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Deer Industry News #31 August 2008 - Deer Industry New Zealand

Deer Industry News #31 August 2008 - Deer Industry New Zealand

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ISSN 1176-0753DEER INDUSTRY NEWSIssue 31 • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2008</strong> • Official magazine of <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> and the NZDFACommitment atthe heart ofFocus Farms: p3Also in this issue:• Grand velvet photo competition!• Illegal releases of Sika• Venison feature• Environment award winners• Lowes holding the flag for coproducts• Executive Committee profiles• Sustainable Farming Fund boost for Johne’s work


newsMAF figures may be wide of markA second year of rising schedule prices for venison will see deer farmers receive their best returns in six years whenadjusted for inflation, according to MAF’s latest Situation and Outlook for <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> Agriculture and Forestry(SONZAF) report, released earlier this month.<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>’s deer industry is highly cyclical, the reportnoted. “When prices are low, breeding stock tends to beslaughtered, which puts even more downward pressureon prices. This was the situation between 2004 and 2006,when our main venison market, Germany, had venison inabundance. Currently, with improving prices, the cycle isreversing: slaughter rates are down and venison supplies aretight.”MAF predicts prices for <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> venison in Europe willremain strong as supply, especially from <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>, isconstricted. An assumed depreciation of the <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>dollar implies further increases in venison schedule prices.The SONZAF report says venison export revenue fell slightlyfrom last year’s high to $256 million for the year ended 31March <strong>2008</strong>. Export volumes for the same period dropped 17percent to 21,000 tonnes.“Strong venison prices and a depreciating <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>dollar will contribute to better export earnings for the yearending 31 March 2009. Venison export volumes are forecastto decrease slightly due to fewer deer available for slaughter,”the report says.DINZ Chief Executive Mark O’Connor takes issue with theforecast schedule price in MAF’s report (see Table 1).“The venison schedule price in MAF’s report appearsconservative and DINZ is concerned that it sends an incorrectmessage that underestimates future profitability for the <strong>New</strong><strong>Zealand</strong> deer industry,” he says.export volumes are likely to be lower than the SONZAFreport suggests.”Venison schedule price –AP Stag 1 (cents/kg)ActualForecast2005 2006 2007 <strong>2008</strong> 2009 2010 2011 2012429 413 513 649 702 670 626 603Velvet pool price 2 ($/kg) 44 47 95 75 74 79 85 90Venison export volume 2 25 27 25 21 20 21 23 24(000 tonnes)Venison value 2 ($ mil) 199 213 260 256 292 314 345 381Table 1: Velvet and venison export prices, volumes and value,2005–2012Notes: (1) Year to 30 June. <strong>2008</strong> figure is estimated.(2) Year to31 March.Sources Statistics <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>, Agri-Fax and MAF.The report says the total deer herd has shrunk to a 9-yearlow, 26 percent below its peak in 2004.“As at 30 June 2007, 58 000 fewer deer were mated than theprevious year. This will mean a further decline in the numberof fawns born in <strong>2008</strong>. However, breeding hind numbers areexpected to rebuild gradually from <strong>2008</strong> in response to higherschedule prices.“Production is forecast to drop for the year ending 30 June2009 as fewer deer are slaughtered and herds … rebuilt.”IMPORTANT NOTICE TO VELVET FARMERS:Mark is also concerned that the report appears to overstatelikely export volumes. “DINZ models would indicate thatWanted: Team LeaderFor a young enthusiastic team, focused on venison andantler production.The position involves the day-to-day decision making on a15,000 s.u. hill and high country deer and cattle property,consistently performing in the very top percentile of theindustry.We offer excellent genetics, a high standard of handlingfacilities and ancillary equipment to match the progressivenature of the operation.If you have a desire to work in the scenic South Island highcountry and need a fresh challenge we would like to hearfrom you.Contact: Donald WhyteMount Possession StationRD1Ashburton03-303 9842dwhyte@clear.net.nzColin Stevenson, Company Director,Ph 07 872 2543, Fax 07 872 2546, Mob 0274 752 440, email ck.nz@xtra.co.nzCK IMPORT EXPORT CO (NZ) LTDare now offering competitive prices for <strong>Deer</strong> Velvet – All grades,Elk/Wapiti & Red, Cast Buttons & Hard Antler. (Farm collectionand payment on the spot)Please Contact:Phone Mobile FaxNORTH ISLAND:Don Bennett (Rotorua) 03 693 7221 0274 955 007 03 693 7241Barry MacIntosh (Waikato) 07 824 1868 0274 721 974 07 824 1868Neil Mercer (Pahiatua) 06 376 7035 0274 476 600 06 376 7044Stuart Gudsell (Te Awamutu) 07 871 4154 021 951 737 07 871 5485Colin Graham (Taumarunui) 07 896 8687 027 200 0172 07 896 8687Noel Cudby (Waikanae) 04 293 7260 0274 444 620 04 293 7261SOUTH ISLAND:Kelly Bennett (Geraldine) 03 692 2982 0274 324 215 03 692 2759Owen Grooby (Motueka,Kaikoura & Nth Canterbury)03 526 8885 0274 322 743 03 526 8885Dave Hughes (Te Anau) 03 249 7581 0274 344 016 03 249 75894<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>


newsGrand VelvetPhotoCompetition:Now open!The search is on for some stunningnew photos of <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> deervelvet in its full, majestic glory touse in velvet promotional materialoverseas.Photo: Chris PetersenPhoto: Dave Lawrence<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> is running a photographic award,offering $1,000 in prizes, looking for images of antler at anystage of growth and surrounded by stunning scenery.The impetus for the competition came from constructivefeedback at the <strong>2008</strong> <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> Conference, that picturesof velvet used in promotional material could be improved.This is a great chance for both budding and experiencedphotographers to contribute to the future of their industry– and to be proud when they see their picture(s) used forglobal velvet promotion.The competition is open now and closes on 30 Novemberthis year.To make the competition serious but fun and rewarding DINZis offering a $1,000 total prize pool – a grand package forgrand velvet photos! The prizes are:• $600.00 first place• $250.00 second place• $150.00 third placeThe judges will be looking for either antler at its later stageof growth or young antler with various backgrounds, butparticularly:• scenic backgrounds• cold, snowy backgrounds• mountainous backgrounds.Also preferred are:• minimal fences, farm buildings or equipment• no ‘cute’ shots• good environments, e.g. shade, shelter, no land damageIn all cases the picture should include the full stag or mob.The photo should be of high resolution and portray perfectantler. No digital manipulation of the photo content orcomposition should be attempted.Please include with the entry the name of the photographer,location and date the photo was taken. By entering thecompetition, you acknowledge that DINZ has the rightto use any of the images, with appropriate credits oracknowledgements, or to supply them to a third party fortheir use in promotional material.Photos that have already been published are not eligible forentry.The competition will close on 30 November and resultsannounced in December’s <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>.Entries can be sent• on disk to:Rhys Griffiths<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>PO Box 10-702Wellington 6143• or emailed to:rhys.griffiths@deernz.org (but please beware of largefile sizes).For further details or any questions, please phone RhysGriffiths on 04 471 6112.• Many thanks to Chris Petersen and Dave Lawrence forthe photos published in this article, good examples ofthe types of images that DINZ is looking for.Issue No 31 • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2008</strong> 5


general newsDNA analysis next step for faster genetic gain?<strong>Deer</strong> Improvement hosted a large group of post-conference visitors at its Balfour Research farm during May, where theywere taken on a quick tour of the property by bus, followed by a presentation from director Peter Gatley and geneticistJake Chardon.Peter told guests <strong>Deer</strong> Improvement was formed becausebreeders had made big progress with antler genetics, buthad not utilised the tools necessary to drive genetic gain invenison production.He said Livestock Improvement saw an opportunity to applytechnologies that had worked so well for dairying. Theseincluded multi-herd progeny testing, breeding values, embryotransfer, DNA testing and artificial insemination. “The ‘100kgweaner’ target is already established and supported byDINZ and has now been proven by a number of commercialfarmers to be a realistic goal offering huge benefits.”Snapshot weights were not enough – breeding values wereessential to measure true genetic merit, he said. In their owntesting, <strong>Deer</strong> Improvement takes six weight readings duringan animal’s first year. <strong>Deer</strong>Select was to be congratulated forthe progress already achieved, Peter said, “but it needs moredata from more herds to achieve its potential”.Yearling hinds at Balfour: average weight 97 kg, 29 October.“AI was never envisaged as a mass production tool for deer –rather it was a tool for getting good genes out there quickly.Most of the pregnancies will still be created by stags, butincreasingly the stags will be sired by AI.”He said genetic gains on farms using AI would always bebehind what <strong>Deer</strong> Improvement achieved but, importantly,they would make the same annual rate of geneticimprovement.A new development in the dairy business was use of DNA,not just to confirm parentage but to reveal genetic worth,even before the sire was old enough to produce semen.“It’s without doubt the biggest development in geneticssince AI, and it’s happening this year. We’ll do half amillion inseminations this spring based on this technology.Each animal’s DNA contains 3 billion base pairs and we’veidentified 50,000 that account for most of the geneticvariation. It used to cost us $2.50 for each one of these50,000 separate pieces of genetic information but this costhas dropped to less than a cent. That’s happened in the lastfive years, and it’ll happen in deer too.”Genetic gain permanent andcumulative<strong>Deer</strong> Improvement geneticist, Jake Chardon, said geneticscan intimidate some people because of the science involved.Also, it took a little while before you could see the resultsof genetic improvement. Because genetic gain is permanentand cumulative, the figures are compelling: over the past 25years, more than half of the productivity gains in dairyingcame from genetics alone.He said <strong>Deer</strong> Improvement had applied intense selectionpressure with a short generation interval, selecting a smallelite group of top performers from a large population. It wasimportant that the progeny testing was done over a rangeof herds so that effects of management practices and localenvironment could be separated from genetic effects.6A large crowd took the opportunity to visit <strong>Deer</strong> Improvement’sBalfour research farm following the <strong>2008</strong> <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong>Conference.Factors such as birth dates of progeny should also becalibrated so comparisons could be meaningful.Jake said they initially purchased 20 stags and a further 15the following year. These were put across 1,200 hinds fromfive herds. From these, they selected the top five percent ofhind progeny from each of the herds and bred them withthe top one percent of the spikers they’d bred. Using embryotransfer they produce hundreds of progeny annually from thisprogramme, and this forms the basis of the elite herd nowestablished at the Balfour isolation block. The hind nucleuswill grow to more than 1,000 animals in the next severalyears and this was important to provide genetic variation andselection intensity.In conclusion, Jake said that by using the AI programme,farmers could breed their own high-BV stags. This was verycost efficient and offered the opportunity to operate a closedherd to mitigate disease risk associated with brought-inanimals.In answer to a question from the floor, Peter Gatley said itwas possible to breed for temperament, but it required largedatasets. “It’s a prize worth pursuing. It’s worth havinganimals that are easier to handle and waste less energy. It’sheritable, but you need the right measures.” He said goodtemperament had been successfully bred into the nationaldairy herd. “You don’t need leg ropes in dairy sheds now –not even for heifers.”<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>


