit (see AGM report)was carried forward from 2006 when velvet production wasstill high and the processing industry was starting to sufferfrom competition in Korea. The remit requested that theremoval of lower tynes on dried or frozen velvet destined forKorea be made mandatory. There was general agreement thatthe need for such a measure had passed, but the CanterburyBranch was committed to seeing the remit process through.NAITAn Executive Committee remit to the AGM called for areview of the NZDFA position on NAIT (see NZDFA AnnualReport in <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong> April/May edition for a fullexplanation). In order to bring Chairmen up to date andaddress current concerns, a high-powered delegation fromNAIT was invited to join the meeting: NAIT GovernanceGroup Chairman, Ian Corney, Technical Advisory GroupChairman, Lindsay Burton, and Project Manager, CraigPurcell.Producer Manager, Tony Pearse, gave an initial overviewof proposed NAIT operations. He said no separate AHB tagwould be needed for NAIT. Dairy and deer farmers mightstill use a separate visual management tag which may ormay not be linked to the NAIT tag. In time the NAIT tagwill be the basis for the electronic Animal Status Declarationform. At its very minimum, NAIT will not require farmers topurchase scanners, although some may choose to do so formanagement reasons.The farmer would only be required to buy the tags andinform NAIT when they had been applied. This informationwill be able to be transferred directly through email/internetlink or an 0900 number, or through a third-party provider.In the case of direct-to-slaughter animals, it will be a “onelegged”transaction, with the processor advising that theanimals were received and slaughtered. The farmer wouldbe required to tell NAIT of animals that die on farm, onan annual basis (within the bounds of practicality). Whereanimals are sold from farm to farm (direct from farmer tofarmer or via a third party agent) the movement must berecorded and reported to NAIT: either manually (where thereis no scanner owned), electronically (using a scanner – yourown or a third party’s) as a sending and receipt two-leggedtransaction.Sending deer direct to saleyards or sale as whole or part lotswill be a one-legged transaction with the saleyards reportingstock receipt on behalf of the vendor and advising of the newownership in whole or part lots.The NAIT charter precludes the information gathered fromNAIT from being used for any other purpose other thanthe whole-of-life movement basis on individually identifiedanimals. The low frequency RFID tags have been set as thetechnology of choice for the introduction of NAIT – stillplanned to be mandatory in mid 2011 for cattle and deer.Waikato’s Steven Borland challenged the NAIT group torespond to an Australian media article reporting problemswith the accuracy of that country’s National LivestockIdentification System. Craig Purcell said the initial problemswith sheep were not likely to persist as the system bedded in.He said it was very early days for the Australians.On the question on ongoing funding for operating costs – tobe shared by government (35%) and industry (65%) – IanCorney said the Governance Group was looking for the mostequitable method. A slaughter levy was the most likely.(Other possibilities are a tag levy or a transaction levy.)Craig Purcell said annual operating costs were not yetknown, but were estimated to be less than $1 per animal.There was also a reminder that animals are only tagged oncein their lifetime and would only require a single electronictag as a bare minimum.Lindsay Burton said the stage two business case to Cabinetfor NAIT was in preparation. This involved more detail onsystem design and funding and it was expected decisionsabout this would be made by the end of September.Bill Taylor (Chairman, Executive Committee) asked whetherthe stage two business case would allow deer to sit outsideNAIT until the system was working properly, and then addedon later with other species. He said there was some softeningof attitudes on the part of deer farmers, but they still sawmore negatives than positives. Ian Corney noted that deerhad been involved in plans from the beginning, and thatthere would be some commonsense when the system wasintroduced to make sure it was workable.Lindsay Burton said NAIT’s policy was to bed down thesystem properly with cattle and deer first before introducingnew species. Ian Corney said the system would be practical.“You won’t have to crawl down a cliff to scan the tag of adead cow. As a farmer I sense there will be some pragmatismin cases like this.”It won’t be perfect from day one, it must be as low-cost asIssue No 36 • <strong>June</strong> <strong>2009</strong> 11

conferencepossible and it must be workable, he added.The startup for NAIT is still proposed as mid-<strong>June</strong> 2011, witharound an 18 month transition phase.There was general acceptance that the AHB’s database(DMIS) was well suited for Tb control on a herd basis, butthat it was not suited to the individual animal traceabilityrequirements of NAIT.Andrew Peters (Taihape) expressed severe misgivings aboutthe application of NAIT to the Taihape weaner sales whereabout 1000 animals go through annually. “I don’t want to beponcing around the saleyards with a [scanning] wand,” henoted. “Accuracy is going to be a real problem at our sales. Wedon’t have quiet little mobs of weaners. They’re whipped inand out. There’s no time to be mucking around with electronicreaders that don’t work. None of [the readers] are 100 percent.”Craig Purcell said the industry had to cooperate to make itwork. He said it was much easier to have deer scanned atsaleyards than expecting every deer farmer to scan boughtinstock onto their properties. “It’s a lot lower cost to findsolutions that work at the saleyards.”Ed Noonan (Executive Committee, Canterbury) said the useof a scanner and computer at the saleyards could actuallyreduce the paper war that’s already required at weaner sales.Tony Bayliss (Wairarapa) argued that with 75 percent of<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> deer going direct to slaughter, NAIT wasadding over $1 million of cost to the deer industry for nodirect benefit. He suggested a low-cost RFID tag for direct-toslaughter(DTS) animals. Ian Corney said RFID tag costs werecontinuing to fall, and the cost of a NAIT tag was unlikely tobe much more than that of the current DTS tag.Lindsay Burton added that RFID tags will give much bettertraceability than is possible with bar-coded tags now. The$6–7 million a year that this costs does not give goodtraceability, he said, adding that an EU audit of our meatprocessing in 2006 identified gaps in our traceability systems.Former DFA Executive Committee member, Mark Hawkins,advised the NAIT group that processors would be thelogical place to get NAIT started. “Farmers will never agreeto it regardless. If processors penalise farmers or rewardthem with a premium, then the job’s done.” He added thatthe system should be allowed to bed in before it becamemandatory. Lindsay Burton replied that, in effect, this wouldhappen, with scope for voluntary uptake before the proposedmid-2011 mandatory deadline.Mike McCormick (Hawke’s Bay) quizzed the NAIT groupabout an apparent lack of cooperation between NAIT andthe AHB, which would allow proper integration of thesystems. Ian Corney admitted to some frustration with slowprogress, and said agreement was imminent on the use of thesecondary “button” tag as an RFID tag that also carried theAHB number. Craig Purcell emphasised that the AHB’s DMISsystem was herd focused. “They’ve done a fantastic jobwith Tb control in <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>, but their job isn’t tracingindividual animals.” He said talks with AHB had been goingon four years, but the Board was now very supportive ofNAIT’s objectives.Ian Corney said the various farm databases including theAHB’s DMIS system, Livestock Improvement, Ambreed andAgribase were not compatible. He said the DMIS might be agood basis for the NAIT system, which would ideally be able12to share information with all of these specialised databases.Ken Swainson (Fallow Society) raised the well-knownproblem of the fallow deer’s love of chewing plastic, andproblems with tag retention. Craig Purcell said the buttonstyleRFID tags were less vulnerable to loss than visual tags.Although not perfect, they were the best available now. Othertypes, such as subcutaneous or bolus RFID tags, carried otherdisadvantages.Lindsay Burton concluded that it is not up to NAIT alone tosolve each technical problem. “NAIT is a partnership, andthe partners will find solutions together.”Velvet competitionsThe <strong>2009</strong> North Island Velvet Competition will be hostedby Central Regions Branch at the Coachman, PalmerstonNorth on Saturday 28 November. The competition has beenstruggling for entries, and the organisers will be seekingbetter support this year.The <strong>2009</strong> National Velvet Competition will run from 7–9December at the usual venue in Invercargill. More support isencouraged for the additional class which has been added tocater for some of the non-typical heads.The <strong>2009</strong> Rising Stars Competition was again a success,although velvet antler entries were down a little. OrganiserSharon Love reported plans to make the competition portableso that it can be hosted in different parts of the country.Dates and the possibility of a shift are yet to be decided.Ian Spiers Memorial TrustDon Gregson reported that the fund currently stands atabout $70,000. The grant made this year to Brian Russell (toattend the Kellogg leadership course at Lincoln) was the firstmade for four years. Don said that in the current low-interestrateenvironment the capital needed boosting to more than$100,000 to yield the $5,000 a year needed to make annualgrants. He suggested that Branches with surplus funds mightconsider making donations to the Trust. The lack of grants inrecent years have been because of a lack of applicants ratherthan a lack of funds.National Pest Management Strategy review<strong>Deer</strong> farmers’ representative on the AHB Members’Committee, Ponty von Dadelszen, reported that theNPMS review was now into its fourth cut. He said there isresistance to increasing funding for the strategy to achievetotal eradication, especially from the dairy sector and theGovernment. The latest proposal canvassed containment,rollback and eradication (including proof of concept in thefield, rather than computer modelling). There would be fiveyearlyreviews and no increase above current expenditure.Ponty said the regional councils are looking to withdraw the$6.3 million they currently contribute towards the strategy.Some councils are only committed for another 12 months.“Funding is going to be a key issue,” he said. The AHBwould propose to do an eradication proof of concept in theHokonui hills (Southland) and Hauhungaroa Ranges, west ofTaupo. Ponty said the AHB was on the back foot now, withboth the regional councils and dairy industry pulling backtheir support.<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>

NZDFA <strong>2009</strong>, 34th Annual General MeetingconferenceOnce again the NZDFA’s Annual General Meeting was a quiet and orderly affair, with only one major policy issue on thetable: the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme.Chairman’s reportTaking a more pragmatic approach to proceedings this year, theExecutive Committee Chairman’s report was taken as read. The fulltext of Bill Taylor’s report can be found in the NZDFA Annual report,which was printed in the April/May issue of <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong> andis also available on the website at: www.deernz.org/n330.htmlTom Williams took up the role of seconding the adoption of theChairman’s report this year. In supporting the motion, Tom invokedthe plummeting dairy payout to remind farmers how quickly thewindow of opportunity can close. Referring to his “intemperate”remarks about the emissions trading scheme at the 2008 AGM,Tom confirmed he stood by his remarks then, and welcomedthe subsequent change in the political landscape regardingthe treatment of greenhouse gasemissions from livestock. He alsourged farmers not to let up on thestruggle against two industrythreateningdiseases: Johne’s and Tb.The recent shrinkage of the industry’scapital herd was also a cause forconcern, he said. “The killing ofcapital stock is not smart.”As a postscript to his report,Bill Taylor, who has been electedto continue in the Chairman’srole, thanked Errol Croad for histremendous contribution chairingthe Animal Health Board Members’ Tom Williams: Standing byCommittee. He said the currentETS remarks.representatives on the committee,Ponty von Dadelszen and Mark O’Connor would need to be vigilantto ensure that the deer industry did not end up paying more than itsfair share under the reviewed National Pest Management Strategy(NPMS) when notified later in the year.NZDFA formal financial motionsFinancial accounts and statements for the year ending 2008/09“That the Audited NZDFA financial statements and accountsfor the year ending 31 March <strong>2009</strong> be received and approved.”Wells/NoonanCARRIEDHonoraria“That the Executive Committee honoraria for the <strong>2009</strong>/10financial year be fixed at $9,000 for the elected Chairman,and $6,000 for each other Executive Committee member”.Mitchell/McCormickCARRIEDAuditors“That Deloitte be appointed as NZDFA auditors for the ensuingyear, <strong>2009</strong>/10”.Wells/NoonanCARRIEDBudget to year ending 31 March 2010“That the NZDFA budget of expenditure for the year ending 31March 2010 be approved”.Wells/NoonanCARRIEDThe AGM noted that a subscription increase of $10.00 plus GST wasproposed on a stable membership expectation of 1750. The DFAchairman urged Branches to keep the role and value of the DFAhigh in people’s minds at local level and advised that the ExecutiveCommittee was committed to seeking new ways of communicationand adding value to DFA services.Branch remitsRemit 1: Canterbury – Lower Tyne Removal (From 2006)“That in the absence of an accepted velvet marketingrestructuring, the NZDFA request DINZ to ensure that NZFSA(<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> Food Safety Authority) requires removal oflower tynes from velvet antler (frozen or dried) destined forthe Korean market, in accordance with Overseas Market AccessRequirements (OMAR). The NZDFA requests DINZ to reportconclusions and progress by beginning of <strong>2009</strong>/10 sellingseason.”Gilbert/NoonanSpeaking in support of the motion, Malcolm Gilbert acknowledgedthat circumstances had changed since it was drafted in 2006,when production was high and <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> processors were at adisadvantage to Korean processors, who were required to removethe lower tynes as a formal condition of entry to Korea for processedproduct.Ed Noonan said the remit was not intended to subsidise <strong>New</strong><strong>Zealand</strong> processors. He pointed out that the OMARs were Koreanrequirements, and that there should be some integrity in themarket.Steven Borland noted that a Korean FTA could render the remitredundant.DINZ Chief Executive Mark O’Connor supported the sentiment ofthe remit, but said it would not help processors. He said wholevelvet sticks were being exported via China now. Lower tynesare theoretically removed in Korea before processed velvet isre-exported. “We don’t know if this is happening. It’s a commercialissue now.”John McDonald (Venison Processors’ Association Chair and DINZBoard member) said that time has overtaken the remit and it shouldbe withdrawn. “We appreciate the support that was given to theindustry, but China has entered the market now. The bulk of thevelvet is going to China, it’s being dried there, the tynes have beenremoved, and it’s then exported as a whole piece and then China isbringing the tip back into China.”In his right of reply, Malcolm Gilbert said the Korean FTA may stilltake some time to implement, so the remit may still have a role inthe interim.The remit was put and LOST on a voice vote.Issue No 36 • <strong>June</strong> <strong>2009</strong> 13