general newsObituary: James InnesFormer McKenzie Country deer farmer and live deer capture pioneer James Innes was killed in a helicopter crash in lateJuly in the United States.James was the former owner of Haldon Station, a propertythat was bought by the Innes family in 1919. James took overthe operation of the farm in the 1970s, running the farm untilhe sold up and moved to the United States at the beginningof the 1990s.He worked in insurance in the United States, but retained astrong involvement in flying helicopters for animal capture,and had established a business live-capturing wildlife.James’s initiatives in the areas of genetic developmentand land improvement helped to make Haldon Station thesuccessful sheep, cattle and deer farm it is today under theownership of Hans and Jenny Klisser.During James’s deer farming days, his biggest contribution tothe wider deer farming industry was his work in live capture.Paddy Boyd worked closely with James for ten years as farmmanager at Haldon Station and remains farm manager thereto this day.“He was involved in bulldogging, darting, net guns, skid guns.He was there right through those stages,” Paddy says, and it is“without a doubt” that James’s work had an important impactin the early days of the <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> deer industry.“There wouldn’t be many guys in the earlier years of thedeer industry who wouldn’t have been involved with Jamesin some way – either buying deer or setting up their deerfarms with advice from him. He was very much part of thepioneer years.“James was a real entrepreneur, there’s no doubt about that.He never looked back. He had a good attitude to life and justalways looked forward.”Returning from a fishing trip when the tragedy struck, James(59) and son Andrew (30) died when the Hughes 500Dhelicopter they were flying crashed shortly after refuelling atCarbon County airport in Utah, United States.Sadly, the Innes family has previously lost two other familymembers in aviation accidents. James’s brother David waskilled in the 1970s while working on an airstrip at the GoreAero Club, and his oldest son Dan was killed in a helicoptercrash in Mexico a decade ago.DINZ and NZDFA extend their sympathies to friends andfamily of James and Andrew.AHB shelves Testing EquivalenceProgramme proposalThe Animal Health Board (AHB) has decided not to go ahead with the proposed Testing Equivalence Programme (TEP)within surveillance areas. Random sample testing will be retained.The programme had been designed as an alternative towhole-herd testing, and would have been available tobreeding herd owners in three-yearly testing surveillanceareas.In a letter to <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>, AHB OperationsManager Keith Lewis said the decision not to proceed withthe proposed TEP was based on feedback and issues raisedduring consultation with potentially affected farmers. Specificpoints included:• Bovine Tb is now less prevalent than it was at its peakin 1998, and numbers of infected herds are at a 30-yearlow.• There is little evidence that continued sample testingis a risk to the National Pest Management Strategy(NPMS), and random sample testing will be retained atleast until the Strategy is reviewed in 2009.• The upcoming Strategy review will include considerationof, and consultation on continuing with sample testingor a simplified TEP such as slaughter monitoring andaudits on closed herds.• Given that the policy is to continue with sample testing,applying a complex TEP as an alternative to whole-herdtesting cannot be justified. Its restrictiveness is unlikelyto be attractive to farmers.Keith Lewis said the AHB appreciated the feedback ithad received on the TEP proposal, and looked forward tocontinued interest and input from the industry on the NPMSreview process.Equity shareopportunity in HB deerfarming venture0274 535 838ldfl@xtra.co.nz8<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>


general newsIllegal releases:keep your eyespeeled!Reports of Sika deer sighted well outside theircentral North Island range have prompted a callfor vigilance to ensure illegally released animalsare not going to re-introduce Tb into clearareas.The Animal Health Board’s Regional Coordinator forthe Southern North Island, Terry Hynes says Sikahave been spotted in the Wairarapa, Port Waikatoand South Auckland. While only isolated animalshave been seen, Terry says he understands a groupof animals was illegally released in the Waikato.“Tb remains a problem in the central North Islandand it would be tragic if the disease was spreadback into clear areas through illegal releases likethese,” he says.Two North Island farms are currently running Sikadeer under permit.Terry says a group of 200 Fallow released illegallyin Taranaki last year has proven a major headache for theAHB and DOC. Fortunately no cases of Tb as a result of therelease had been reported to date. So far only about one-thirdof the animals have been tracked down and shot. “It’s clearfrom the eartag holes and signs of cut velvet that these werefarmed animals,” Terry says.“It’s a popular misconception that Fallow deer don’t spreadTb. They do. There have been a number of infected Fallowherds, and a few years ago the disease was spread toSika like this stag have been spotted out of their feral range atseveral North Island locations.Canterbury when some Fallow were moved from a parkin the northern North Island. DNA typing of the Tb strainproved what had happened.”Farmers can help protect the gains that have been made in thefight against Tb by reporting any sightings of wild deer outsidetheir normal range and resisting the temptation to sell animalswhich may end up being illegally released, Terry says.Down to zero in North Island – but don’t let upthe pressure!There’s some good news about the battle against bovine Tb, and a word of caution, from the Animal Health Board (AHB).First the good news: as of this month, the number ofinfected deer herds in the North Island has dropped to zerofor the first time since reliable records began in 1987. Thelast known infected herd was in Hawke’s Bay. In the SouthIsland, meanwhile, the number of infected herds remainsat 15.Terry Hynes, AHB Regional Coordinator for the SouthernNorth Island, says the milestone is a satisfying one, and allthose involved in the fight against Tb can take some pridein the achievement. But he has a word of caution aboutmaintaining the pressure on Tb, and it’s all about keepingaccurate records.“Over the past four or five years many deer farmers havebeen exiting the industry – or stating their intentions to do so.“We believe that in a number of cases people planning toleave the industry have actually retained some deer. Theseherds may have disappeared off our system and so therecould be a number of unregistered animals out there.”Terry says anyone with deer who has not been contacted bythe AHB or their regular Tb tester for the past two or threeyears should get in touch with AHB straight away to clarifytheir situation.“We know a lot of the smaller herd owners have gone out ofthe industry, but there are some who may be keeping a fewhinds or weaners and we need to know where they are.”Likewise, Terry says, anyone who has decided to rejoin theindustry after a break from farming deer should also ensurethey contact the AHB to register their animals.• Pre-movement test and general Tb enquiries:0800 4 TB INFO (0800 482 4636)• Animal identification enquiries:0800 ID SCHEME (0800 437 243)Issue No 31 • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2008</strong> 9


industry newsVENISONFEATUREGerman Chancellorenjoys NZ venisonFederal Chancellor, Angela Merkel, was among a group ofhigh-profile German political figures tasting <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> farmraisedvenison at a summer garden party barbecue for 2,000people in Berlin recently.<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> had been invited to serve venison andengaged guest Chef Thomas Prehl. DINZ Chief Executive, MarkO’Connor, was delighted to see <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> venison at this event.“We target the upper end of the food-buying public in Germany, andto see the German Chancellor enjoying <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> venison at asummer barbecue will help promote the positive, modern attributesof our excellent product.”This was one of a series of tasting opportunities organisedto increase German consumers’ awareness of the quality andavailability of <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> farm-raised venison. Around half of thevenison eaten in Germany comes from <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> and most issold through traditional restaurants, where the country of origin isnot mentioned on the menu.<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> venison marketing companies have been morefocused lately on selling <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> venison through Germansupermarkets, communicating the delicious taste, natural tendernessand healthy attributes of farm-raised venison (see ‘Survey confirmspositive results from in-store tastings’ on page 14 of this issue.)German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel wasimpressed by chef Thomas Prehl’s <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> venison.Venison competitionbrings Fuge family to<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>A German family will enjoy a summer holiday <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> inJanuary 2009, having won the trip in a <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> venisoncompetition run by <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> and Germanretailer, Citti.The Fuge family were among tens of thousands of Citti customerswho entered a competition to win return flights to <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>,during a Citti venison promotion week in October last year.Citti is a large seller of <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> venison and activelypromotes <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> venison to its retail and food servicecustomers.DINZ will be assisting the winners with some of their travelarrangements and hopes to get them to visit one or two deerfarms during their stay.Citti company executives flank the winners ofthe 2007 Citti <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> Venison prize offlights for two to <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>.10<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>


VENISONFEATUREindustry newsNZ Venison on display atChicago Show<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> venison featured on the <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>Stand at the <strong>2008</strong> National Restaurant Association (NRA)Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago in May.The NRA is the biggest food service industry trade show inthe United States each year and gives exhibitors the chanceto present products to the thousands of chefs and food andbeverage managers who come through the show.DINZ hosted a “Cervena® Panel” on a <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> pavilionalongside other food and beverage exporters. The stand wasused to display product information and as a point of contactfor interested buyers.As a stand participant, venison was included in <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) activities to promote <strong>New</strong><strong>Zealand</strong> food and beverages in their ancillary activities to thetrade stand. These included:• two venison cooking and tasting demonstrations per dayon the <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> stand• information in the special menus for the VIPs invited byNZTE to a separate dining and demonstration area onthe stand• information in all press and publicity materialdistributed by NZTE at and following the show• featuring on the menu for the NZTE trade show functionin Chicago• information in a package of goods promoted to chainrestaurants by NZTE as part of its food service channeldevelopment programme.Young butchers get hands-onexperience of venisonChef and teacher, GeofChristie, has been educatingthe next generation of <strong>New</strong><strong>Zealand</strong>’s butchers aboutthe quality and versatility offarm-raised venison.Geof conducts venisonworkshops on behalf of <strong>Deer</strong><strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> forGeof Christie with a group oftrainees.butchers in the final year of their apprenticeships. Most of theyoung butchers are working in independent outlets rather thanthe bigger retail chains. They are keen to learn and aware thattheir businesses need to offer customers different choices to theproducts packed on meat shelves of the large supermarkets.Venison fits their needs very well. It can provide independentbutchers with a valuable point of difference and allowsthem to give a higher level of service to their customers byproviding cooking tips and serving suggestions.The trainee butchers prepare leg cuts for retail display andthen try their hand at cooking. Geof says trainees who havenever tasted farm-raised venison before are always amazedby its flavour and tenderness.“We’ve got to get these young guys familiar with theproduct and confident in using it,” he says. “Venison is anexpensive meat, so consumers need to trust their butcher’srecommendations. If we’ve got these young guys convinced,that’s half the battle getting more <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>ers to tryvenison.”<strong>New</strong> recipes sent to foodwritersAround 60 food writers around <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> havereceived recipes describing <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> farm-raisedvenison as ‘perfect for any special occasion’.<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> stand at the Chicago show.The pack features a CD of five new recipes with matchingprint-ready photography demonstrating how commonlyavailable retail cuts of venison can be used to create amemorable meal occasion.It is hoped that if publications do not have their ownfood writing staff, they will reproduce the recipes in theirnewspapers and magazines, and that food writers who createtheir own recipes for other publications will be inspired touse venison knowing that it is available from supermarketsand suitable for a wide variety of dishes.Four of the recipes have been analysed by a dietitian, andmore healthy versions created for food writers for healthpublications. Two of these recipes will be demonstrated at the<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> Dietetic Association conference in September.Issue No 31 • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2008</strong> 11


industry newsVENISONFEATURECervena®features on“Rising Stars” menuWood-grilled Cervena venison saddle, served with almond quinoa salad, in asour cherry jus, was on the menu at the Chicago Rising Star Honoree dinner,hosted at the popular Aigre Doux Restaurant and Bakery, one of the top tenrestaurants in Chicago last year.Sponsorship of the four regional Rising Star Honoree dinners is one of Cervena’s mostimportant promotional activities in the United States. These dinners give promotionalexposure and tasting to an influential chef audience, the opportunity for a localdistributor to meet with hard-to-reach chefs, and branded exposure in all eventmaterials and on the internet.The dinners provide recognition to the up-and-coming, highly talented local chefs andsommeliers who are expected to be the high profile culinary talents of the future. TheAwards Dinner is a private event for the Chicago chef and sommelier honorees, andnational event sponsors.The Chicago event was hosted at restaurant Aigre Doux, featuring Executive ChefMohammad Islam’s wood-grilled Cervena venison saddle almond quinoa salad, sourcherry jus.Local distributor European Imports had the pleasure of attending several events inChicago.Star Chefs puts on a series of events in each Rising Star market, and EuropeanImports received free tickets to all events, including a panel discussion featuring thehonorees at a local culinary school on “How to Make It To the Top”, the HonoreesAwards Dinner, a “Rising Star Gala” dine-around event open to the public andfeaturing all the Honorees and a trade-only after party.For more information on this event see: www.starchefs.com/chefs/rising_stars/<strong>2008</strong>/chicago/honorees/index.shtmlTop US chef pushes healthy venisonDINZ arranged for high-profile US chef, Kevin Rathbun to serve Cervena® at anAmerican Heart Association charity dinner in the United States during May. Matchingthe heart-healthy properties of venison to the aims of the American Heart Association,Rathbun (a former Cervena Ambassador) prepared Grilled Cervena with Tomato Gritsand Avocado Vinaigrette for an audience of several hundred at a food and winetasting evening in Washington DC.DINZ will continue to seek opportunities to match chefs with Cervena at highprofile events, and thinks that linking with organizations with a healthy mission isa particularly good way of highlighting venison’s healthy attributes to the culinarycommunity.12<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>


industry newsSurvey confirms positiveresults from in-store tastingsWe know that most German consumers still considervenison has a strong gamey flavour. We know that mostGerman shoppers think venison is too hard to cook andwe know that once we get them to taste <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>farm-raised venison, they change their minds.This is why the main focus of DINZ promotion in Germanyover the last two years has been conducting in-store tastings.We know from experience that sales shoot up over the weekof the promotion, and then trail off in subsequent weeks asthe product is less visible to consumers.But we wanted to ascertain just what sort of impact ourin-store tastings are having with supermarket shoppers inGermany.Therefore, over the course of the sales period fromSeptember 2007 to March <strong>2008</strong>, <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>commissioned a research agency to conduct interviews withpeople as they left supermarkets where a <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>venison promotion was underway.Four hundred people were interviewed at supermarketshosting venison promotions, which included tastings, posters,recipes and other point-of-sale material.Over 50 percent of the shoppers had noticed the venisonin-store promotion with tastings, and most of those hadtaken the opportunity to taste the venison. Once tasted, theresponse was exceptionally positive. This is a clear indicationthat in-store promotion offering tastings has a major impactand is a great way to introduce <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> venison toconsumers.This followed through and influenced buying patterns, withnearly one-third of all who sampled it buying some venisonstraight away, and also taking brochures of recipes andcooking tips with them.Of the 143 surveyed who indicated they were likely to buyand cook venison in the future, the reasons given included:• it tastes good• it is natural• it is healthy• it is low fat• I like to cook something new• now I have recipes and cooking instructions• it is appropriate for special occasions• preparing and cooking it is quite easy.Around 80 percent of customers who had actually seen thein-store venison promotions correctly remembered <strong>New</strong><strong>Zealand</strong> as the country of origin. In a couple of instances,Australia was incorrectly recalled and in a few others,customers couldn’t recall the country at all.The survey was positive proof that while initially there maybe quite a low awareness among many German shoppersof <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> as a producer of venison, that samplingthe venison through in-store promotions produces positiveresults, in both impressions and sales.Tagine of Venison– a CelebratoryTreatIf you want to celebrate aspecial occasion with friendsor family, try something alittle different to make it amemorable meal. A NorthAfrican tradition, the taginecooks venison to perfection. Try it with diced <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>farm-raised venison, available from most good supermarketsand specialty butchers. This recipes serves 5 – 6.Tagineingredients1kg diced venison30g or two large tbspMoroccan spice rub2 tbsp vegetable oil2 large diced onions2 pinches saffron threads1 tsp Harrissa¼ tsp turmeric4 cloves crushed garlic440g can of chopped andpeeled tomatoes½ cup dried apricots½ cup blanched almonds1 small chopped chillipepper1 tbsp honeyA little lemon zest orpickled lemon rind1 tsp mint1 tsp parsley2 cups meat stockChopped coriander leaves togarnishand cook for a further10 minutes, (this allowssome of the liquid toevaporate and thicken).• Add the coriander leavesand the remainingsaffron.Couscousingredients400g instant couscous3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil1 tsp saltBoiling waterMethod• Put the couscous, oliveoil and salt into a heatproofbowl.• Working quickly, pourenough boiling waterover the couscous tocover it.• Mix well and cover withfoil or plastic wrap.Method• Set aside, covered, for20 – 30 minutes.• Rub the spice rub into • Uncover and fluff up thethe venison and heat couscous with a fork.the vegetable oil in theSprinkle the remainingtagine.saffron into/over the• Brown the meat all over. couscous.• Add the onion and cookuntil clear.• Add 1 pinch of thesaffron and all of theremaining ingredientsexcept the corianderleaves. Cover with lid.To serveServe the tagine on a bedof couscous with any ofthe following suggestedaccompaniments:• Turn down to a low heat • Tomato cucumber saladand simmer for 1 hour on• Thick yoghurtthe stove, checking and• Olivesstirring from time to time.• Once the venison tagine• Dried apricotshas cooked (approx. • Fresh dates1 hour), remove the lid • Grilled eggplant14<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>


<strong>2008</strong><strong>Deer</strong> Farmers’ Environmental AwardsRecognising excellence and innovation on sustainable,environmentally responsible deer farmsPrimary goals ofthe Awards:To recogniseinnovative,sustainable, andprofitable deerfarmers.To recognise that“sustainability is awork in progress”.This year’s deer industry environmentalawards again attracted significantsupport from deer farmers who valueenvironmental sustainability as acornerstone of their business. The NZDFAcongratulate all award winners, and indeedall those who entered their properties inthis year’s competition.All of us who farm deer are aware of thedifficulties and challenges in protecting theenvironment that is a part of everyday deerfarming. We should never underestimatethe value of competitions such as this,which, while showcasing the successes inour industry, also act as an inspirationalmotivator for many of us who read this brochure and attend the winner’s field-day.There is no doubt that today’s consumer, both here and abroad, is makingpurchasing decisions based on increasing environmental awareness. As farmers,we are going to have to do more to demonstrate the environmental sustainabilityof our businesses. The appointment of a Cervena® Ambassador in conjunctionwith this year’s competition is an example of a step in this direction, and we wishLyndon and Millie Matthews success in this role.On behalf of the NZDFA I would like to thank our sponsors and this year’s judges,and take this opportunity to congratulate Grant and Andrea Cochrane on theirsuccess.WJ (Bill) TaylorExecutive Committee Chairman, NZDFAClover King®. Not recommended for bonsai.0800 784 674 | www.s-q.co.nzPrincipal sponsors: <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> and Summit Quinphos Ltd. 15


Totara Hills, Balclutha,South OtagoGrant and Andrea CochraneThree-category award winner“This predominantly deer farm is beingexceptionally well managed, with anexcellent balance between animalproduction and the wider farm environment,with development and sustainabilityobjectives and progress clearly developedand prioritised in a formal plan.”The Cochranes are aiming to create an aesthetically pleasingenvironment.Established riparian margin at Totara Hills.• Premier Award: The Elworthy Environmental Award,sponsored by <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>• Fish and Game <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> Award for excellence inriparian management• NZ Landcare Trust Award for excellence andcommitment to sustainable deer farmingJudges were impressed by “just about everything” on Grantand Andrea Cochrane’s Balclutha farm, Totara Hills, whichreceived three of the <strong>2008</strong> Environmental Award prizes.Riparian: The Cochranes were rewarded for their wellplanned,diversely planted riparian zones, with good use ofdams to trap sediment (18 ponds/sediment traps installed)and good planting in difficult sites, such as lower paddockareas. Judges praised their “well-established riparian fencing[3.6 km of waterways have been fenced] and plantingprogramme, with an impressive mix of natives, exotics andponds, and a clear plan and vision of the work required tocomplete the riparian works on the property”.Landcare: The Cochranes showed a high level ofcommitment to ensuring environmental sustainability,alongside their production targets. “The owners andmanager have a strong focus on protecting the soils, waterquality and biodiversity of the property, which optimisesthe strengths of the property and ensures long termsustainability.” Seventy hectares of native bush has beenfenced off on the hill country.Judges praised the good stock performance at Totara Hills,and the Cochranes’ use of well-researched genetics to meettheir production objectives.Initiative was shown by the Cochranes in marketing theirvenison, both locally at the Otago Farmers’ Market, andinternationally, through new export ventures.The Cochranes’ passion for the deer industry, their energyand good relationship with highly skilled and respectedfarm manager Adam Whaanga were important factors intheir success.To continue improving their winning property, theCochranes will closely monitor water quality, before, duringand after self feeding from their silage area, to avoid soilerosion and run off in this area.Key objectives at Totara Hills:• maintain and improve water quality• protect existing native bush• provide shelter for stock in all paddocks• create an aesthetically pleasing environment.• achieve the above in the most timely mannerwhilst working within the confines of economicsustainability for the farm.Sustainability strategies at TotaraHills include:• stocking densities appropriate to land type and welfareneeds, e.g. low-density grazing during fawning; cattlegrazed at low densities to minimise pugging• integrated grazing to lower need for weed spraying andreduce worm burdens• velvet stag grazing managed to minimise fighting,pacing etc• deer kept in age group mobs to reduce stress• fawns tagged/drenched three weeks before weaning, toreduce stress, pacing• self-feed silage pad to reduce damage to wider areaand reduce environmental cost of making baleage andfeeding out• cropping to help paddocks recover from poor soilstructure, compaction etc; crops kept away fromwaterways, to minimise sediment runoff• N use reduced – now used strategically• nutrient budgeting – has seen fertiliser use drop by 50percent• double-fencing waterways with riparian plantings andgrass buffer• sediment traps – have reduced E. coli and P in water.16 Principal sponsors: <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> and Summit Quinphos Ltd.