conferenceFrom left: Ed Noonan, Sharon Love, Earle Wells, Bill Taylor and Tony Pearse. Executive Committee has instigated a review of the NZDFAposition on NAIT.Executive committee remit“That this 34th NZDFA AGM review the current NZDFA positionstatement on NAIT, as presented to the NAIT Governance Group(April <strong>2009</strong>)”Taylor/NoonanThe emergence of this remit has marked a further softening inNZDFA’s official stance against the NAIT concept and the mandatoryinclusion of deer by 2011, although concerns still remain (see alsoreport on the Branch Chairmen’s meeting in this issue).The April <strong>2009</strong> position is outlined in full in the 2008/09 NZDFAAnnual Report, which was published in the April/May issue of <strong>Deer</strong><strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>.Chairman Bill Taylor explained that the current NZDFA positionwas formed over a period of three years, and that circumstanceshad changed somewhat since this process started, making a reviewappropriate. “The purpose of the remit is to move things slightlyahead to a somewhat more supportive position.”At the Branch Chairmen’s meeting the previous day, a NAITdelegation had also hinted at a softening of attitudes about theimplementation of the system with ability to negotiate some of theconditions and technical practicalities around tagging, timing andthe possibility of an alternative direct-to-slaughter RFID tag. Thedelegation had emphasised that the key to success was cooperationfrom all quarters to get things working.Most deer farmers now accept that NAIT will happen, but concernsremain about the “devil in the detail” such as dates for taggingfawns and the types of tags to be used. The open hostility to NAITfrom most DFA members seen in previous years had subsided thisyear, but concerns remain, nonetheless.To ensure debate was well informed, Producer Manager, Tony Pearse,a member of the NAIT Technical Advisory Group, gave the meeting abrief refresher on how NAIT is designed.He reminded farmers NAIT would be linked to a government propertydatabase, FarmsOnline, and that cattle and deer were to be first offthe block because they are already linked under the Biosecurity Actand the NPMS. Other species will be able to be “clipped on” to thesystem under separate legislation. It will be ultimately a one-tagsystem, possibly by 2013. The AHB will still run a separate databasefor its purposes, but it is intended that there won’t be separateNAIT and AHB tags. Therefore NAIT should be cost neutral based oncurrent systems, but farmers may choose to have a separate visualmanagement tag. NAIT tags will also be the basis of the electronicASD form. (For further information on current NAIT plans, refer tothe Branch Chairmen’s meeting report in this issue.)John Scurr reiterated the DINZ position of strong support for NAITand encouraged a change of position by NZDFA. “We’ve heard fromthe marketers. We need this system.” He said that while there is acost involved, it is a small price to pay for market access. GettingNAIT established without sheepon board at the start wouldmake it easier to get the systemrunning, he said.Mike Holdaway noted that theindustry strategy was to targetthe premium end of the market,and this is a segment thatdemands traceability.Mike McCormick supported thisview, but was worried that theNAIT Governance Group had notbeen listening to deer industryconcerns.Mike McCormick – concernedNAIT Governance Group notlistening to deer industryconcerns.David Stevens said concernsabout the timing of mandatoryintroduction, the need to payheavily to manage the low riskinvolved with direct-to-slaughter animals, the usefulness of the lowfrequencyRFID technology proposed and the equity of cost sharingshould be non-negotiable in a review of the NZDFA position.Mark Hawkins queried the current status of electronic tags assecondary AHB tags. Tony Pearse said there was a verbal agreementwith AHB that the electronic tags are acceptable and that theofficial sanction was imminent .Andrew Peters said he was still opposed to NAIT which is “justanother job I’ll have to do”, and said it had been poorly sold to theprimary sector. He said exporters had not convinced him that therewould be a premium on his product for implementing NAIT. “Weneed something that works for deer and our industry.”Alastair Porter raised concerns about the wording of the remitas it stood, suggesting that an AGM could not effectively review aposition statement. He proposed an amendment to the remit so thatit read:“That this 34th NZDFA AGM request that the NZDFA ExecutiveCommittee commit to a review of the current NZDFA positionstatement on NAIT, as presented by request to the NAITGovernance Group (April <strong>2009</strong>)”Porter/Denley14<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>

conferenceThe amendment was CARRIED by a voice vote.The amended motion was then put and CARRIED unanimously.The Chairman noted that the Executive Committee may co-optassistance to coordinate the task of reviewing the NZDFA positionon NAIT.Candidates for DINZBoardThree candidates competed fora single vacancy on the Boardcreated by the retirement byrotation of John Spiers. Theywere Jeremy (Jerry) Bell,Bernard Card and John Spiers.Each was invited to makea brief presentation to theNZDFA AGM.The Selection andAppointments Panel metthe candidates the day afterJerry Bell: Provisional producerthe AGM, and provisionally appointee to DINZ Board.appointed Wanaka deer farmerJerry Bell to the position. Aprécis of his presentation to the AGM follows:The industry is facing challenges, but we also need toconsolidate the good industry initiatives made to date. Wemust strengthen all the linkages along the value chain andbe prepared for any challenges. I can contribute to DINZ byhelping address some of the internal barriers to our industry’sgrowth.As well as farming, I have 25 years’ experience establishingand managing several successful food wholesaling anddistribution businesses. I have strong business relationshipsin China and travel there often. The key to these venturesis the same added value attribute that I can bring to theDINZ Board: strategic communication skills and effectivestakeholder relationship management.One of the keys to having stakeholders work together is bettercommunications across the entire value chain. All elementsmust understand what’s in it for them if they work togetherand take a shared long-term vision. The deer farmer mustunderstand what the shopper wants and we must continue toeducate the importer about producer concerns. And we mustmake sure restaurateurs are not exposed because we don’tunderstand their issues.Velvet producers have to work closer together. We needbuy-in to a common goal and we need to ensure no-one isdisenfranchised or at too much risk. These issues are raised inboth the velvet and venison industry strategies.A lack of trust has been identified as an issue in the venisonindustry, while a “last man standing” attitude affects thevelvet industry.Good communication and stakeholder management willhelp DINZ better manage levies, to lobby for improved R&Dinvestments and to ensure those funds are well targeted.Farmers need and deserve a voice, because they are thebackbone of this industry. They must have a role in settingstrategic direction, but must also trust others in the valuechain.I’m keen and motivated. What I’m offering won’t solve all theproblems, but it’s part of the solution. I don’t have all theanswers but I do have a plan.ElectionsBill Taylor confirmed that David Stevens and Ponty von Dadelszenhad been returned unopposed to the Selection and AppointmentsPanel for a two-year term.Wilton Turner has been elected unopposed to fill the NZDFAExecutive Committee vacancy left by the retirement by rotation ofSharon Love. Bill Taylor stood again after retirement by rotationand was re-elected unopposed. Wilton and Bill join Earle Wellsand Ed Noonan on the four-personcommittee.FarewellsBill Taylor thanked Sharon Lovefor her tremendous contribution tothe Executive Committee followingher two-year term, especially herefforts in regard to standardisingand coordinating the various velvetcompetitions. He wished her thebest for her future endeavours anddirections.Sharon said she had appreciated theopportunity to join the committeeand make a contribution. “Beinginvolved in the velvet competitionshas been very exciting and challenging.” She said she is steppingaway from the family farm but continuing to pursue her newTradedeer business and looking forward to seeing some differentparts of the country.Also making a departure is DINZMarketing and CommunicationsAssistant, Natalie Fraser, who hasfinally succumbed to the siren call offull-time study at Victoria Universityto complete a degree in accounting,after nearly two years’ service atDINZ.Natalie has provided excellentsupport to Producer ManagerTony Pearse, particularly incommunications surrounding theFocus Farm projects and of coursethe e-newsletter for DFA members,Stagline-online, which goes fromstrength to strength.Natalie said she had learnt a lot during her time at DINZ andthanked the NZDFA and Branch Chairmen for all their support. Shealso pointed out that the “I want to marry a farmer” sticker onher DINZ computer was not an advertisement and had in fact beendonated by the DFA Executive Committee Chairman.A final word from the organiserSharon Love: Moving onafter two years on NZDFAExecutive Committee.Natalie Fraser: LeavingDINZ for full-time studyCentral Regions’ conference organising committee chairman andincoming Executive Committee member Wilton Turner thankedthe many people who had contributed to the assembly of themagnificent antler wall which made such a striking backdrop to theconference. These included:Ken Swainson, Fallow Society; Donald Whyte and John Falconer,Elk & Wapiti Society; Steven Borland (North Island Reds); TrevorKenny (South Island Reds); Miles Halberg (builder); David Crowley(scaffolder); DINZ (lighting); Tony Cochrane (transport); and theCentral Regions committee.Issue No 36 • <strong>June</strong> <strong>2009</strong> 15