Duncan and Company Award forexcellence, innovation and vision in ademanding environmentLyndon and Millie Matthews“Outstanding innovationdeveloping a pasture andmanagement productionsystem in a challengingclimate, while not subjectingland and resources tounsustainable risk.”Puketira <strong>Deer</strong>, Waikari,North CanterburyThis couple’s standout quality was“sheer enthusiasm and enjoymentof their property and managementachievements,” according tothe judges. The Matthews use asimple production system thataccepts climate challenges as partof the production equation, andhave implemented pasture andmanagement solutions in tunewith the productivity and seasonalMillie and LyndonMatthews.drivers of deer and sheep production, while not subjectingland and resources to unsustainable risk.Judges were especially impressed by:• Partnership philosophy• Balanced vision and planning• <strong>Deer</strong> performance and production, planning andsetting and achieving production targets using feed andgenetics in balance to work within the climatic extremes• Holistic overview of entire operation and challenge ofclimate• Lateral view of land capability, land limitations anddeer production demands• Balance in lifestyle and farm demands and highcommunity values• Moisture capture and use of non-traditional species• Knowledge of soils and systems that work in theirenvironment• Stock health and clean pastures.Next steps – key decision points for sustainablemanagement:• Reliance on arrival of rainfall at key times• Ability to feed through lactation• Cost of maintaining the system• Importance of fawn cover in some areas in balancewith pasture management• Further development and retirement of wetland areas• Protection and planting of other ephemeral areas toassist filtration and runoff• Amenity planting in sensitive areas and promotion ofbiodiversity.Firstlight Foods Ltd Award fortotal commitment to sustainability:environmental, farm and socialMike and Chris Stephens“A thinking couple’slifetime of planning andaction, profitable farming,landscape enhancementand commitment to the nextgeneration.”Woodend Farm, Balclutha,South OtagoMike and Chris Stephens received this all-round award fortheir Balclutha farm, Woodend.Shared values and long-term planning between twogenerations – the Stephens’ and farm manager, ChrisBunting – have contributed to the betterment of thefarm. Woodend has a long history of careful, considereddevelopment, with sustainability and property enhancementin mind.Key to their approach is the “obvious dialogue betweenMike and Chris in management and decision making,” thejudges said.Judges described the farm as a varied property, with anexcellent mix of stock, protected bush and plantations,protected waterways and commitment to a balance of nativeand exotic plantings.The Stephens’ integration of farm forestry into their farmingsystem was praised by judges. Adult stock are winteredunder widely spaced trees, leaving the balance of goodgrazing for young stock .The judges wereimpressed by the“balance of life” aspectof Woodend, seen inthe Stephens’ concernfor waterways, actiontaken to improve theenvironment, and alsocommitment to stockhealth and productivity.This idea carries overinto the lives of thefarmers, who plancarefully to ensure agood work-life balance.Adult stock are wintered under thewidely spaced trees. (Inset) MikeStephens (right) and farm managerChris Bunting.Mike has further shown his commitment to the industrythrough Otago NZDFA Branch work and his past work asa deer farming tutor and farm manager at Telford RuralPolytechnic.In the spirit of their commitment to ongoing improvement,Mike and Chris are looking to develop more dams on theirproperty, continue to fence out sensitive areas, and add toexisting tree planting.Principal sponsors: <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> and Summit Quinphos Ltd. 17


NZDFA Award: HighlyCommended for commitmentto continued excellenceHamish and Anna McKayParkhurst Farm, Geraldine, SouthCanterburyAt Parkhurst farm there was an excellent workingrelationship between past and present owners, providingcontinuity in the drive for sustainability. The McKayswere commended for their amenity and shelter planting,integrated with a passion to produce a top deer performanceunit in tune with both environmental and productivitygoals.Judges were especially impressed by:• Planning and implementation of goals and objectives inthree short years.• Research on all aspects of production and property careand willingness to try new things• Established trees and shelter• Self-feed silage pit• Balance of livestock and complementary uses• Use of trees and wooded areas for fawning and theplanned use of council forestry• Fencing and planting of stony piles• Direct drilling• Calculated use of fertiliser• Fencing of water courses• Use of quality genetics to improve efficiency• Self sufficiency in feed supply and harvest• Feeding well.Next steps – key decision points for sustainablemanagement:• Soil care, maintaining the quality and annual needs oftrees for shelter/forestry and amenity• Protecting nearby water race from any runoff from thesilage pit• Document planning and operations through a writtenfarm plan and soil map• Monitoring fawn weights and other deer productiondata• Knowledge of where stream runs to as part of riparianmanagement programme• Fencing and planting remaining native bush areas• Utilising local nurseryman to propagate trees throughcuttings and local seed collection• Protecting trees to add value.Summing upFor the <strong>2008</strong> awards, a record number of eight entrants setuniversally high standards in their delivery of planned,innovative and committed sustainability programmes,encompassing the complete range of riparian, shelter, shade andamenity plantings and soil and landscape management.While some of the properties were challenged by drought anddemanding environments, all demonstrated fine examples ofdeer and other livestock management systems benefiting fromcommitment to sustainability programmes, while operating at highlevels of return from deer enterprises.All entrants showed strong social commitment to their industryand community, leaving the judging panel very impressed.Major features and programmes will be displayed and discussed atfield days on the winning properties, to be held later this year inassociation with the award sponsors.Practical tips from this year’s judging comments:It’s not all about fencing and planting (although that’s a big partof it). Farming sustainably requires:• Good communication, understanding and a shared vision –between owner and manager, partners, generations, formerand new owners.• Balance: good work-life balance is as important in sustainablefarming as it is for stressed city workers. Get that right andyou’ll be better placed to benefit your farm.• A well thought-out and documented plan, shared withothers. Environmental improvements can take years. Successrequires a good plan and willingness to adapt to changingconditions (e.g., climatic, economic challenges).• Willingness to think outside the square, e.g. use of nontraditionalpasture species such as bromes for dry areas,biological controls for weeds like gorse, direct drilling.• A good understanding of your animals’ social behaviours andwelfare needs, e.g., use stock class separation or integrationas appropriate.• Willingness to invest in good genetics to advance economicgoals and free up resources.• Get to know the ecosystem on your land before making bigchanges – identify the at-risk areas; do a biodiversity surveyand identify how you’d like to enhance values.• Use soil mapping, nutrient budgeting and a targetedfertiliser approach.<strong>2008</strong> Awards judging teamNicola McGrouther, Otago Regional CouncilJanet Gregory, Landcare TrustMurray Neutze, 2006 winnerJulia Laming, Environment CanterburyKen Drew, Judge, Ballance Farm Environment AwardsBruce Moynihan, Otago Regional CouncilLindsay Fung, DINZTim Aitken, NZDFAIan Millner, Hawke’s Bay Regional CouncilTony Pearse, DINZFurther informationThe <strong>Deer</strong> Farmers’ Environmental Awards are part of the deerindustry’s environmental awareness programme, and help withthe dissemination of practical knowledge. The awards entrantsdemonstrate the principles found in the industry’s majorinformation resource on environmental matters: The <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong><strong>Deer</strong> Farmers’ Landcare Manual, published in 2004. For furtherinformation on the awards or the Landcare Manual, contact: TonyPearse, DINZ Producer Manager, 04 471 6118 or 021 719 038,tony.pearse@deernz.org18 Principal sponsors: <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> and Summit Quinphos Ltd.


Changing supply challenges aheadfor industryindustry newsThis year, <strong>2008</strong>, continues to provide many challenges for the <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> deer industry. And while a volatileinternational economic environment provides some concerns for marketers of <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> venison, changes within the<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> deer industry are likely to have a bigger impact this year.Rapidly changing internal dynamics include recovering froma drought, prime flat finishing land disappearing under dairyhooves, and reallocation of stock numbers changing venisonsupply patterns.Dynamic, volatile periodJohn Sadler of SDP Marketing can’t remember a moredynamic or volatile time in business. “There is so muchuncertainty out there that it’s extremely difficult to plan for.”He’s not just talking about the venison trade, but the oil pricefluctuations, the emerging presence of China in internationalmarkets and several other factors like record commodityprices that are impacting on general trading conditions.“Venison is a fundamentally sound market but any amountof long-term planning would not help the current situation.We’ve been expecting a trough in the market but the droughthas made it that much worse.”John expects fewer deer coming forward in the spring, and alarger proportion of deer available at other times of the year,meaning a higher proportion of venison will be exportedfrozen in the next few years.<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> is possibly going to have a shortage of animalsfor spring production in the years ahead:• <strong>Deer</strong> don’t grow during winter, but the main salesperiod starts in September.• Northern deer numbers have fallen substantially, flatland is being taken over by dairy farming and dairysupport, so deer are moving back up the hills, and agreater proportion of the national herd is now in theSouth, where they finish later.• This will result in fewer deer to supply the peak Germanchilled market.Chilled trade patterns changingOver recent years, there has been significant growth anddevelopment of <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>’s chilled business outsidethe traditional consumption period, with increasingvolumes being produced and shipped through January-April, and some business in the European summer months,says Silver Fern Farms’ venison marketing manager, KarlBuchanan. However, much of the consumption of venison inEurope remains based around the game season.“As a multi-species processor, we are often able to combineshipments of chilled beef, lamb and venison, to supplyoutside the traditional season when customers may notnecessarily require a shipment of only venison.”While Germany is the largest single market for chilledvenison, substantial quantities of chilled venison is sold intoBelgium, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, the UK andUnited States.“With the downturn indeer numbers and thegrowth of chilled inrecent years, availablefrozen volumes willbe down almost 50percent compared to2005,” he says.“Consequently, frozenmarkets have been verystrong, and this hasshown in prices throughrecent months, especiallywith loin cuts. The gaphas been closed betweenchilled and frozen levels,also aided by a higherproportion of chilled soldthrough the year which has had the effect of lessening theJuly – October premium.“This year with the dry conditions and strong prices, manydeer have come forward to slaughter, and supply is a largeconcern for the coming months. Latest estimates arethat deer numbers for chilled production could be down by30 percent on last year. While we expect that the substantialincreases in price since last year will affect demand, thelower volumes have the potential to under-supply markets,and undo promotional and development work undertaken inrecent years.”Because pH level and hygiene are two of the key factors inobtaining the required shelf-life – and therefore producingthe premium product for which farmers are paid for chilledproduction – quality and cleanliness of the animal isparamount, says Karl. “<strong>Deer</strong> need to be unstressed, in goodcondition and relatively clean.”Chilled season premiums are offered based on marketconditions and prices obtainable at the time. Historicallythese have been sufficient to attract supply of deer throughthis period.“The past summer and autumn have been particularly dry,meaning feed is in short supply, so it costs more to takeanimals through to the chilled season.“To give farmers the information to make decisions, SilverFern Farms issued contracts in late January for the chilledseason, for contact price or schedule, whichever was thehigher,” Karl says.No magic wandKarl Buchanan, Silver Fern Farms:quality is paramount.Invermay’s Geoff Asher says there isn’t a magic wand he canwave to solve a lack of quality deer available early in spring,but he does point out co-operation will be needed betweenIssue No 31 • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2008</strong> 19


industry news/ general newsindividual farmers andthe industry as a whole tosolve it gradually.The loss of finishingground to dairy is onething, he says, but thedrought is having flow-oneffects that will impactdown the line.“The drought has affectedthe state of weaners, butmore importantly manyhinds have been scanningdry. Farmers, quitenaturally, will send thoseto the works, but it maybe advisable to ease off onthis as it is having a realeffect on the number ofprospective breeding stock.“This is a problem for the industry as much as it is anindividual problem. Farmers need to solve the challengesof running effective finishing programmes on hill country,looking at earlier finishing genetics, forage crops anddiffering management techniques to provide suitable animalswhen they are required.”Importance of productivity strategyhighlightedDINZ’s Producer Manager,Tony Pearse says the currentsituation highlights theimportance of the challengeslaid out in the industryproductivity strategy, withthe emphasis on increasingthe numbers of calves bornannually and also the needto grow these heavier andto some extent earlier in thesupply cycle give producersand marketers more options.“That challenge has becomemore demanding as deerfarms on top finishingcountry are replaced byGeoff Asher: don’t rush to cullbreeding hinds that were dry thisyear.Tony Pearse: farmers have anarray of tools available.dairy and cropping land use alternatives. However, deerfarmers have an array of new genetics, with growth rateEBVs and effective lactation and autumn feeding regimes,the advantages of earlier calving with Eastern red deer toconsider alongside current production systems.“<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> is committed to demonstratingthese practical concepts through the Focus Farms andencouraging, by example, better production and productivityon farm. This is part of the industry’s solutions to reducedsupply as market demand genuinely grows based onincreased demand and the repositioning of venison in thechilled and retail sectors.”Mitchells on the move againFive years after upping sticks in the Wairarapa and joiningforces with Bob Atkinson’s Sarnia Park <strong>Deer</strong> Stud at Ngakuruin the Bay of Plenty, Rodway Stud owners Andy and RachaelMitchell are on the move again, in search of a property bigenough to accommodate an expanding stud operation.When the 158 ha property is sold, it will mark the end of thecommercial relationship between the Mitchells and Mauriceand Anne O’Reilly, who co-owned the property. “It’s been afantastic partnership,” Andy says.There are two main drivers for the Mitchells’ move: atrebling of land values since they moved to the Bay of Plentyproperty, and a desire for a larger property with a betterbalance of hill and finishing country. “We’re looking forsomething in the 225 to 350 hectare range,” Andy says.The property went on to the market about a week before<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong> went to press. Andy said the land wasan obvious candidate for dairy grazing, but he had also hadenquiries from a number of deer farmers, including Rodwayclients. The property is fully deer fenced and could also holdappeal for anyone with an interest in game birds, followingthe Mitchells’ extensive wetland development work.The merged Rodway and Sarnia Park operation will remainintact, and is set to expand. The current herd of 400 studhinds will grow by 100, and it’s planned to grow the2-year-old stag mob from the current 120 up to 175 whenthe operation has more room. Rodway also runs about100 velvetting stags and this may also expand if a suitableproperty is found.The Mitchells are currently looking at properties in Hawke’sBay and near Cambridge.Coming events26 <strong>August</strong> <strong>Deer</strong> Improvement meeting: Driving profit with high growth ratedeer. Waipukurau Club, 6.00 pm. Contact Philip Irwin, 027 423 356627 <strong>August</strong> Focus Farm Field day, Ross and Sally Stevens, Whiterock Station,Rangitata Gorge, South Canterbury. Contact Nicky Hyslop,027 474 4149, nicky@mrbusiness.co.nz27 <strong>August</strong> Taihape NZDFA Branch AGM, Otaihape Club, 7.30 pm, TBC. ContactAndrew Peters 06 388 092927 <strong>August</strong> <strong>Deer</strong> Improvement meeting: Driving profit with high growth rate deer.Kingsgate Hotel Palmerston North, 6.00 pm. Contact Philip Irwin,027 423 356627 <strong>August</strong> <strong>Deer</strong> Improvement meeting: Driving profit with high growth ratedeer. Lakeland Hotel, Taupo, 6.00 pm. Contact Philip Irwin,027 423 35663 September NZDFA Executive Committee meeting, Wellington, Contact Bill Taylor03 236 0940 or Tony Pearse 021 719 038 if you have issues you wantraised.14-16 September International Chefs Congress, <strong>New</strong> York. (Canterbury’s LyndonMatthews has been chosen to represent Cervena® at the congress.)29 November North Island Velvet Competition, Hamilton, Contact Rachael Mitchell,07 333 2151, Mob 021 457 7158-10December <strong>2008</strong>National Velvet and Trophy Antler Competition, Ascot Park Hotel,Invercargill. Velvet to be at Ascot Park by 8 December, judging on 9December, Awards Dinner evening of 10 December. Contact JanetHorrell, 03 236 8720.20<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>


industry newsLowes holding the flag for coproductsWhen you look into the driveway of Stan and Arendina Lowe’s place at Pyes Pa, near Tauranga, the modest whitebuilding next to their home barely rates a second glance. But it’s worth a closer look.<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong> visited the Lowes recently for a touraround the licensed processing plant they set up 15 yearsago – and home to one of <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>’s two biggest deercoproduct businesses.Coproducts have always had a relatively low profilecompared with velvet but in terms of export value they’re notfar behind. Statistics <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> estimates for <strong>2008</strong> predicta $14 million return for coproducts, compared with $25.7million for velvet. Just four years ago coproduct exports werefetching only $7 million.Lowe Products is a family business through and through, andthe only Kiwi-owned plant of its type. Stan is a shareholderwith two of his brothers and the three full-time employeesare all family members.He has been involved in deer and coproducts since he wasa teenager in the 1960s. Still an active hunter, Stan says thehandling of products like velvet has come a long way sincethe days he recovered it from shot feral deer, skull and all.While coproducts – pizzles, sinews, tails, blood and calcium– are core business, the Lowes are also processing velvet.Stan says they dry their velvet slowly, taking about threemonths at cool temperatures, rather than the heat-assisteddrying that is often done in half that time. The slowdriedvelvet has a ‘sparkle’ to it, much prized by Koreancustomers, Stan says.Lowe Products is essentially a wholesale business, with anannual turnover of around $2 million. About 30 percent oftheir production is exported, mainly to Canada where thelarge Asian community provides a ready market. Arendinasays they would like to build the export business further,especially into Asia, but says some of the smuggling andshadowy business practices that persist in that region are animpediment for businesses like theirs getting a foothold innew markets.Much of the product they wholesale in <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> isretailed through tourist outlets in Rotorua and Auckland. Retailmargins in this market can be eye-wateringly high. A singlepizzle was bought by an enthusiastic tourist for $1500. “Hewanted to make sure he got the biggest one,” Stan explains.When the tourism market is buoyant, prices for velvetproducts are also very good. Dried product sold wholesale forPizzles drying at Lowe Products’ processing plant.It’s got to be good for you• <strong>Deer</strong> pizzles: healthy male libido and overall vigour.• <strong>Deer</strong> sinews: joint mobility and healthy bones.• <strong>Deer</strong> tails: support the body’s response to stress andpromote healthy kidney function, joint mobility and ahealthy disposition.• <strong>Deer</strong> blood: ensures a healthy intake of iron.• <strong>Deer</strong> calcium: supports bone health, teeth and boneintegrity.• <strong>Deer</strong> velvet: for good blood pressure and circulation,healthy immune system, stamina and joint mobility.• Velvet enriched manuka honey: healthy qualities ofdeer velvet combined with the natural antibacterialqualities of manuka honey.Source: www.cervidor.co.nz22<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>