conferenceRevised National Pest ManagementStrategy nearly thereIt’s an irony that the more successful we become at containing bovine Tb, the harder we’ll have to work to keep thedisease in the spotlight.Animal Health Board (AHB) ChairmanChairman, John Dalziell, told conferencedelegates at the Agribusiness in Actionseminar that Tb may become a distantmemory for the next generation of farmers.There was a danger it could get shovedto one side in favour of other spendingpriorities. “You must keep the issue in frontof your managers, your sons and daughters.We are developing a strategy where it’sconceivable the disease could be eradicated.But we can’t take our eye off the ball.”Dalziell apologised to the meeting fornot having the Bovine Tb National PestManagement Strategy review discussionpaper ready for circulation, as it still neededsome work. (The paper has since beenreleased: see Stop Press.)He expressed the Board’s gratitude to deerfarmers for their ongoing commitment to thecurrent NPMS, acknowledging that farmershave to pay for testing from their ownpockets rather than through levies as cattlefarmers do. Timing of testing was also anissue for deer farmers, he said.He said testing was done for good reasonsand would continue under the revisedstrategy, albeit at a reducing level.William McCook, CEO of the AHB, wentover some aspects of the revised strategyduring his presentation. He said that whenthe target of 0.2 percent period prevalencefor Tb was reached by 2013 there wouldonly be 50–60 infected herds in the wholecountry. Getting there would require acontinuation of the three-pronged attack: Tbtesting, vector control and risk managementthrough movement control.As the number of infected herds fell, theemphasis would intensify on eradication ofTb from wildlife vectors. “Just culling all theremaining infected herds wouldn’t be enoughto eradicate the disease while there is stillinfected wildlife.”By getting possum numbers down very lowand evenly spread, the disease would dieout in the population. “This needs to bedone over a wide area and a short time.”The disease had already been effectivelyeradicated over about 100,000 hectares of<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> since 2000, McCook said. Therehad been “stunning success” over 82,000AHB Chairman John Dalziell:AHB grateful to deer farmers forcommitmentAHB CEO William McCook: Citedstunning success against Tb in keyareas.STOP PRESS:The discussion paper has nowbeen released and was beingmailed to cattle and deerfarmers earlier this month. Ifyou haven’t received a copy, itcan be downloaded fromwww.tbfree.org.nzFarmers are invited to makesubmissions to AHB prior toa formal strategy proposalbeing prepared for publicnotification by the Ministerof Agriculture, due by 30September.hectares of the Hauhungaroa Ranges westof Taupo and 9,000 hectares of Southland’sHokonui Hills.In response to a question from the floorhe said that possums are the maintenancehosts for Tb in wildlife. “Once it dies outin possums it will die out in other wildlifehosts such as ferrets and deer,” he said.He added that wild pigs are good sentinelanimals for Tb in wildlife because theyscavenge dead animals and easily catch thedisease. However they were not effectivetransmitters of Tb, so did not constitute agreat Tb risk.While the final wrinkles were beinghammered out of the current NPMS review,McCook said funding was a big factor.Eradication of Tb is going to have to occurwithin current funding levels.That will require a careful balance betweenpreventing spread of Tb, targeting largesegments of vector risk areas for eradicationand keeping the number of infected herdsbelow the 0.2 percent period prevalencethreshold. (It is currently around 0.33percent.)McCook said it will take some time to seeif Tb has been successfully eradicated fromareas such as the Hauhungaroa Ranges assome vectors such as wild deer can live 15years or more. He said that by 2025 it waspossible large areas of Canterbury, Otagoand Southland could be on the brink of Tbfreedom. He expected the amount of testingin deer to drop from the current level of0.41 million tests per annum to 0.26 millionby 2025, and for the total land mass withinvector risk areas to shrink from the current10.3 million hectares to 7.7 million hectares.The introduction of NAIT would assist inthe battle to eliminate Tb, he added.Several speakers from the floor expressedtheir frustration at the inaccuracy of Tbblood tests. On a number of occasions,animals including a valuable stud stag – hadbeen killed after a positive blood test, onlyto prove negative after a post mortem.William McCook said he shared farmers’frustration. Improving Tb diagnostics was aresearch priority, but this had to be balancedagainst other priorities within tight budgets.16<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>

Hannah Hsu joins DINZ teamgeneral newsHannah Hsu is hoping her new position with <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> may mean she gets to eat plenty more venison.Taking over from Natalie Fraser as Marketingand Communications Assistant, Hannah will beproviding administrative support to the ProducerManager, assisting with producing publications,data management and generally ensuring smoothrunning behind the scenes.She’s already been involved with DINZ though, asan interpreter for two groups of visitors (Chineseand Taiwanese delegations), and is hoping herMandarin speaking skills will provide someadditional support to the organisation.Hannah, who immigrated with her family fromTaiwan when she was nine, has universityqualifications in psychology and humanresources management. She has provided PR andHannah Hsu: anenthusiastic convertto the joys of ourwonderful product.communications assistance to a cross-culturalcommunications company throughout <strong>New</strong><strong>Zealand</strong>, making full use of her English andMandarin language knowledge.Hannah is looking forward to relocating toWellington, and to working alongside the world’sbest deer producers. “I’m looking forward tomeeting farmers, and to having a role in anindustry that’s internationally known for producingvenison and velvet – it’s really an honour to bepart of it.”And as an enthusiastic convert to the joys ofvenison, she’s looking forward to doing lots moresampling.Have you sold velvet to Global <strong>Deer</strong> Products Ltd?Please contact <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> urgently if you have sold velvet to Global <strong>Deer</strong> Products Limited duringthe last two velvet seasons.<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> is seeking the assistance of deer farmers to help it estimate the amount of levy Global<strong>Deer</strong> Products Limited was liable to pay on behalf of deer farmers over the past two velvet seasons. Your help inensuring that your levies have been correctly assessed and received by DINZ is appreciated.Please contact Peter Chik on 04 474 0823 as soon as possible.Rodway Park & SARNIA DEER4 th Annual Hind Sale – 11.00am – Friday, 24 th , July, <strong>2009</strong>“The Home of Clean, Stylish, Consistent Antler Genetics”Post-drought we have had great fertility in our hinds – 2 dry scanned hinds fromthe entire Mixed Age Hind base, predominantly fawning by late November• Offering matings to Achilles, Aros, Launceston, Peleus, Xcell• Selection of weaner hinds by Guernsey, Tamar DG, T-Rex, Tiberius, ZeusXcell @ 2 (Achilles/Motsumi)Peleus, 479 IOA @ 6yrsAros @ 4yrs , 6.5kg SAPFor more information & catalogues – Andy & Rachael Mitchell – 07 333 2151www.nzstags.com or e-maileRodway@xtra.co.nzIssue No 36 • <strong>June</strong> <strong>2009</strong> 17

conference<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> Formal General Meeting:It’s all about balance and confidenceStability, consistency, balance and confidence were key themes throughout the <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> (DINZ) FormalGeneral Meeting at Palmerston North on 27 May.Not a bad time for production dipGiven the contraction in the economies of our main markets,it is not a bad time for <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> venison production tobe also reducing, said DINZ Chairman, John Scurr, in hisopening address. While the food and beverage sectors werefaring better than industries like automobile manufacturers, itwas nonetheless a good time to reduce risk by cutting costs,retiring debt and improving productivity.He said the balancing of supply and demand by venisonprocessor/exporters is being matched by careful managementof DINZ finances in the face of sharply declining levyincome. This is forecast at $4.1 million for the year toSeptember <strong>2009</strong>, down from $5.2 million the previous year.In order to partly offset the effects of much lower production,the venison levy for the next financial year will rise from12 cents to 14 cents per kg hot carcass weight in October<strong>2009</strong>. This means a 1 cent increase to producers and a 1cent increase to processors. Before deciding to increase thevenison levy, DINZ first undertook a review to reduce its owncosts. Over time it is aiming to reduce administration costsby 20 percent and has reduced investment in other areas.The velvet levy will not change.John noted this was the first levy increase since 2002 andthat further levy changes may be required as events unfold.Progress on the reviewed velvet and venison industriesstatements of strategic intent was very pleasing, he said.“We’ve worked well together on this as producers, processorsand marketers.”Fundamentals are goodThe historically high schedule for this time of year was notjust a quirk of supply and exchange rate, said DINZ ChiefExecutive, Mark O’Connor, in his report. Gross marginanalyses showed deer continued to perform well as aninvestment.In a light-hearted play on statistics, he displayed a graphshowing that a rise in the venison schedule coincided with adrop in the number of remits at the NZDFA’s AGM.On a more serious note he said it was important to keepa close watch on market signals. He said confidence isimportant and can be fickle. Venison production wascurrently forecast to keep falling, bottoming out at 360,000next year before climbing back to present levels by 2013.Velvet production was likely to continue falling, and DINZexpenditure on some velvet-related activities would also needto contract – this could be by as much as 50 percent. Thevelvet levy was already high compared to other species andwould not be changed.DINZ would be working hard to ensure it adapts to changingneeds and remains “fit for purpose” he said. This willinclude reducing administration costs on such items as office18accommodation and publishing the annual report – nowdone electronically.He said DINZ remains firmly in support of animalidentification and traceability.“It won’t solve or prevent all problems, but it will helpreduce the impacts [of adverse events]. We only have lookat how chronic wasting disease (CWD) has decimated theCanadian deer industry to see the value of traceability. Somecustomers now expect animal identification and traceabilityas a matter of course.“<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> has a great story to tell consumers, whichis being pushed aside by the current ‘buy local’ trend. Themore we can strengthen links right along the value chain, thestronger we will be.”Mark acknowledged there are issues around direct-toslaughterand capital stock, but said farmers needed to beon the inside with developments around NAIT and continueto negotiate the most workable, cost-effective and practicalsystem for deer.Venison: good progress over thepast five yearsThings have been rocky at times, but there’s been goodprogress in achieving the goals of the 2005–2010 Venison<strong>Industry</strong> Strategic Intent, said DINZ Venison Market ServicesManager, Innes Moffat. The strategy was based on buildingnon-traditional markets, improving consumption outside thetraditional game season and managing supply through herdgrowth.The percentage of frozen venison exports to Germanyhas fallen from 43 percent to 34 percent over five yearsas industry strategies and company promotion diversifiedthe markets, and a focus on retail has helped widen theconsumption season.Innes said market research had shown the joint marketinginitiatives had been having an effect by raising awarenessof the <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> product. There has been an 88 percentimprovement in willingness to buy venison in a supermarket,and volumes of out-of-season chilled exports had risen by600 tonnes, or 3 million meal equivalents.He said a drop in the price of other proteins had left venisonexposed, but <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> exporters and importers in Europehad responded quickly and well, by providing confidencethat the core European market would not be oversupplied.“Importers seek reassurance of price stability.”Recently beef prices in Europe have fallen quickly, whichagain leaves venison vulnerable. “The impact of the recessionon consumer behaviour remains a challenge for us. We’ve gotto ensure people continue to demand <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> venison.”Innes said the theme for the Strategic Intent <strong>2009</strong>–2014 wasimproving the linkages, with better assurances about supply<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>