industry newsPowered by velvet, all theway to BeijingPowered by velvet team member Willy Benson has justcompeted at the Olympics, representing <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> inthe heats of the 4 x 100 freestyle relay. The kiwi teamracked up 11th-fastest time in the heats, in a white-hotcompetition that saw the US team and swim sensationMichael Phelps smash yet another world record.Making the Olympic squad has been the first big step in acarefully thought out campaign for Willy Benson, who wefirst profiled in the December 2007 <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>.Joining the sport as an 11-year-old, he holds four age grouptitles in the 50 and 100-metre freestyle and butterfly, and the15-year male age-group record for the 50-metre butterfly.Currently studying for a Bachelor of Business Studies atMassey’s Albany campus, he is in for a hectic few weeksahead as he shuttles from the Olympics to exams.Willy is the eldest of five siblings in a remarkable sportingfamily.Arendina and Stan Lowe with a selection from their newCervidor range.$600 per kg can retail at up to $2,000 per kg in tourist shopswhen conditions are favourable. One outlet reported turningover $80,000 in one hour. But Stan and Arendina have beenaround the industry long enough to know you can’t dependon the occasional price peaks.They’ve been in for the long haul and know it’s importantto look after the fundamentals right through the productionchain, from sourcing good product to quality control,marketing and distribution.Some Fallow product is taken and all the deer coproductsthey process are from farmed animals. Feral animals justdon’t meet the quality requirements, Stan says. Wapiti tailsare too bony and fatty to make a good product, and theincreasing use of terminal sires is limiting the availability ofgood Red deer tails, he adds.While theirs is still a wholesale business, they arediversifying in an effort to capture some of the excellentvalue available at retail level, where markups can be 600-1000 percent. To that end they’ve launched their own brand,Cervidor, a vehicle for a number of encapsulated products(e.g. deer blood, placenta, calcium, velvet) which aremarketed over the internet.The Lowes are also working hard to develop their exportbusiness, and in partnership with Trade and Enterprise <strong>New</strong><strong>Zealand</strong> have recently published a high-quality suite of multilingualbrochures, profiling their product range.They’re not immune from the turbulence that’s beenbuffeting the deer industry in recent years, and the shrinkingherd is a concern. Nonetheless, with their focus on qualityand value rather than volume, the Lowes are optimistic forthe future and see plenty of upside for coproducts in theyears ahead.Nearly 30 years ago his father Pat Benson became the 11 thperson to conquer Cook Strait. Now he and wife Mary areproudly watching the next generation surge to nationalprominence. Their children’s strength is in the pool, not thechilly waters of the Strait.All five Benson children – Willy (20), Paul (19), Chris (17)and twins Clair and David (16) – have national swimmingtitles to their names. While Willy is leading the familycharge, all five are highly competitive in the sport.Looking ahead, he’stargeting medalcontention at the 2010Delhi CommonwealthGames, and the 2012Olympic Games inLondon. He also hashis eye on the <strong>New</strong><strong>Zealand</strong> 50 and 100-metre freestyle and50-metre butterflyrecords.As a member of theDINZ-sponsoredPowered by velvet.org, Willy is part of anelite group of athletesacross a range of sportsusing velvet as a sportssupplement. “The deervelvet definitely helpswith faster recoveryfrom training andracing,” he confirms.Willy Benson at an earliercompetition.As a first-timeOlympian, WillyBenson is following in big footsteps. Single sculler RobWaddell and triathlete Hamish Carter both used deer velveton their pathway to Olympic glory.Issue No 31 • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2008</strong> 23


Market ReportVenisonAs the first of the large consignments of chilled venison arrive in Europe sellers wait expectantly to see what theconsumer reaction will be to higher prices. Disrupted availability and price increases are causing chefs to delist venisonfrom American menus.Production• For the 12 months ending May <strong>2008</strong>, 632,000 deer hadbeen processed. While this was 10% down from the yearbefore, it was much higher than anticipated. Of this total,56% were hinds, indicating the continued contraction of thenational deer herd.Schedule• At the time of writing, the national average publishedschedule for 55-60kg AP stags sits at $8.35. This was 50%higher than the same time in 2007. The schedule moves upas is normal at this time of year as an increasing proportionof the national kill is exported in higher value chilled form.Currency• At the time of writing the NZD was worth 0.69USD and 0.47Euro, bringing relief to the export sector.Market conditionsEuropeAs the first large shipments of chilled venison arrivein Europe, exporters are waiting to hear how salesto end consumers are progressing. Higher prices for<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> venison through the past year havebeen paid by importers, in an expectation that theycan pass the price increases on to the final consumersin restaurants or supermarkets. But only now asthe game season begins in Europe will we knowif consumers and chefs will still buy venison at thehigher prices.$9.00$8.00$7.00$6.00up with several importers and kitchenware maker Du Pont toprovide a venison tasting station at one of Germany’s busiestconsumer food fairs. Twenty thousand shoppers are expectedto visit over the three days of Eat’n’Style. Alongside tastings atthe stand, they will also be given vouchers to redeem at localsupermarkets.United StatesPreparations continue for two events in September. A seriesof demonstrations to culinary schools under the Pure <strong>New</strong><strong>Zealand</strong> Cuisine banner are planned, alongside <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>lamb, beef and Zespri. And Cervena® will be featuring ina display at the International Chefs Congress in <strong>New</strong> York.Cervena Ambassador Lyndon Matthews and Graham Brownhad a practice run at the recent Institute for Food Science andTechnology conference in Rotorua. Under the title ‘Venison:sustainable and delectable’, they discussed what the <strong>New</strong><strong>Zealand</strong> venison industry and individual farmers do to farm inan environmentally responsible manner, and how this meetsthe demands of the increasingly ethically minded US foodservice industry.WEEKLY AVERAGE SCHEDULE - 60KG AP STAGUnited StatesEconomic turmoil, falling disposable incomes,banking crisis: if the headlines are to be believed,the American economy is in chaos and people havehunkered down for the looming depression. Butpeople continue to eat, they continue to entertainand they continue to pay for quality proteins. Thereare certainly indications that consumers are ‘tradingdown’, choosing the cheaper protein option, orthe slightly less expensive bottle of wine. Top-linefigures of restaurant turnovers are down on previousyears. All food prices have increased in the UnitedStates, meaning the price increases for venison arecomparatively less severe, but we are now hearing ofdedicated fans of <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> venison taking it offtheir menus because it is too expensive.PromotionImpress Your GuestsIn <strong>August</strong> and September, marketing companies willbe pushing the availability of <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> venison inEurope as chilled supplies from <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> arriveand people begin to think about autumnal dishes.<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> venison will have a presence at theEat’n’Style food fair in Hamburg. DINZ has teamed$5.00$4.00$3.00Source: AgrifaxSource: PPCS1 4 7 10 13 16 19 22 25 28 31 34 37 40 43 46 49 52Week2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 <strong>2008</strong> 10 year average€ 6.00€ 5.50€ 5.00€ 4.50€ 4.00€ 3.50€ 3.00€ 2.50MARKET INDICATOR PRICES (BONE IN HAUNCH)€ 2.00May Aug Dec Apr Jul Nov Mar Jun Oct Feb May Sep Jan Apr Jul Dec Mar Jun Aug2003 20042005 2006 2007 <strong>2008</strong>24<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>


VelvetMarket ReportWhile the poor Korean economy coupled with some inventory in China are combining to dampen short-term prospectsfor global deer velvet prices for the start of next season, the longer term picture is better. The reduction of NorthAmerican, Chinese and <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> deer numbers is likely to have a positive impact on producers’ returns, while workcontinues with innovative marketing companies getting positive results in their promotional activity in Asia.Pre season• At the time of writing, Chinese and Korean sources indicatevelvet inventories in excess of 200 frozen tonnes equivalentof predominantly <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> product in China. This maybe overstated. This is reputedly gaining a lot of interest fromKorean buyers. As is usual, there is another 150 tonnes duein over the next couple of months from North America andChina. Chinese farm-gate prices are reported to be aboutUSD43/kg and Canadian prices around USD32/kg.Taiwan• The DINZ executive, Taiwanese <strong>Deer</strong> Farmers’ Association,Taiwan Council of Agriculture and the <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>Commerce and <strong>Industry</strong> Office had their first formal meetingto discuss the opportunity of working together to growoverall velvet sales in Taiwan. This positive meeting laid thefoundation of a possible working group to increase marketopportunities to benefit both Taiwanese and <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>industries.• While in Taiwan, DINZ also met with the Chinese NationalMedical Association which represents around 13,000Chinese medical retail outlets. The association is rolling out aseries of modern flagship stores as a way of attracting newconsumers. They are also looking at sales training and newproduct forms to meet a modern market. <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> deervelvet is featured prominently in the stores visited.• A progressive marketing company in Taiwan is continuing touse active sales techniques to grow its business. This largehealth care company with operations in <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> hasvelvet as its second highest earner and is positioned at thepremium end of the Taiwanese market.Pet supplements• DINZ continues to work with a Hong Kong-based companyincreasing its sales in the Asian pet market. The marketingcompany is working hard with its active sales processof trade shows, advertising, merchandising and websitepromotion.China• As indicated above, at the time of writing there were stocksof deer velvet in China. While some velvet is destined to besold around the Olympic Games (as gifts) some will still makeits way to Korea for the start of the season. Dalian (northernChina) is fast becoming the trading post for deer velvet.• A marketing company which DINZ is working with continuesto have good success with its new initiatives. It is one ofonly two health care companies in China’s largest mailorder catalogue and sold hundreds of units in its first mailout(significantly better than the incumbent organisation’sdebut). As health care products represent 25 percent ofthe catalogue’s sales, the opportunities are significant.The company sends out an array of catalogues every twomonths and the marketing company will feature in these.The marketing organisation also has other initiatives which isincreasing its distributor base.Korea• Korean importers are waitingto see what happens to themarket before committing tolarger volumes. In general,sales are slow as expected thistime of year.• Two innovative marketingcompanies are continuing tohave success in an otherwisedeclining market. DINZcontinues to work with thesecompanies on marketinginitiatives and is developingstrategies for the ensuingseason.• The healthy energy drinkmanufacturer has attained distribution in 30 percent (about6,500) of the country’s 20,000 pharmacies since launchingmid April this year and they have sold in the hundreds ofthousands of sachets. Feedback has been positive and theycontinue to increase distribution. Since this inaugural productwas launched, they have launched another two products (allusing 100 percent pure <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> deer velvet) and haveothers under development. <strong>New</strong> products include:– Potent 30ml vial aimed at the Oriental Medicine Doctor(OMD) dispensary market. Their strategy here is tomodernise the OMD delivery system; and– Capsules and tablets to give depth to their range inpharmacies.• A branded OMD supplier is showing strong <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>imagery in its packaging. Their sales have increased 30percent over the last season and they too have launched aninnovative product aimed at the premium end to displaceRussian sales.Powered by velvet.orgMarketing activity continueswith new brochures andposters to support the salesof the healthy energy drinks.These posters clearly identify<strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> originatedvelvet.• DINZ is proud to introduce another Powered by Velvet.org member, this one with a twist. Barry Macintosh, a deeragent and farmer of deer for over 30 years in the Waikato, isalso an avid race car driver. Barry races in the HSV V8 seriesaround the country and is doing well, with a few recentwins/places under his belt. Barry takes velvet supplementcapsules for stamina and to keep up his concentration levelsup during the lengthy races.• Alpine <strong>Deer</strong> Group entered a team into the North Face Peakto Peak Race from The Remarkables to Coronet Peak SkiArea and came a very credible second place (beaten by only10 seconds). Members take velvet supplements and DINZwas proud they raced under the PBV banner.• Two updates to the team are William Benson’s inclusion inthe NZ Olympic Swimming squad (see separate article onpage 23) and the upcoming Wulong Challenge in China forthe PBV Adventure Racing Team (Rhys Burns, Sonya Clark,Chris Morrisey and George Christison). Good luck!Issue No 31 • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2008</strong> 25