conferenceand returns. This strategic intent is not owned by DINZ,but by the whole industry. Objectives for the next five yearswould focus around:• venison’s position as a premium product• reduced volatility (e.g. supply fluctuations)• improved productivity (e.g. reduced wastage, bettergenetics)• encourage long term commitment to marketdevelopment (e.g. improved information in marketdevelopment activities of individual companies)• steps to ensure our continued freedom to operate (e.g.welfare, safety, market access issues)“Our industry’s future is in our hands,” Innes concluded.“We can have an industry of committed producers, supplyingdedicated marketing companies, profitably satisfying theneeds of discerning customers around the world.”Velvet: market difficulties butpositives remainWhile no-one’s denying it has been challenging for the velvetindustry, there are some positive signs, reported DINZ VelvetMarket Services Manager Rhys Griffiths in his introductionto the Velvet <strong>Industry</strong> Strategic Intent <strong>2009</strong>–2014.The changing environment for the industry included lowervolumes and prices, fewer processors operating in <strong>New</strong><strong>Zealand</strong>, a growth in the potential of the China market anddiversified markets in Korea. In the longer term, the ChinaFree Trade Agreement (FTA) and the prospect of an FTA withKorea, could provide more favourable market conditions for<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> producers.There were exciting developments in non-traditional velvetbasedproducts in Korea, such as ready-to-use energy drinks,but younger consumers would be demanding good scientificevidence of the benefits of velvet, rather than relying ontradition, he said. The objective of selling 45 tonnes of frozenequivalent through non-traditional channels in Korea wasclose to being met.He said the potential in the Chinese market was hugeas individual wealth grows, but we must be aware ofcompetition from other health products. There was alsopotential for market growth in Taiwan, which has 50 percentof the population of Korea, but only 5 percent of the velvetconsumption.Progress was also being made reducing the costs of marketaccess and building the image of <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> velvet.Work was also progressing to unlock and grow the Taiwanesemarket. Taiwanese access is still limited by a 5-tonne quotafor frozen velvet at a tariff of 22.5 percent, and a very highout-of-quota tariff.Work was still continuing to develop western markets, butRhys acknowledged that plenty of work remained to convincewestern cultures of the benefits of velvet.The draft Velvet <strong>Industry</strong> Strategic Intent <strong>2009</strong>–2014 had beencirculated and received good feedback. The six key points ofthe strategy included:• ensuring the freedom to continue operating (e.g.regulatory issues)• improved market access conditions and prioritising marketaccess opportunities – as these can take time to eventuate• protection of core traditional markets (e.g. convincingnew oriental medicine doctors of the quality andtraceability of <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> velvet)• provide efficacy-based research to support core markets• strengthen the <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> velvet brand in consumers’minds.Rhys said DINZ would not be investing significantly inwestern markets as it concentrated its efforts on new andtraditional Asian markets. There were some opportunities,however, such as the companion animal market, which maybe pursued.Passionate scienceDINZ Science Manager Lindsay Fung gave delegates anoverview of how research programmes such as the flagshipVenison Supply Systems (VSS), are designed to deliver theoutcomes set out in the industry’s strategies.VSS accounts for DEEResearch’s biggest single spend at$408,000 per annum, and is also funded through FRST ($1.3million) and Landcorp. Fung explained the three main areasof research under the VSS banner:• venison market supply systems (e.g. earlier calving, roleof genetics and environment in calving date)• productivity (e.g. parasite control and Focus Farms)• environmentally responsible systems (e.g. issues ofextensive systems).He said the research programmes involved some basicresearch, such as understanding rumen development, aswell as applied research targeting specific solutions toproblems. An understanding of rumen and gastro-intestinaltract development will underpin more applied work intotechniques for improved weight gain.Achieving good productivity gains required goodunderstanding of how genetic factors interacted withenvironmental conditions such as drought, disease challenge,exposure to stress, nutrition, management practices orlandscape.The programme has already demonstrated some heritabilityfor early conception – probably linked to multiple genes –but has also revealed a number of constraints.In the important area of parasitology, Lindsay said very littlewas known about gastro-intestinal parasites in deer, andit was unlikely that knowledge based on sheep and cattlecould be directly applied. Development of a new faecal eggcounting technique for deer has been one step along the paththe better understanding.A study into the effects of extensive farming systems hasalready yielded useful data, with hind-movement monitoringaround calving showing that extensive systems may be linkedto higher calving and survival rates.The funding environment for velvet research is tough,Lindsay reported. Progress has been made on wound healing,with plans under way for a human proof of concept trial inan Australian burns unit. Another proof of concept trial usingisotopic signatures to identify velvet country of origin hasshown promise (see <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong> April/May <strong>2009</strong>) andthere have been promising results from a companion animalvelvet trial at Massey, which demonstrated a positive effecton immune response.Issue No 36 • <strong>June</strong> <strong>2009</strong> 19

conferenceTransport and welfareThe last velvet season went very well from a compliancepoint of view, said DINZ Quality Manager, John Tacon.“No-one failed their audit, and this year’s programmeshowed good standards were maintained,” he said.MAF prioritised bobby calves and velvetting programmesfor closer scrutiny last year, and a surveillance programmewas run from September 2008 to January <strong>2009</strong>. A positiveeducational approach had been taken by the regulator, andonly one case has been referred for further investigation. Thesurveillance will be repeated again next season.John reminded farmers that the same rules applied, whetherit was one or 100 deer being velvetted. That said, the NVSBprogramme was delivering what regulators required, headded.John said there had been some confusion about the changein maximum length of velvet antler from 100 to 110 mmfor deer being transported. He said the length could not beextended beyond that without creating ‘headroom’ issuesduring transport.He issued the following useful reminders to help ensure goodwelfare when deer are moved by truck:• things can go wrong on a short or long journey• ensure the deer are fit and healthy• don’t mix deer from different farms or age groups• don’t transport weaned hinds less than 10 days afterweaning• use correct stock densities.<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> has an excellent deer transport QA scheme,John said, and he urged all farmers and transporters to makesure it worked.Focus Farm programme tacklingproduction challengesProducer Manager, Tony Pearse, rounded out the DINZpresentations with an update on the Focus Farm projectsand the Productivity Strategy, which are now all hitting theirstraps.DINZ contributes $30,000 per farm per year with furtherinput from AgResearch, regional councils and othersincluding local sponsors. Tony said the most importantlinkage is between the skilled facilitators, the dedicatedfarming couples and the communities and Branches aroundthem.There has been excellent support at field days, withattendances of more than 100 not uncommon at the majorpublic field days and 40–80 at community days.Major issues identified on the Focus Farms included aserious drop in production levels in first fawners, a lack ofimprovement in productivity despite advances in geneticsand quality, and local challenges including drought and coldwinters, competing land use and time constraints. Managingyoung hinds from weaning through to mating was emergingas one focus for more attention.The farms are also hosting various Sustainable FarmingFund projects including studies of parasitism, tussock landmanagement and development and carbon footprint impacts.Tony noted that relatively modest amounts of industryfunding could leverage large inputs from other sources likethe SFF. Another project is looking at the role of palm kernelextracts in production systems.Excellent linkages with Johne’s Management Ltd, the DiseaseResearch Laboratory and Johne’s Research Group were alsopaying dividends.A new sponsorship from CRT was to support three discussiongroups throughout Otago, he announced with a proposedLandcorp, DINZ and M&WNZ project for the Fiordland/Southland area under development.The first-ever Focus Farms conference held last year yieldedsome important outcomes including the following prioritiesfor Focus Farms:• animal health, especially Johne’s disease status• a better understanding of the impacts of parasitism• better tools for monitoring (farm and communitygroup).The information being generated by the programme wouldalso be captured at next month’s <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> TechnicalConference (hosted by the <strong>Deer</strong> Branch of NZVA).The programme has identified areas where it can do better,including:• concise take-home messages• keeping focused on profitability• attracting more people into the programme, especiallyyounger farmers• clear programmes and regional relevance• better use of <strong>Deer</strong>Select information and top genetics.Tony said the programme had already led to some bigchanges in strategic thinking, including the use of latesummer and autumn crops and managing animals carefullythrough lactation and weaning.“At the end of the day, our deer all respond to feeding,such a key part of the more, heavier earlier, theme of theprogramme.”Antler, schmantler – when’sdinner? Young CaitlinMitchell finds it all a bitof a yawn during the <strong>Deer</strong><strong>Industry</strong> Conference atPalmerston North.Photo: Rachael Mitchell.20<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>

Korean FTA negotiations under wayconferenceAs you read this issue of <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>, <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>’s 25-strong trade negotiation team will have just returnedfrom the first round of negotiations to establish a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Korea.The <strong>2009</strong> <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> Conference wasprivileged to host the lead negotiator for the<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> delegation, Alison Mann.She told deer farmers that bothgovernments had expressed a desire tohammer out an agreement in months,rather than years. Realistically that couldmean 12 months rather than three years.Speed of negotiation would not be at theexpense of quality, however.While both sides are willing to strengthenthe political and economic relationship,getting a deal favourable to deer farmersand other primary producers won’t be easy,she said. “Agriculture, forestry and fishingare hypersensitive areas for Korea and verydifficult for them politically. We’ll be requiredto sweat blood to get what we want.”Mann said the Korean government isnonetheless committed to reforms andhas acknowledged that their country hasbenefitted from trade liberalisation. Bothgovernments see trade as a tool for climbing out of recession,and she noted that while Korea had been unwilling to enteran FTA with an agricultural exporter before, they are nowcommitted.She said the FTA must provide commercially meaningfulopportunities for <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> businesses, address “behindthe border” problems associated with the different regulatoryapproaches of both countries, provide genuine investmentopportunities and keep government out of commercialdecision making.Looking at the FTA aspects of trade in goods, Mann said thefollowing were key negotiating points:• Tariff removal: Currently the tariff regimes between thetwo countries are very asymmetrical in Korea’s favour.• National treatment: Once imported goods are within acountry, they should not be regulated any differentlythan domestically produced goods. (<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> velvetis one product which one might claim is not treatedthe same way as domestic product with the IndividualExcise Tax.)• Rules of origin: The FTA must determine which goodsare covered by the agreement. These rules can be usedby some countries to protect some domestic industries,but Korea has a similar approach to <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>.• Customs procedures: Korea has an effective borderadministration, and the two countries’ Customs agenciesalready cooperate well.• Technical barriers to trade: This will create a frameworkto negotiate on regulatory areas such as health andsafety, so that these are not used as barriers to trade orto increase transaction costs.• Sanitary and phytosanitary measures: Measures takenAlison Mann: Korean Free Trade Agreement must address “behind the border” issues.to protect a country’s plant, animal and human healthfrom imported pests and diseases must be scientificallyjustified.• Trade remedies: Setting up ways to deal with disputes,e.g. for dumping of goods into a market.Looking at the needs of the deer industry as they relate toan FTA, Mann said a number of issues were prominent,including:• tariff elimination from all products• removal of the special excise tax (if this remainsoutside the scope of an FTA it may still be pursuedindependently)• allowance of deer velvet to be used as a majoringredient in functional foods (there are complextechnical issues here which may involve lengthynegotiations with Korean government agencies, buthopefully not as long as the 11 years it took to get slicedvelvet access)• access for co-products to be used as health supplementsor pharmaceutical items (there are no Korean standardscurrently covering this area)• access for Korean technicians into <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>.Mann said it was extremely important for industries like thedeer industry to let the negotiating team know the impactof trade issues throughout the supply chain, the better theoutcome that could be negotiated.“After the first round of negotiations we’ll be coming backto all affected industries to talk about how we’ll be able toapproach the market access side of negotiations. These willprobably start in about September.”To contact the <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> negotiating team email:■■ftk@mfat.govt.nzIssue No 36 • <strong>June</strong> <strong>2009</strong> 21

conference<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> Award:Modest winner epitomises industry valuesThis year’s awards dinner, generously sponsored by Firstlight Venison, marked the 25th presentation of the coveted<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> Award. This provided the perfect excuse for a trip down memory lane and reflection on previous winners.That task fell to award co-sponsor Alistair Porter.He said deer are extraordinary animalswhich have attracted extraordinary peopleto the industry. The award was establishedin 1984 after Alistair approached the theneditor of The <strong>Deer</strong> Farmer, the late DavidYerex, about setting up an award to recognisecontributions to the still-young industry. Thisindeed came to pass, with Porter Holdingsand The <strong>Deer</strong> Farmer each nominating ajudge with the NZDFA providing a third judgein case a majority decision was needed.A number of the previous award winnerswere among the audience including industryfounding father Sir Tim Wallis, who sharedsome reminiscences about his early daysin venison recovery when venison was justtenpence a pound. He recalled one morningwhen he and his team shot 220 deer from ahelicopter, of which they recovered only half,before a nor’wester kicked in. “At least weproved that when we sold them for one andfourpence halfpenny a pound, we made aprofit!”He also recalled his mother guaranteeingthe loan for his first chopper. “Little did sheknow I would have crashed it 10 days later.”Sir Tim said the industry had been on a rollercoaster ride, but was pleased to see thatthings were now stable, with good prices anddemand for our chilled product. “We can’tmiss.”He is equally optimistic about the prospectsfor velvet in China, if it’s promoted as a tonicand health food.And so, after an enjoyable preamble, it wastime for the <strong>2009</strong> award, this year judgedby Ron Schroeder, John Kempthorne andAndrew Fraser.Hmm – how do I measure onethis small? Hub Hall enjoys themoment.This year’s nominees were Colin Mackintosh, for hiscontribution to deer research; The Canterbury SpikerVelvetting Group; Master Measurer, Hub Hall; and MandyBell and Adrian Campbell for their Johne’s disease work.The announcement of Hub Hall as the <strong>2009</strong> <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong>Award recipient was a hugely popular one with the audience.Hub applied to MAF in 1974 to farm deer. He was the firstChairman of the Waipa Branch and ran the possibly thefirst on-farm stag auction at his Manganui Park property,but he is most widely recognised for his contribution tothe trophy industry as one of only five Master Measurersin <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> for the three deer species. He has beenjudging the hard antler section of the National Velvet andHard Antler competition for 20 years and now judges theSir Tim Wallis entertained thecrowd with reminiscences abouthis early days in venison recovery.The full roll of winners was:1985: Harry Van Hoppe and Anne Masfen1986: John Burrowes1987: Noel Beatson1988: Ian Spiers1989: The <strong>Deer</strong> Farmer magazine1990: Professor Frank Griffin1991: Tom Williams1992: Jeff Pearse1993: Canterbury Branch, NZDFA (World <strong>Deer</strong> Congress)1994: Sir Tim Wallis and Sir Peter Elworthy (jointly)1995: Ken Drew1996: Richard Janes1997: Clive Jermy1998: Graham Brown1999: Bob Bennett2000: Andrew Duncan, Tony Pearse and John Spiers (individually,on the occasion of the DFA 25th anniversary)2001: South Canterbury/North Otago Branch NZDFA (<strong>Deer</strong>Master)2002: Ian Walker2003: Jimmy Suttie2004: Ian Scott2005: Dave Lawrence2006: Keith Orange2007: Southland Branch NZDFA (National Velvet Competitions)2008: Trevor Walton and Angie Fussell.hard antler at both the North Island and RisingStars competitions as well. At this year’s RisingStars competition alone he single-handedlymeasured 14.1 kilometres of hard antler. JudgeJohn Kempthorne said that despite beingthe ‘godfather’ of trophy antler scoring andmanagement in <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>, Hub is alwaysunassuming and a gentleman.In his acceptance speech, Hub wryly commented that he feltlike an old stag being sent off with the hinds for the last timebefore joining the trophy mob.“I first applied for a licence to farm deer in 1962 and I’m stillhankering after them, so I’ve got the bug real bad!”DEER FARM POSITION SOUGHTExperienced, fit, reliable, mature deer block manager seeksposition on progressive deer farm.Al options considered.References available.Please leave contact details on 021 126 750622<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>

industry newsFitting climate change concerns into the<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> venison story■■by Innes Moffat, Venison Marketing Services Manager, <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>The <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> meat industry is not alone in confronting arising tide of opinion that agricultural production contributesto global warming.The fact is that the earth is warming, with potentiallydisastrous consequences for many millions of people.Whether human activity is the cause is being debated, butnearly every government has decided that the risks of notdoing anything outweigh the costs of doing something tostop it. While no universal measures are currently in place,many consumers and environmental advocates are strident intheir calls for individuals to take actions now to reduce theirimpact on the environment.The low carbon diet calculator.Meat features large in many of these campaigns to get peopleto reduce their carbon footprint. For example, some caterersin Australia now offer customers the carbon cost, as wellas the dollar price of differing menu options. Increasingnumbers of on-line tools, and even nutritional guidelines,recommend reducing consumption of red meat in order toreduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.For example, American food magazine Bon Appétit promotesthe website www.eatlowcarbon.org which calculates that alamb chop contributes four times as much carbon equivalentGHG as a chicken breast. While the science might be fuzzy,the populist message is brutally clear. Eat less meat – stopglobal warming!Though <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> venison may be a lower-carbon meatin comparison to grain-fed beef, methane is the majorcontributor to ruminants’ carbon footprint, so we lose outbadly to mono-gastrics, and plant based proteins.Recently consumer research undertaken by Meat andLivestock Australia recorded that, among those who indicatedthey have recently reduced their beef consumption, 5 percentdid so because of GHG and environmental concerns.Although price and diet still remain the main reasons, thefact that GHG emissions occur as a reason at all should causealarm bells to ring among meat producers.Irrespective of whether the <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> governmentincludes agriculture in an emissions trading scheme,consumers around the world will increasingly view eatingmeat as an irresponsible use of the earth’s resources. Eatinga steak could soon be viewed in the same light as drivingan earth-stomping, baby-seal-clubbing, gasguzzlingHummer.No-one is suggesting that people will stopeating meat, but, unless the GHG theoryproves incorrect, it is likely that morepeople will choose to eat smaller portionsof red meat, and eat them less frequently.In this writer’s opinion, taking a “carbonneutral”position may have some appeal forindividual producers targeting individualcustomers, but is unlikely to be a solutionfor the industry. For a start, is offsettingGHG emissions from meat productionactually achievable? The analysis of theproposed emissions trading scheme todate suggests it may not be economicallysustainable.The second impediment would becommunicating the carbon status of aproduct to a wide audience, and findingthose buyers willing to pay the premiumcarbon-neutrality would require. Theconsumer is already bombarded with manyconflicting and competing messages fromfood producers, and GHG emissions areyet another thing that they will have totake into consideration alongside price, place of production,standards of production, natural versus organic versusconventional, nutritional value, visual appeal, taste andknowledge of preparation.The challenge for meat producers will increasingly beto sell meat as a “good use of carbon” and at the sametime demonstrating their commitment to reducing theenvironmental impact of their activities, and constantlyseeking to reduce GHG emissions from production.The upside for small producers like the <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>venison industry is that if meat becomes more of a treat,then consumers may increasingly chose quality overquantity. As producers of a scarce, nutrient-dense, low-fatmeat, smaller portions for higher prices would suit us verywell. However there is no easy answer, and it adds to thecomplexity of selling quality meats in discerning marketsaround the world.Issue No 36 • <strong>June</strong> <strong>2009</strong> 23

VenisonMarket ReportClouds loom on the venison horizon in the shape of reduced demand and an appreciating <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> dollar. Whileprices are expected to hold firm in main markets, a decrease in restaurant orders and supermarket sales is causing someconcern.ScheduleIn week 23, the average publishedschedule for 55-60kg AP stags was $8.73.This is $1.50 up on the same week in2008 and $3.30 above the three-yearaverage (2005 to 2008). The schedule is36% above the 10-year average.ProductionProduction in the first six months ofthe season, from October to March, of331,000 head is down 11% on the sameperiod in 2007/08. The proportion ofhinds in the national kill fell to 37% forthe first six months, down from around43% in previous years. Slaughter inApril-<strong>June</strong> is understood to be downsubstantially on previous years, with bigfalls in the hind kill, indicating both thereduction in available animals, but alsothe beginning of national herd rebuilding.ExportsExports of 17,825 tonnes in the 12months ended March <strong>2009</strong> were 16%less than the same period a year earlier.The total value of these exports was $305million, up 20% on the year earlier. Theaverage FOB value has increased from$12,000 to over $17,000 per tonne.<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> exporters are concentratingon supplying customers who will both paythe higher prices, and provide solid longtermbusiness for the future.CurrencyNZD returns are being eroded by theappreciating <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> dollar. It hasclimbed 8% against the USD and 9%against the Euro since the beginning of<strong>2009</strong>. With stable prices, this effectivelymeans 70 to 80 cents offthe schedule. The currency,at 0.64 USD and 0.45 Euro,$12.00is about the same as theaverages over the chilled$10.00season 2008, but as Europeanprices seem unlikely to reach$8.00the highs achieved last year,it seems unlikely that the$6.00venison schedule will exceedthe levels seen during thespring peak of 2008.$4.00Market conditionsEuropeEuropean importers haveconcerns about sales of$/kg$2.00$-expensive venison in the coming months.While the reduced volumes have meantthat manufacturers and wholesalershave snapped up cheaper cuts from thefore and hind quarter, the outlook forrestaurant sales in our main markets iscausing some concern. Consumers arereducing discretionary spending and mealsout are often not a necessity. Chicken,pork and South American beef are allcheaper than they were in 2008, so chefswill be examining their menus, seekingthe value options.Venison as a seasonal speciality is lessaffected by price elasticity of demandthan everyday commodities – consumersand chefs who are buying quality meatfor special occasions are unlikely to reallyremember what they paid last year, soare more likely to put up with the pricedifference between venison and cheaperproteins. However, if the price gap is toolarge, they won’t buy the venison.United StatesExports in the first three months of <strong>2009</strong>are down 47% on 2008 because of weaksales to the restaurant sector. Chefs arebeing restrained by owners and managersand forced to examine every cost on everyplate. The situation is even more seriousfor chain restaurants, or restaurantsbelonging to major corporations – afteryears of chef celebrity, where chefs’whims and expectations of using only the“finest ingredients” were accommodated,the power has swung to the accountantswho are demanding the maximummargins on every serving.This bodes ill for expensive, low-turnoveritems like Cervena® venison. Venisonis an optional extra on most restaurantAverage Schedule. 55-60kg AP Stag1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 47 49 51weekmenus. Chicken, pork and beef are lowercostessentials, and chefs are replacingtheir expensive exotic dishes withhigher margin, more common proteinalternatives.Food service promotionsIn order to remind chefs that <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>venison is available, and is still goodvalue for money, <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> venisonmarketers will be implementing a shortpromotional programme in Germany,Belgium and the Netherlands this comingNorthern Hemisphere autumn. Manychefs will be familiar with <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>venison as a seasonal staple, but withpressure on revenue, remembering howhigh prices got in 2008, and plenty ofcheaper protein options, they might beinclined to reduce their venison orders.In order to avert downward pressure onprices, <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> venison marketershave agreed that promotion to the foodservice sector is necessary. A programmelinking exporters, wholesalers andfoodservice media with purchasing chefsis currently being designed.<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> nutritionfocusVenison is a low-fat, nutrient-densefood, ideal as part of a healthy balanceddiet. DINZ will, over the coming months,continue to spread the word amonghealth professionals and consumerswith the production of new literature.Registered dietician Amanda Johnson haswritten two booklets on the nutritionalbenefits of venison. A consumer versioncontains easy-to-read messages and easyto-cookrecipes; a second, more detailedbooklet aimed at medicalprofessionals examines thebenefits of venison as partof a healthy diet.2005 2006 20072008 <strong>2009</strong>In addition, DINZ willonce again be presentingvenison to <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>’sdieticians and nutritionistsat the annual Dieticians’conference. This year,having venison productsfeaturing the National HeartFoundation Heart Tick willadd weight to the “venisonas a healthy meal” message.24<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>