industry newsMARKET TALKIt comes down to branding andexcellent serviceMr Tae Hyung Ryu and Mr Nam Ho Kim: happy with the waytheir business at Omniherb is tracking, particularly with <strong>New</strong><strong>Zealand</strong> deer velvet.In a market that is that is struggling with the worst economic conditions since the crisis in 1997, Omniherb is growing itsvelvet business. Omniherb has increased sales by 30 percent over the past season and is getting geared up for anotherchallenge ahead.Assistant General Manager (Mr Nam Ho Kim) and SalesManager (Mr Tae Hyung Ryu) are adamant their excellentservice and strong technical selling skills are paramount totheir success.“With the oriental medical doctors it comes down to trust,”Kim says. “The information they offer must be accurate andscientifically based.”Mr Kim goes on to say they choose <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> deer velvetbecause of the clean and healthy image of the <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>farming environment, good quality control systems and“A product designed for Emperors”. Omniherb’s Gong-Jin-Dan isattracting a lot of interest among oriental medical doctors.26traceability.“Quite frankly it’s easier to sell Russian velvet antler dueto the general perception of its superiority,” Mr Ryu says.“However, when you explain <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>’s traceabilityand quality control systems, OMD clinics are interested andcome around to <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> velvet. A few of the experts(including doctors) are starting to agree that <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>farms a better product.”Omniherb does not operate in the traditional Jeki Dongmarket. The company is active with a sales force teamdelivering key information and good service. They pridethemselves on honesty, so that when an OMD asks themfor advice, they trust that the information will be unbiasedand won’t always lead to a sale. To ensure they lead thetraditional market with new product forms and delivery,Omniherb works closely with the research department in oneof South Korea’s major universities.Omniherb’s new product, Gong-Jin-Dan, is “a productdesigned for Emperors” says Mr Kim. Each product is madewith edible 14 carrot gold, containing a whopping 3-5grams of deer velvet (35 percent) and packed individually.Currently, OMDs make this product themselves, using themore expensive Russian velvet. Feedback from thesepre-packaged ones has been very positive with good salesanticipated. Each soft candy type product retails forover NZ$40!<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>


stagline supplementNZDFA Executive Committee Profile: Earle Wells<strong>Industry</strong> must not lose critical massThe newest North Island representative to join the NZDFA Executive Committee is Whakatane farmer Earle Wells.After moving to Whakatane from Auckland 18 yearsago, Earle started off dairy grazing, and moved intodeer farming after buying a small block with anexisting deer herd.“I like the animals very much – they’re lovely tofarm.”Earle’s herd “peaked at a couple of hundred”, butafter experiencing some serious flooding, and getting“a little long in the tooth”, Earle says they chose tosimplify and downsize the deer farming operation.As part of that simplification, Earle now focuses onbreeding for finishing only. “We’ve given away thevelvet side of it, and we just finish animals now,” hesays.Of the recent drought, Earle says his property hasbeen relatively fortunate.“We’ve managed to have grass all the way through,so we haven’t fared too badly.”Earle joins the NZDFA Executive Committee at whathe believes is a critical stage for the industry.“Unless we can encourage some new blood into theindustry and see some more animals behind the high fencesagain, I think we’re in trouble to some degree because wecould lose critical mass.“The Executive Committee can only help to make thepathway as easy and smooth as possible, and also helpmitigate or slow down the ever-increasing costs and problemswe’ve been faced with.”Earle Wells: concerned aboutimpacts of government policies ondeer farming.These costs and problems include newgovernment policies such as the NationalAnimal Identification and Tracing scheme(NAIT).“I don’t think the industry is totallyagainst the scheme, but at the momentit doesn’t sit fairly with deer farmers.It’s too costly and, so far, it has beenproven not to work very well on deer. Wedon’t want to be saddled with expensiveequipment that is ineffective.”The other big issue that concerns Earle isthe Government’s climate change policy.“What the Government has come up withis totally unrealistic in terms of cost to thedeer farmer.”Earle looks forward to contributing to thework of the NZDFA Executive Committee,and believes the group will work welltogether.“I’m apprehensive about the amountof work involved, but I feel I’ve gotsomething to offer. Perhaps age is on my side but against meas well. I am in the older age bracket,” he admits.“We’ve all known each other for a while. With Tony Pearseas a very able facilitator and Producer Manager and the linkbetween DINZ and the NZDFA, I think the four of us canpotentially work together quite harmoniously as a committeeand as part of the Selection and Appointments Panel.”NZDFA Executive Committee Profile: Edmund NoonanCall to promote deer farming asviable, profitable, sustainableNo stranger to representing deer farmers, Edmund Noonan is currently “easing into”his new role as a South Island representative on the NZDFA Executive Committee.A member of the NZDFA for around 25 years, Edmund wasChairman of Canterbury Branch for three of these years.In addition to his active involvement with the NZDFA,Edmund has also been part of the Johne’s Research Group asa farmer representative for Canterbury.Since completing a Diploma in Farm Management at LincolnUniversity in the early 1980s, Edmund’s farming career hasseen him involved in many aspects of agriculture.He started off milking, and then spent ten years workingon and managing various North Island farms, all whilemaintaining his NZDFA membership through the CanterburyBranch.“I went to the NorthIsland specificallyfor deer farmingexperience,” he says.Experience gained,in the early 1990sEdmund returned toCanterbury, where hemanaged HeatherleaEdmund Noonan has been a regularcontributor from the floor at deerindustry conferences.<strong>Deer</strong> Park until it was sold last year. There, he farmed forvenison and velvet, breeding replacement hinds, finishingweaner hinds for a neighbouring farm, Highlands, and oftendevelvetting up to 500 of Heatherlea’s stags single handedly.continued on next page...Issue No 31 • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2008</strong> 27


stagline supplementBranch Chairman Profile:Malcolm Gilbert – CanterburyOverlooking the sea in Amberley, North Canterbury is the aptly named Ocean View<strong>Deer</strong>, the farm of the new <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> <strong>Deer</strong> Farmers’ Association Canterbury BranchChairman, Malcolm Gilbert.Winner of the Matuschka Award in 2006, Malcolm waspraised at the time not only for his strong involvement in thelocal community, but also for his work in the battle againstTb (he is Chair of the Canterbury RAHC and represents theDFA on the South Canterbury RAHC).Malcolm started in his new role a couple of months ago, andis standing firm in a region that has been feeling the pressurefrom the dairy boom in recent years. The resulting changeof land use in Canterbury could threaten local deer farming,says Malcolm.“There have been a lot of deer farms that may not havenecessarily gone into dairying, but have perhaps been sold todairy support, so that’s a concern.“That’s something we need to look at – we need to try andpromote the benefits and the values of the deer industry.”The newest Focus Farm at Mendip Hills Station in Parnassushas provided an opportunity for the Branch to do so. “Ouraim would be to use this as an information transfer-typeopportunity and promote the Branch and the NZDFA throughthat avenue.”Currently, Branch membership stands at around 300. “Ithas dropped back in the last couple of years, but it’s still areasonably significant number of deer farmers.”Malcolm himself has been a member of the Canterburybranch since 1985, when his love of deer and deer huntingled him into deer farming.“I’d always beena keen hunter; I’dalways enjoyed andliked the animal.”Malcolm currentlyfarms a mix of Englishand German Reddeer for venison andvelvet on 120 hectaresof rolling limestoneMalcolm Gilbert sees the MendipHills Focus Farm as an opportunity topromote the industry in Canterbury.country at Ocean View <strong>Deer</strong>. Besides deer, Malcolm alsofarms about 100 Boer goats for meat production.The last season at Ocean View has seen mixed blessings,Malcolm says.“Price-wise there has been a bit of an upturn. Weather-wise,it’s been very, very dry.“There’s been enough feed out there and the animals havedone reasonably well. We only started to feed out balage inany amount in June. It hasn’t been a classic season, but it’sbeen a whole lot better than it has been for the last threeyears.”Despite recent drought, land loss to the dairy boom andwidespread concern over velvet, Malcolm is positive andpleased to be embarking on his new role.“I’m quite looking forward to it. It’s a challenge – but it’s onestep at a time at this stage.”Edmund Noonan continued from page 27Edmund says his broad, “get your hands dirty” experiencehas given him a farmer’s point of view. He hopes toprovide a realistic voice for farmers on policies, such as theimplementation of new sustainability and animal traceabilityrequirements.“These are things which are going to have to happen. Butwhat I’m very strong on is that they need to be practicallyorientated. They have to work for the farmers,” he says.“We have to ask, ‘how does it actually relate back to thefarmer who is just trying to make some money and doesn’twant to get too carried away with everything else?’“You’ve got scientists coming up with valuable information,but you’ve got to be able to apply that to your individualfarm,” says Edmund.In keeping with the recent conference theme of ‘PositiveAction’, Edmund is optimistic about the future of deerfarming – but he believes the industry is “at a crossroads”.“We need to promote our industry – that it is a viableindustry, and that it hasn’t completely gone away.”Referring to land loss to dairying in Canterbury, Edmundsays farmers with land suitable for deer farming need to besupported and encouraged to stay in the industry.28“We know that the hill country can run deer profitably, andthat is a logical place for our breeding hinds. The challenge isto encourage those deer farmers to maintain their herds andactually build deer fences. We need to promote the fact thaton the improved hill country, where farms have the ability tofinish animals, that finishing deer is a profitable enterpriseand can easily compete with sheep, beef and dairy grazers.“We don’t want to see our base hind population decreasing;we want to see a nice orderly increase, because our venisonmarkets are there, and we don’t want to short those markets.“This challenge is no more that we’ve had in the past. We’reold enough – we’ve seen it all before.”Edmund is also keen to raise the issue of quality assurance.“Should we be taking the lead, or do we let our processingindustry and our customer requirements drive our qualityassurance requirements?” he asks.He raises the idea of quality assurance in a holistic sense.“That then takes into consideration carbon output andsustainable systems, and gives proof to our wider communitythat the deer industry is in fact a responsible, sustainableagricultural system.”<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>