Market ReportVelvetWhile the weighted average velvet price for the season will be back on last year’s average of $73.50 by at least $10, themarket finished on a positive note. Through more controlled selling, the market edged forward continuously during theseason, ending up well ahead of initial predictions. Indications from farmers and exporters are that velvet stocks arelow in <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> and Korea. With estimated <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> production potentially as low as 350 tonnes next year, acontinued strengthening of price could be possible – though much depends on a recovering global economy.<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> velvetproductionIndications are that there has been a largecull of velvetting animals as a result ofthe high venison schedule and low velvetprices. The best source of informationwhich <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> has isa mixture of information from Statistics<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> and Johne’s ManagementLimited (JML). The JML data have onlybeen collected since January 2007,so need to be treated with caution.However, the information indicates aslaughter of at least 30,000 older stagsmore than the previous year. Statistics<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> figures indicated a total ofaround 100,000 older stags as at 30 <strong>June</strong>2008. That would imply a drop in velvetproduction of some 30 percent. Figure 1shows the number of older farmed stagsin <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> since 1987 (bars) and<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> velvet production (line). The<strong>2009</strong> estimated bar shows the extent ofthe possible drop in the number of olderstags. The graph also reveals the extent ofper-stag productivity improvement.Korean economy• As with the rest of the world, Koreais still plagued by the current globaleconomic crisis. Reports vary daily,however. Some suggest that the worstis over while others say the bottom hasnot been reached yet.• The second quarter did see astrengthening of the Korean wonagainst the US dollar after a rapiddecline over the previous twoquarters. At the time of writing, theKOSPI (Korean share-market index)also experienced its strongest rally inthe past six months.• Another concern is the geopoliticalrisk associated with recent activityfrom North Korea. The market mayrespond negatively if aggressiveactivity intensifies.Korea market activity• According to major importers, deervelvet consumption through orientalmedicine clinics has decreasedconsiderably due to the pooreconomic conditions since late lastyear.• A Korean marketing company (thatNZ Stags >2 y.o.works closely with <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong><strong>Zealand</strong>) ran a promotion in the leadupto Children’s Day (5 May). Thepromotion included the launch of anew drink aimed at young children andwas packaged with the successful deervelvet drink targeting teenagers andyoung adults.• In April, representatives from two ofKorea’s leading newspapers, ChosunIlbo and Dong-a Ilbo visited <strong>New</strong><strong>Zealand</strong>. <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>was interviewed by these publicationsallowing the ability to promote <strong>New</strong><strong>Zealand</strong> deer velvet to Korean readers.<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>/Korea FTAwatchMost exporters agree that the singlebiggest opportunity that could potentiallybenefit the <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> velvet industry inthe medium term is a comprehensive FreeTrade Agreement with South Korea. Withthe two preliminary rounds completedthe first official round of Free TradeNegotiations started on 8 <strong>June</strong> in Seoul.(For more on the Korea FTA negotiations,see <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> Conference report onpage 21.)China market activityTwo companies that market furtherfinishedvelvet as pet and humansupplements report that sales are downdue to a weak economy, though they doacknowledge that China is not as affected250000200000150000100000500000Long range stats nz data Chart 1as the rest of the world. Work continuesto promote <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> deer product infurther-finished form to consumers andpet owners through internet promotion,print media advertising, mail-ordercatalogues and trade shows.In April and May, <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong><strong>Zealand</strong> hosted two delegations visitingfrom Heilongjiang and Xinjiang provinces.These delegations included seniorgovernment officials and local deerindustry representatives. The intentionwas to establish a relationship wherebya closer working understanding betweenthe industries could eventuate.Co-productsVelvet Production & Stag > 2 y.o population 1987-<strong>2009</strong>/10Exporters report that sinew sales intoHong Kong appear to be positive sincethe campaign focus on co-products earlierthis year. <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> andtwo prominent exporters are investigatingnew promotion options on the backof coverage generated by the previouscampaign. <strong>New</strong> work would be carriedout in time for the start of the traditionalselling season later in the third quarter.Stags > 2Velvet Production87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09(est)YE <strong>June</strong>Figure 1: Velvet production 1987–<strong>2009</strong> and population Page 1 of stags older than 2 years.7006005004003002001000Velvet (tonnes, frozen)Issue No 36 • <strong>June</strong> <strong>2009</strong> 25

general news100 kilogram weaners before winterWhen dairy genetics co-operative LIC decided to apply its skills to improving venison productivity, there were a fewraised eyebrows. Five years later in <strong>2009</strong> the vision of the “100 kg weaner before winter” is a reality.<strong>Deer</strong> Improvement’s Balfour Research Farm Manager, DesFord, weighs the animals every six weeks in a carefullystructured programme that involves extensive DNA testingand meticulous mob management to ensure accuracy ingenetic evaluation. On 29 May he confirmed that the latestcrop of stag fawns born around 15 November had indeedtopped the magic mark, averaging 100.8 kg.The farm is managed along commercial lines, with theweaners fed solely on grass until going on to a crop in <strong>June</strong>while the hinds are wintered on self-feed silage.The concept of finishing animals at six months of age hasobvious appeal to farmers wishing to reduce stock unitsthrough the feed pinch, although pre-winter scheduleprices have generally not been strong. <strong>Deer</strong> Improvementis undeterred, pointing out that building demand outsidethe traditional peak season is a key objective of venisonmarketers. They highlight the availability of year-roundsupply contracts being offered by Firstlight Venison, which iswell established in the North Island and currently expandingits operation into the South Island.Des Ford says the concept of the faster-growing weanerdoes not depend on pre-winter sales anyway. He cites theability to achieve weights near the top end of the rangewhich attracts premium prices in spring (up to 65kg carcassweight). “You can’t get those weights in September if youhaven’t made a lot of progress pre-winter.” This is becausedeer growth rates decline markedly during winter regardlessof feeding strategies. “Well-grown weaners provide flexibility.They give you options.”An added benefit he has observed is the opportunity toget yearling hinds away at spring premiums, ensuring allslaughter animals are gone before the next crop of fawns hitsthe ground.“Even at a 20 percent replacement rate, mostof your hinds are being bred for slaughter. Thecombined impact of selling more animals atheavier weights at the schedule peak is likeshifting the whole farm into another gear. Andbecause animals are spending less time on farm,maintenance feed is slashed. Retaining animalsinto the summer dry period is very expensivewhen you consider that two-thirds of feed intakeis solely for maintenance. Getting them awayearlier means better feed utilisation – morekilograms of venison per tonne of dry matter.”<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> Producer Manager,Tony Pearse, says the concept of more deer atgreater weights, sooner, is perfectly aligned withthe industry productivity strategy, in turn linkedto an objective in the just-reviewed venisonstrategy.“We’re no different to any other livestockenterprise. We’ve got to continuously improveproductivity which means more output per unit<strong>Deer</strong> Improvement Research Farm Manager, Des Ford, saysweaners that are well-grown before winter give flexibility whenit comes to timing of slaughter.of input. The crossbred terminal sire has provided an efficientproven track to improved growth rate for many years, butit’s clearly not for everybody. What’s being achieved nowin Red deer is remarkable and provides enormous flexibilityunder many different deer farming conditions, where peoplecan now set a hind size that suits their systems and feedingcapabilities.”Tony visited the Balfour property during the mid-Aprilweighing to see RFID in action and was impressed with theoperation and the genetics. “The animals handled beautifully,they looked magnificent, and the integrated system ofelectronic tags and scales really gave me a look into thefuture.”■■Article and photos contributed to <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong> by<strong>Deer</strong> Improvement.Yearling donor hinds in late April at the Balfour farm. <strong>Deer</strong> Improvement says theseanimals represent the future of Red deer genetics for venison production.26<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>

general newsStrategies begin to show results atWhiterock Focus Farm■■by Mike BradstockThe deer industry Focus Farms projects are all about constantly striving to do things better. The catch cry for theDINZ-funded project run in association with the NZDFA Branches is “making the DIFFerence”, and nowhere couldthis be more compellingly demonstrated than at Whiterock Station, a 1300-hectare high country farm located inthe Rangitata Gorge, South Canterbury.Photo: Tony PearseHere, Ross and Sally Stevens are steadily increasing the scaleand efficiency of a mixed deer farming operation on a dry,cold hill property. Their vision is clearly focused on “best fit”policies to achieve a range of financial, environmental andsocial objectives by 2011, taking into account key issues likeclimate, market and workload.There’s a clear split between land types on the farm thatdetermines what they can and can’t do, with 1100 ha of hillcountry largely in tussock, and 200 ha of flatter land thatcan be drilled and sown. There are also significant climaticdifferences around the farm and recently rainfall has beena bit of a “feast or famine” scenario. But Ross Stevens says,“<strong>Deer</strong> are a great fit here. The spring growth flush is good forraising weaners and they’re pretty much all sold by the timethe dry season kicks in. Then we concentrate on building upfeed resources to get through the following winter.”Their management policies are also strongly focused onanimal health and reproductive performance: keeping theirhinds in good order; weaning before the rut (to promotebetter condition and earlier cycling, meaning fewer tailend ‘fluffies’next fawning); covering all the bases withmicroelement supplements like copper and selenium; andkeeping a high stag ratio (especially with the Wapiti).Finishing more animals, earlier, while maximising weanerliveweight gains is another focus. Ross and Sally are alsostrongly tuned to the vagaries of climate, always looking atcause and effect and striving to apply every lesson learned.“Reproductive performance is only just becoming satisfactorynow, and we accept that future gains in that area will beslower. Survival to sale is the next big issue we’re workingon; another question is do we focus on driving stocknumbers up or on returns per dollar spent.”All this strongly influences their strategies and yearroundoperations. Breeding hinds are run mainly on thehill country, where a programme is in place for optimalmanagement of tussock (see sidebar on page 30). On thelower, flatter land the emphasis is on producing late summer,autumn and winter fodder crops and raising weaners forIssue No 36 • <strong>June</strong> <strong>2009</strong> 27

general newsKey deer performance goals atWhiterock• 95% fawning, 70 kg LW weaners• Weaner growth rates:– autumn 300 g/day– winter 100 g/day– spring 400 g/day• Average venison carcass weight 60 kg CWthe venison market. Cattle are also important, but sheepdo it harder on the steeper, poorer country and are beingphased out. In their place, more hinds or cattle are beingstocked and better performance per head of existing stockis being targeted. This has some big implications for feedmanagement, which is continually being improved and testedwith a view to developing a surplus as insurance againsthard times.The transition towards more deer has been a progressive onesince about 2006, when the percentages of total stock unitswere divided almost equally among deer, sheep and cattle.By 2010, the stock profile in SU will be 43% cattle (about 500animals, mostly heifers and breeding cows) and 57% deer –about 1500 hinds (including 600 R1 and R2s) and 500 stags, ofwhich 430 will be R1s. Apart from a few “hiccup” years, thisformula is producing a steady increase in returns and EBIT.All their venison is sold through the Alliance Group, withprime grades finished at 54 kg CW from October to January.The kill profile has been steadily improving, with more stockbeing finished earlier in the season, and progress madetowards maximum weaner liveweight gains. The 2008–09kill totalled 568 head, with prices as high as $519 per headin September and growth rates up to 394 g/day. With clearanimal performance goals [see box] and being tuned to thevagaries of climate and market, Ross and Sally are doingtheir utmost to cover all the bases.Their breeding strategy is to put half the hinds to a terminalWapiti sire and half to a Red stag. In 2008, half the Easternspikers were mated with R2 hinds and then used this year as2-year-olds with MA hinds. An initial comparison of growthrates looks positive but Ross and Sally say they are yet tobecome confident that the Eastern cross hinds will maintaina moderate mature weight and type suitable for their hardhill country. In terms of Focus Farm breeding objectives,there have been some real achievements including increasedfawning percentages but they still have a way to go toachieve daily weight gain targets.Last season, 870 fawns were weaned from 940 hinds to thestag – that’s 92.5%, with a record 93% for the R2 hinds.Weaning weights were slightly down, with the main drop inthe Wapiti cross weaners. This performance drop was dueto an unseasonally dry spring which had more effect thanusual upon the normally wetter, southern end of the farmwhere these hinds were set stocked. At weaning in mid-March the fawns were given oxfendazole drench and theirfirst yersiniosis vaccination. Half of the Wapiti cross stagfawns were given a multimineral injection with Multimin.Ross Stevens (right) and facilitator Nicky Hyslop (second from right) with visitors at the field day. The crop is a summer grazing turnip(Hunter) with an annual ryegrass. Both were drilled via helicopter as a late summer/autumn and winter high-powered strategic supplement.Photo: Tony Pearse28<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>

general newsThe treated group showed a weight gain advantage overthe untreated control group of 11 g/day for the first period(4 March to 1 April), and 10 g/day over the second periodmeasured (1 April to 10 May). Ross said this gap may widenas copper levels decline going into winter.The first treatment was followed four weeks later with asecond yersiniosis vaccination and Cydectin pour-on drench.(See sidebar on this page.) Then at their third weighing allweaners received a Dectomax injection.Flexidine, a long-acting iodine supplement, has been givento half the R2 hinds in a trial being run in conjunction withNoel Beatson of Rural Vets, to test the beneficial effects ofiodine on conception rates and fawn survival.Grass growth over winter provides only about 15% ofwinter feed requirements, so Whiterock depends heavily onsupplementary feed either grown on the farm or brought in.Changes in the mix of stock and further development of thehill country are reducing the need to buy in feed. This is amajor focus for Ross and Sally, together with their facilitatorand farm consultant Nicky Hyslop.“Nicky’s financial analysis, corrected for changes in stocknumbers and price shifts, shows an increasing EBIT trendover the last four years despite a drop in stock numbers. Lesscan be more!” says Ross.The year <strong>2009</strong> has seen their best autumn in years, withexcellent winter crops. “Our feed budget at present lookssignificantly better than in previous years – but so it shouldwithout the ewes. However we will be running more weanerdeer, more hinds and more weaner cattle.”This year’s feed balance shows a healthy surplus of 142tonnes DM over total requirement of 59 tonnes.Visitors tothe open day on 20 May were impressed by a paddock oflush ryegrass mixed with Hunter, a summer grazing turnip.This mixed sowing had been drilled by helicopter as a latesummer/autumn crop, and was just one of numerous wintersupplements including kale, Warrior, autumn rape, straw,baleage and pea vine, and they aim to have one season’sworth of grass silage as a reserve.In a lively presentation and discussion about plant nutrition,Ants Roberts from Ravensdown and David Stevens fromInvermay provided some illuminating background to soiland fertiliser management. (There will be more detail oninteractions between soils and fertilisers at Whiterock in theAugust issue of <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>.)Ross and Sally have a detailed action plan to achieve somefinancial, environmental and social goals. Pasture productiontargets mean monitoring pasture growth rates and spellingone deer block in the autumn to ensure recovery beforewinter. Animal health and performance goals are clear anda constant programme of review and planning is in place.Thorough record keeping is essential and they monitorpasture production, keep detailed stock production andanimal health records. They even have a few modestpersonal and social goals: Sally wants to play more golf;Ross wants a little time to train a horse each year; they wantto make more use of casual farm labour and have an annualholiday off the farm.WHITEROCK FOCUS FARM:Update on drenches, supplementsand faecal egg countsRob Dunbar of Riverside Vet Services stresses theimportance of drenching to a plan. In responseto questions at the Whiterock field day he issuedsome general warnings and reminders aboutdrenching. Some highlights:• White drenches don’t give a 100% kill and haveno persistent activity, so any longer than 28days between drenching weaners is risky.• If you’re dealing with a large number ofanimals you may not get round them all withinthat period so you need something morepersistent.• Some white drenches are less effective thanothers. Look carefully at the label and be awarethat some generics require a higher dosage thansuggested.• Moxidectin pour-ons are pretty good, butresistance is beginning to appear.• With pour-on application it’s extremelyimportant that the animals are clean so it canpenetrate to the skin. Mud or caked-on dirtcan greatly reduce absorption and this is whyinjected drenches are better. However, manyinjectibles are not licensed for use on deer asthe costs of registration are too high.• <strong>Deer</strong> metabolise levamizole (yellow, or cleardrench) very quickly and reduce its efficiency.• Both lungworm and intestinal worms can killdeer quickly, so be sure to drench for both.Failure to drench across the spectrum can justmean favouring the species that are resistant.• Never risk underestimating the animals’bodyweights – weigh them, don’t guess. Withoxfendizole, double-dosing can work better, butbe aware that it has added mineral supplementswhich you don’t want to overdo.• If you’re using faecal egg counts (FECs) to timeyour drenching, don’t rely on them to pick uplungworm because it’s their larvae, not theiregg, that come out in the faeces.• Remember that a low or zero count doesn’talways prove absence of worms, especiallyOstertagia.• Use the Wormwise information resources fromMeat and Wool NZ (see www.wormwise.co.nz)– although designed for sheep and cattle theyhave plenty of useful lessons to apply to deertoo.• A new FEC test is under development which ismuch more sensitive and offers a particularlylarge improvement when it comes to pickingup low counts and determining resistancein the animals. This will be the subject ofpresentations at future Focus Farms events andan article in a future issue of <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>.Issue No 36 • <strong>June</strong> <strong>2009</strong> 29

general newsWHITEROCK FOCUS FARMTussock management experimentUseful lessons on management of pasturelands andtussockland for deer farming are being learned fromexperiments on Whiterock and next door at Waikari Hills.The aim is to discover how to strike a happy mediumbetween the benefits of enhanced pasture production andthe environmental advantages of keeping the tussock.For maximum production it is necessary to spray off thetussocks and oversow with pasture grass and clover, andat Waikari Hills this has been shown to approximatelydouble dry matter production. However, this costsmoney and destroys the valuable cover necessary whenfawning. Preserving the tussocks also offers environmentaladvantages like better water infiltration and retentionbecause they have a much more extensive root networkthan clover and ryegrass. They are also far less affected bydrought than clover and pasture grasses.The compromise solution being tested at Whiterockconsists of an autumn fertiliser application (100 kg ofnitrogen as urea, per hectare) and this has produced atwo-thirds increase in DM production during winter andspring. The experiment was slightly confounded by avery dry summer but David Stevens of Invermay says thisprocess of “kickstarting” the fertility of the soil looks veryencouraging: “It’s all about increasing the nitrogen/carbonratio in the soil so more organic matter can be producedand retained, for animals to recycle through the pasture.Another benefit was that pasture quality in terms ofmetabolisable energy and crude protein was higher in thetrial plots than on the controls.”Applying a highly soluble fertiliser like urea in autumnmight sound counter-intuitive because plant growth isslowing down, not speeding up at that time. In fact verylittle of it is leached in a comparatively low-rainfall regimelike Whiterock hill country. Instead, it gets absorbedby micro-organisms in the soil, which then retain itefficiently in a form that becomes rapidly remobilisedwhen things start warming up again the followingspring. By September/October the result was 64% moregrass than the control plot. “So the nitrogen treatmentis a useful practical compromise between no treatmentand the ‘full monty’ of ploughing and oversowing. Itproduces a marked improvement on hill country like thatat Whiterock.” Leaching is more likely to be a problemin a wetter climate, or after the nitrogen has been cycledthrough animals. “However, since deer urinate whilethey’re walking they don’t concentrate deposits of solublenitrogen the way cows do. To put things in perspective,the level of nitrogen applied at Whiterock is only a quarterthat of urine patches generated by cows.”Work is continuing with another larger trial higher up ona bigger block, and David Stevens says another trial onlower pH soils at Millers Flat is in progress. “Continuingthis work will enable us to explore all fertility options withrespect to phosphorus, nitrogen and other nutrients.”Leg roast of venisonwith herb crustIngredients1 kg piece of cleaned leg meat – topside or inside round1½ cups fresh bread crumbs1 cup fresh herbs: parsley, tarragon, chervil, marjoram,thyme1 egg1 clove crushed garlic1 tsp mustard50 gm of butter or oilSalt and pepperPreparationSear the meat all over in a heavy roasting dish removeany oil residues with a paper towel.For the crust:Blitz herbs, garlic and the breadcrumbs in a foodprocessor. Add the egg and process further. Add a littlewater if needed to form a spreadable paste. Season andapply with a spatula to cover the top of the meat.Roast at 180ºC for 20 minutes, remove and let rest. Slicecarefully across the grain and serve with a selection ofvegetables.30<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>

Venison production shows healthy grossmargins<strong>Deer</strong> production options are now leading current profitable farming choices in <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>.general news<strong>New</strong> figures just released show venison has continued tostrengthen against other farming enterprises as a profitableland use option based on analysis from models developed inSouthland.The best returns for investment on <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> farms are stillfrom finishing purchased weaner deer, but all deer farmingoptions have shown higher returns over the last six months.The promise shown by the deer industry in 2008 is nowdelivering at a time when profitability on many otherenterprises has continued to drop, as the figures demonstrate,reinforcing that deer is a positive land-use choice.DINZ Producer Manager, Tony Pearse, says this shouldbolster deer farmers’ confidence in their industry and itsfuture, and also encourage consolidation and furtheringprudent expansions.“The returns have been consistently improving over thepast two years, and it’s pleasing to see the trading marketbalancing itself with improved returns to breeders sellingweaners, who have struggled for some years.”While that is tempered with caution in a recessionary tradingenvironment, as <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> deer exporter/marketersoutline on pages 9 and 10 of this issue, the industry ishealthy and the long-term feeling is that of optimism.These new figures are an update from the comprehensivegross margin analysis Southland farm consultant GrahamButcher from Rural Solutions prepared last year, whichcompares relative profitability across all major <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>farm enterprises.This on-going undertaking is now producing invaluablebenchmarking data for farmers <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>-wide.Rural Solutions’ analysis has taken into account all of thedirect expenses associated with each enterprise type totruly compare bottom lines and reflect what it costs to growfarmed animals.The deer model was based around the same productionsystems as used in the November 2008 analysis, but withupdated costs. Feedback from farmer groups ensures that thecost and return assumptions used are relevant.Butcher’s in-depth breakdown continues to challengeperceptions about farm investment.While we model a highly optimistic venison finishing scenarioat 25.2 cents per kg dry matter consumed (see graph and tableon next page), summer lamb trading at 21.6 c/kg DM heads allthe more conservative venison production enterprises.The conservative finishing weaner red deer option (at~$8.50 average schedule) is currently returning at 19.6cents/kg DM consumed, although less than the 22.64 centsfigure produced in Butcher’s analysis in November 2008.If the optimistic view is held and peak season venisonmaintains $9.00/kg the margin reaches 25.2 cents/kg DMconsumed in the model. This reflects the <strong>2009</strong> higher cost ofpurchasing weaners (estimated at 53 kg weaner hinds at $5/kg and 56kg weaner stags at $5.30/kg).The returns from Red breeding hinds selling weaners are upfrom 9.15 cents in 2008, to 12.6 cents. Adding a $1,400/haconversion cost changes those returns from 6.43 cents lastyear, to 10.2 cents/kg DM at these weaner prices.Finishing Red weaner deer for the chilled season withconversion costs added in is returning 17.8 cents/kg DMconsumed.All other venison production returns have increased overthe last six months. The high-powered Wapiti terminal sirecrossbreeding and early finishing is currently sitting at 18.8cents/kg/DM, and a breeding/finishing option with Redhinds is now up to 14.4 cents.Red deer velvet returns, based on industry average antlerproduction and an optimistic $72/kg Korean mix average, is17.1 cents, but this falls to 12.1 cents/kg DM consumed at anall-in velvet weighted average price this year at an estimated$61.50/kg (note the velvet model has a strong culling policywith ~50% of gross income from predominately cull 2 and 3year old below average velvetters for chilled season venisonsales).The position of the dairy industry compared to deer is verydifficult to determine at present. While we know about thefall in milk solids payments, we don’t know how far dairyfarmers can go to reduce working costs. It will take severalmonths before we know what the dairy industry will looklike. Butcher has therefore not included a current dairy returnin this analysis.Gross margin analysis for an established dairy was 15.0cents/kg DM at the end of last year, and 11.9 cents for aSouthland dairy conversion.Bull beef, followed by dairy heifer grazing, breeding ewes,hogget grazing and store ewes and breeding cows, and lastlysteer calves are less profitable land-use options.Based on current costs, these returns show deer farming,and in particular purchasing finishing weaners, is veryprofitable at around $5.00/kg when targeting the majorityto be slaughtered in the chilled season prior to the end ofDecember. At a $6.00 weaner price, and specialist earlyfinishing ($9.00/kg average for venison) margins are stillvery healthy in this model at 17.5cents/kg DM consumed.Butcher has reiterated the importance for farmers and theirbank advisers to objectively compare gross margins on alllivestock types to ensure land-use decisions are based onsolid data.“It’s more important now than ever to analyse carefullyand objectively how to make more profit from dry matterproduced. I advise people to take into account debt loadingand how comfortable you are with debt, along withlifestyle preferences rather than basing the decision solelyon gross income.”Issue No 36 • <strong>June</strong> <strong>2009</strong> 31

general newsEnterprisePurchase weaner deer, peak seasonfinishing high scheduleSummer lamb tradingPurchase weaner deer, finishing (aboveaverage)Terminal Sire ( Elk wapiti) Breeding andheavy weight early finishingPurchase weaner deer, finishing, ( aboveaverage) with conversion costsPurchase weaner deer, peak seasonfinishing high weaner priceVelvet herd, red deer (industry averageproduction) $72/kg averageTerminal Sire crossbreeding & early finishingwith conversion costsSouthland dairy (established) (2008/09)Breeding Red hinds, and finishing progenyBreeding Red Hinds, finishing withconversion costsBreeding Red Hinds, selling weanersVelvet herd, red deer (industry averageproduction) @ $61.50/kg averageSouthland dairy, with conversionBreeding ewes [140 percent, 50 percenthogget mating]Breeding Red Hinds, selling weaners withconversion costsDairy cows, winter at 14 kg/$26Bull beef, rearingDairy heifer grazingBreeding ewes [135 percent, no hoggetmating]Hogget grazingBull beef, 100kg purchaseBreeding ewes, store [135 percent, nohogget mating]Breeding cow [calving year 2, sell weaners]Winter lamb tradingBreeding cow, finishingAutumn-purchase steer calvesCents/kg/DM consumed0 5 10 15 20 25 30Table 1: Gross margin analysis based on cents/kg dry matter consumedEnterprisec/kg DMconsumedPurchase weaner deer, peak season finishing25.2(above average) @ 9.00/kg schedule and $5.20kgentry weaner priceSummer lamb trading 21.6Purchase weaner deer, finishing (above average)19.6@ 8.50/kg scheduleTerminal sire (Elk/Wapiti) breeding and heavy18.8weight early finishingPurchase weaner deer, finishing, ( above17.8average) with conversion costsPurchase weaner deer, peak season finishing17.5(above average) @ 9.00/kg schedule and $6.00kgentry weaner priceVelvet herd, Red deer (industry average17.1production)$72/kg averageTerminal sire crossbreeding & early finishing16.8with conversionSouthland dairy (established) (2008/09) 15.0Breeding Red hinds, and finishing progeny 14.4Breeding Red hinds, finishing with conversion12.9costsBreeding Red hinds, selling weaners 12.6Velvet herd, Red deer (industry average12.1production) @ $61.50/kg averageSouthland dairy, with conversion 11.9Breeding ewes [140 percent, 50 percent hogget mating] 10.9Breeding Red hinds, selling weaners with10.5conversion costsDairy cows, winter at 14 kg/$26 10.5Bull beef, rearing 9.9Dairy heifer grazing 9.9Breeding ewes [135 percent, no hogget mating] 9.8Hogget grazing 9.4Bull beef, 100kg purchase 9.0Breeding ewes, store [135 percent, no hogget mating] 8.4Breeding cow [calving year 2, sell weaners] 7.6Winter lamb trading 6.5Breeding cow, finishing 6.4Autumn-purchase steer calves 4.9About the analysisGraham Butcher’s detailed gross margin analysis of sheep, beef, dairyand deer enterprises presents a return based on cents per kilogramof dry matter consumed, an accepted practice for comparing landuses. While it is a relative rather than absolute approach – individualfarms’ costs will differ – it is nonetheless a good guide for profit.Basing his assumptions on standard <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> farm modelsusing Farmax and StockPol, the analysis presents relative profitobjectively, comparing only the direct costs from each of thedifferent production systems. Income is based on current schedules.Costs of management, feeding and animal health that are inherentlythe same are not included in the calculation.This takes into account the current cost of direct expenses on stock,feed, animal health and management, and the capital costs ofimprovements specific to the production system, but not farm loansor drawings. It also gives profits from finishing and from purchasingdeer with no conversion costs, then compares that with conversionfactored in.All of the comparisons are regionally based to ensure benchmarkingis valid, but the conclusions from this Southland analysis can beapplied across <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> farms in general.The analysis is a snapshot based on current returns and expenses, butfarmers also need to examine long-term trends and market volatility.Schedule venison prices received by farmers in this gross marginanalysis are based on an $8.50 AP grade seasonal average forfinishing operations. A $9.00 seasonal average at 54kg averagecarcass weight gives a finishing gross margin high at 25.2.cents/kgDM.Details of the various enterprise analyses will be featured in theAugust <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>.32<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>

July technical conference draws top expertise“The conference offers a very strong focus on directlyimproving productivity through communicating practicalinformation, and also will discuss topical issues like NAITand the review of Pest Management Strategies. For the firsttime, this conference which previously has been aimedat vets, has taken the initiative of getting all stakeholderstogether.”He says that previously, deer research groups held their ownindependent fora but this year the <strong>Deer</strong> Branch of the <strong>New</strong><strong>Zealand</strong> Veterinary Association has drawn them all together.“As a result, over just three days, in one place, the conferencewill span a full range of industry issues and feature some 40expert speakers.”Wider industry issues covered will include technicalreview, focus farms, productivity strategy, emissionstrading, NAIT and traceability. At a more detailed levelgeneral newsIf you’re in the deer business and are serious about getting to grips with the latest developments in animal health, don’tmiss the <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> Technical Conference in Christchurch on 13–15 July. That’s the message from conference organiser,Professor Peter Wilson of Massey University. The conference is to be hosted by the <strong>Deer</strong> Branch of the <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>Veterinary Association in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders.there will be sessions on velvet antler research and issues,leptospirosis, Johne’s disease, tuberculosis, venison supplysystems and genetics and genomics. Of special interestwill be presentations on genetic improvement from <strong>Deer</strong>Improvement and AgResearch.Professor Wilson cites recent progress with leptospirosiscontrol as an example of real benefits that will becommunicated through the conference. “Improvements ofup to 6.4 kg average bodyweight are possible at 12 months.With some herds that’s a return on investment of more thana thousand percent. We want to get messages like that outto farmers as well as vets so they can make informed bestchoices.”For conference registration contact:■■Professor PR Wilson, IVABS, Massey University,Palmerston North, phone 06 356 9099 ext 7619,fax 06 350 5636, email P.R.Wilson@massey.ac.nzRev-up for North Island Velvet CompetitionNorth Island Velvet Competition organisers are hoping that improving velvet prices will boost entries to this year’s eventin Palmerston North.Although it’s not until late November, Wilton Turner, newchairman of the Competition’s organising committee, iswanting to spark renewed interest in the event. It is followedby the national competition a month later.“Competition over the last few years has reflected the‘sluggish’ velvet market, but with demand for velvet likely toboost prices, farmers already seem to be more enthusiasticabout participating locally,” he said.The committee’s hoping for at least 80 entries this year.Turner has judged in the national competition, and is hopingto incorporate some of the features of that into the NorthIsland event. The committee already has plans in the pipelineto promote the competition more, and also to enhance thefunction that follows, including more entertainment andsome sponsorship.Turner’s been involved in competing and in judgingcompetitions for many years, and sees strong benefits fromgetting involved, and for showcasing the best velvet.“The advantage for stud breeders is showing off theiranimals’ capability, but it’s equally good for commercial deerfarmers to benchmark their efforts with others – looking atwhat the winning velvet has in terms of feeding and geneticsfor example and comparing that to what you’re doing. And ofcourse the prize money is also an incentive.”The biggest for drawcard Turner, though, is the socialnetworking that bringing fellow deer farmers togetherprovides. “It’s a great way of sparking people’s enthusiasm aswell as sharing knowledge.”The awards dinner will be held at the Coachman Hotel inPalmerston North on November 28, with the competitionvelvet displayed at Manawatu Cold Storage, Feilding.Hind SalesDo yourresearch@Email: tradedeer@xtra.co.nzWebsite: www.tradedeer.co.nzIssue No 36 • <strong>June</strong> <strong>2009</strong> 33

general newsCOMING EVENTSDate Event Time/Location Contact for further details23 <strong>June</strong> Willow Creek hind sale 1.30 pm, Insignis Park, ChristchurchJuly Love Red <strong>Deer</strong> hind sale Private Treaty 07 332 3647 or 07 332 56083 July Raroa Red <strong>Deer</strong> Stud hind sale 11.30 am, Fergusson Valley Road, RD2, Cambridge John Carter, 07 8278 7853 July Tower Farms hind sale Afternoon – time TBC, Discombe Road, RD3, Hamilton Joe Crowley, 07 823 3309Early July Canterbury Imported Red <strong>Deer</strong> Stud TBC – Cossars Road, Tai Tapu, Christchurch John Bates, 0274 34503113–15 July<strong>Deer</strong> Branch NZVA, <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> TechnicalConferenceMillennium Hotel, ChristchurchPeter Wilson, 06 356 9099 ext. 7619, P.R.Wilson@massey.ac.nz23 July Windermere Red <strong>Deer</strong> Stud hind sale 1.00 pm, Koromatua Road, RD10, Hamilton John Kempthorne, 07 847 480924 July Rodway Park hind sale 11.00 am, 540 Poutakataka Road, RD1, Rotorua Andrew and Rachael Mitchell, 07 333 215124 July Kelly Oaks Red <strong>Deer</strong> hind sale 3.00 pm, 138 Tarukenga Road, RD2, Rotorua Graeme Kelly 027 479 7060July-August Rothesay <strong>Deer</strong> hind sale Private treaty or sale – TBA Donald Greig, 03 302 8777Late July-August Arawata <strong>Deer</strong> Farm hind sale Private treaty or sale – TBA John Somerville, 03 246 9803Late July-August Black Forest Park hind sale 125 Woodside Road, Outram, date/time TBA Trevor Currie, 03 486 11484 August (to beconfirmed)Pre-season Velvet and Venison Seminar10.30-3.00pmOn site at Stanfield’s European Red <strong>Deer</strong> Stud ,Bangor, DarfieldContact Clive Jermy03 317 9167, Malcolm Gilbert, 03 314 5891 orHannah Hsu 04 471 6110 or Tony Pearse DINZ 021 719 0387 August Gloriavale <strong>Deer</strong> Park & Littledale Time and location TBA Mark or Jonathan Christian, 03 738-02249 August NZ Fallow <strong>Deer</strong> Society meeting and AGM10.30 am, Wheogo Downs, 359 Mount StewartHalcombe Road, RD9, Palmerston North11 August Central Regions Focus Farm Field-day Maranoa, Takapau, Central Hawke’s Bay.20 August Peel Forest Estate hind sale Peel Forest Estate Geraldine, time TBA Steve Blanchard, 03 696 385928 AugustCombined South Canterbury/North Otago andCanterbury Branch Focus Farm Field DayNorth Bank and Mountain River Processors, Rakaia.In attendence, Minister of Agriculture, David CarterTheme: Quality Venison Finishing SystemsRSVP Ken Swainson, 06 329-3494, wheogo@xtra.co.nz by6 AugustContact Richard HilsonHawke’s Bay Vet Services, 06 858 6090, 027 275 3943Peter Bradley,027 649 1107,peter@mrbusiness.co.nzLate August Stanfield’s European Red <strong>Deer</strong> Stud hind sale Time and date TBA, 437 Bangor Road, Darfield Clive Jermy, 03 317 916728 November North Island Velvet Competition The Coachman, Palmerston North Wilton Turner, 06 328 4771, wapitiwilt@farmside.co.nz7–9 December National Velvet Competition Ascot Park Hotel, Invercargill Southland Branch, NZDFA, Contact TBASources: Stagline-online; Tradedeer.co.nzObituary:Geof ChristieIt is with much sadness that we note the passing of ourfriend Geof Christie who passed away in April following ashort battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife Cath andtheir three daughters.Geof Christie has a long association with the <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>meat industry. A butcher by trade and qualification, hebecame head of the Christchurch Polytech School of Foodand Hospitality, overseeing the training of hundreds of youngchefs and butchers during his tenure.In 2002, <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> start to make use ofGeof’s talents to teach customers the hows and whys of <strong>New</strong><strong>Zealand</strong> farm-raised venison. Geof worked alongside Germanretail butchers, encouraging them to use <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>venison as more special than beef and pork, and how todisplay chilled venison to best effect. He conducted cookingdemonstrations in European supermarkets and at chef andtrade fairs. And he worked to make sure <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>butchery apprentices in <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> polytechs receiveda thorough understanding of the quality and uses of farmraisedvenison.Geof’s enthusiasm meant everyone enjoyed working withhim. His self-effacing and hard-working manner endearedhim to many on the European trade, who might not otherwisehave taken kindly to being “told what to do” by a kiwi. Geofwas a teacher and friend and he will be sadly missed.34<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>

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