<strong>New</strong> leadership for Elk and Wapiti Societystagline supplementChange is afoot at the Elk and Wapiti Society, as members welcome a new Secretary and Chairman to lead the charge.Cook in Secretary’s seatTaking up the role of Secretary is Murray Cook. Murrayruns a stud breeding operation with about 180 Elk, Wapiti,and Elk/Wapiti cross animals on around 23 hectares at hislifestyle block in Ashburton.Starting his deer farming career with Red deer, Murray turnedto Elk and Wapiti after struggling to get his Red weaners upto weight.“I’d seen someone else with these Wap-cross things, and theywere monsters, so I decided that just had to be the way.“It was a bit of a learning curve to start with – they are bigand intimidating. But to get the production, you’ve got tostick your neck out, which I did.“They’re pussycats once you get to know them, but boy, dothey kick production along.”Despite his and other Elk and Wapiti farmers’ belief in theproduction value of the breeds, Murray says the biggestchallenge to the Society and its members is the animals’ lackof popularity.“It’s been the same for the last 20 years – we’re sort ofperplexed about why more farmers aren’t using Wapiti bulls.I think it’s the size and the reputation more than anything.”Good management and correct facilities are key to thesuccessful easy handling of the breed, Murray says.“You don’t need flash facilities, just correct facilities tohandle Wapiti bulls. If you’ve got the correct facilities they’rejust like anything else to handle – easy.”Murray says his first challenge as Secretary will be coming toterms with the technical side of the job. While he’s quite athome handling his big Wapiti bulls, office technology is moreintimidating.“I’m way outside my comfort zone –I’ve got to become a lotmore au fait with computers!”But much like his approach to handling Elk and Wapiti,Murray intends to persevere.“Like everything, the more you do the easier it becomes.”Whyte for Chairman’s roleAnother Ashburton-area farmer, Donald Whyte,is the Society’s new Chairman.Like many deer farmers, Donald’s love of deerbegan when he started hunting the animalsyears ago. He now runs a large deer farmingoperation divided between two locations.His high country station at Edendale and theadjoining Mt Possession in the AshburtonGorge have long been in his family, and hefinishes his deer on a 200-hectare block atAlford Forest on the Canterbury Plains, about30 minutes’ drive away.They’re just big pussycats: Murray Cookwith one of his charges.Elk and Wapiti Society Councillors, from left: Tom May, ChrisRussell, Paul Waller, Mike McBride, Murray Cook (seated), TupStirling, Don Whyte, Tracy McLean, Jack Pullar, Tony Pullar, JohnFalconer. Absent: John Bartholomew, Dave Lawrence, GrantMuir, Colin Smith, Max Winders.Like Murray Cook, Donald is a champion of the productionpotential of Elk, Wapiti and their crossbreeds. He also hadthe opportunity to advocate for Elk/Wapiti – and the industrygenerally – when he featured in a recent Country Calendarprogramme.“For venison production targeting the chilled trade, there’snothing that’ll beat an Elk or a Wapiti crossbred.”But like Murray, he also acknowledges the difficulty inraising the popularity of these animals, and getting otherfarmers using them. He cites potential handling and matingdifficulties being a barrier to some farmers taking fulladvantage of the benefits of working with Elk and Wapitianimals.He agrees with Murray that the perception that Elk and Wapitiare difficult to farm boils down to “management issues”.“The biggest challenge for the Society is making our breedthe breed of choice for venison production.”Donald says that because the Elk and Wapiti crossbreedsdeliver a rapid return, getting more venison into the marketearlier, “that gives those guys that use these sires somethingelse to do with their grass later in the season”.Beyond venison production, the future looks promising forfarmers of Elk and Wapiti and the Society, says Donald.“We’re certainly gaining more of a foothold in the trophybusiness as another line for your top-end antler growinganimals. We also run a dedicated Elkand Wapiti velvet pool in conjunctionwith PGG Wrightson, and that’s alwaysled the price in velvet sales.“Both of those provide strong returnsfor those that have Elk and Wapiti.”With Elk and Wapiti Societymembership stable at around 60members, Murray and Donald arehoping to raise awareness of the hugepotential of their animals, and getmore farmers and clients in the widerindustry involved in the Society.Issue No 31 • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2008</strong> 29


esearchJohne’s Leadership rolefor Jaimie GlossopWork in the Johne’s Management Limited (JML) projectis well underway, with the appointment of MasseyUniversity deer scientist Jaimie Glossop to a leadershiprole.Initially the Science Adviser for the project, Jaimie began atwo-year appointment as the Database Manager for JML fromJuly 1.“Essentially my job involves maintaining the database,making sure that it’s as accurate as possible and that wekeep updating the data,” Jaimie says.JML takes a slaughter premise-based diagnostic approach.If any Johne’s disease is detected in slaughter animals atthe works, farmers of infected deer are informed and thisinformation is logged in the nationwide database. JML thengives farmers information and assistance to implementJohne’s management strategies.Technical database maintenance comes from Dan Lynch,project manager of Ovis Management Limited (OML), asuccessful national monitoring programme for sheep measles.Dan ensures database accuracy is maintained, running theJML database in coordination with the OML database.Analysis of the database is coordinated with MasseyUniversity’s epidemiology and research centre, EpiCentre,where Jaimie has been working towards a PhD.The JML project is now close to full establishment, witha nationwide network of Johne’s specialist vets beingimplemented over the next six months.A recent advertisement placed in VetScript magazinecalling for vets to be involved in the project has been moresuccessful than expected, Jaimie says. With around 15responses to this, to add to an existing pool of vets alreadyinvited to the programme, veterinarian enthusiasm has beenstrong.“We’re looking at around 25 to 30 vets,” she says.“The next six months is going to be a real action period.We’ll put together a technical manual for the vets and haveworkshops for them in November.”This network of specialist vets is crucial to the individualfarm management approach of JML – they will help farmersto plan on-farm disease control programmes.“We’ll be able to tell the farmers where their nearestspecialist vet is if they want to set up a managementprogramme for their property, which is what you need to dowith Johne’s disease. You can’t just throw a general plan atJohne’s. It needs to be done on a farm-by-farm basis.”Jaimie says she has been pleased with the positive reactionfrom farmers so far.“We’ve been aware of privacy and confidentiality … therehave been no secrets, no problems. We’ve gone to plenty offarmer groups and spoken to them about the programme andthere’s been no negative feedback at all.”Sustainable Farming Fundboost to Johne’s workThe deer industry’s achievements in the fight to managethe impact of Johne’s disease (JD) will be taken toanother level following a successful application to theSustainable Farming Fund.Johne’s Research Group 2 (JRG2), a successor to the originalJohne’s Research Group (JRG1), has been granted $178,000over two years for a project to enhance the managementof JD in the venison supply chain. This funding will besupported by contributions over two years of $20,000 + GSTeach from <strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>, NZDFA and Johne’sManagement Ltd (JML). A further $8,000 of funding will beprovided through JRG1.The successful application breathes new life into the deerindustry’s response to the challenges caused by JD, andensures that the industry’s $470,000 research investment overthe previous five years will continue to yield benefits. TheSustainable Farming Fund has previously invested $360,000in earlier, highly successful JRG1 projects.While JRG1’s research and extension activities arenow completed, the establishment of JML has seen theinformation feedback for farmers on JD-suspect lesions inslaughter animals starting to take shape. During the first 15months of this surveillance programme, 554 suppliers out ofa total of 2,834 have been identified as having one or moreJD-suspect lesions in venison animals.The new project will build a range of practical supportand advice around the feedback on JD-suspect lesionsthat farmers will receive through JML. The initiative willsupport a network of veterinary, epidemiological and farmerexperience, and make this expertise available to individuals.The technical expertise of newly appointed JML DatabaseManager, Jaimie Glossop (see accompanying article) willbe tapped to develop case studies, present information toindustry gatherings, support the veterinary network andcontribute to a revision of the industry JD Manual, Johne’sDisease: The way forward, first published in 2006.Included among the planned activities are:• Practical JRG Bulletins reporting on farm case studies,farm responses, diagnostic approaches and cost benefitanalyses.• <strong>Industry</strong> presentations (field days, conferences, focusfarm projects etc).• Linkages between the network of experts establishedthrough JRG1 and the new pan-industry JD researchconsortium.• Establishing and servicing the JML specialist advisorynetwork.• Development of a voluntary industry-wide JDclassification scheme.• Develop a detailed HACCP plan to reduce JD bacteria(Mycobacterium paratuberculosis) in the venison supplychain.JRG2 is expected to build on the success of the earlierwork by taking practical solutions to individual farmersdealing with the problem, while contributing to further30<strong>Deer</strong> <strong>Industry</strong> <strong><strong>New</strong>s</strong>


esearchPastoral greenhouse gas research role for Hoskin<strong>Deer</strong> scientist Dr Simone Hoskin has recently moved into a new role at AgResearch, but will be maintaining herconnections with deer-specific research at Massey.As a senior lecturer atMassey University’s Instituteof Veterinary, Animaland Biomedical Sciencesand co-leader of the <strong>Deer</strong>Research Group, Simone’srecent work – and that ofher students – focused onthe impact of different foragecrops on deer production andhealth, deer parasites andthe methane outputs of deercompared to those of otherruminants.Simone now has a teamleader role within the Climate,Land and Environmentsection of the Agricultureand Environment Group atAgResearch Grasslands inPalmerston North.Simone Hoskin: now working ingeneral ruminant nutrition butmaintaining deer links.While the move to AgResearch means more general ruminantnutrition and less deer-specific work for Simone, she iskeeping deer in focus by maintaining her Massey positionone day a week.“I didn’t want to leave the deer industry. One of mymotivations for retaining a part-time role at Massey was to beable to keep doing some deer-specific work.“It’s also a bonus to be able to retain my role at Massey andhave that interface between a Crown research institute andthe university, which is really good for students,” she says.AgResearch’s Climate, Land and Environment section isdivided into rumen microbiology, ruminant greenhouse gasabatement and welfare and behavioural science teams.One new project Simone and colleagues are embarking onis the use of calorimeters to measure ruminant methaneproduction. Animals stay inside these individual perspexchambers for up to three days.“It’s very difficult to measure anything an animal burps orbreathes out, so the most accurate way of doing that is tohave these animals in an enclosed chamber,” says Simone.“You can measure the concentration of gases in the airflowing in and out, so you get a production rate of methane.“Not only can we measure how much gas is being produced,but we can accurately measure how much animals are eating,which is something we can’t do in a grazing situation.”Simone says her research will have the positive side effectof better understanding ruminant nutrition and digestion.In recent decades, research into this area has often beenoverlooked in favour of more “trendy” science, such asgenomics, she says.“Feeding animals hasn’t been considered to be important. It’sassumed that we know all about that, whereas of course wedon’t.“Although the focus of the research is on methane, just beingable to understand better how animals digest grass and howwe can make our animals more efficient is something thatappeals to me,” she says.At present, AgResearch has eight calorimeters for sheep, andis now installing two for cattle.“We should be able to fit deer into the cattle ones – I’mhoping that will happen some time down the track,” saysSimone.“These are new facilities for AgResearch, and they’re uniqueto <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong>.”The group also conducts research around mitigation ofgreenhouse gases, with the main funding coming from thePastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium and FRST.“Obviously, it’s a huge problem that <strong>New</strong> <strong>Zealand</strong> agriculturefaces. Politically and internationally we have to be seen to bedoing something about it. It just so happens that we producea lot of methane relative to other greenhouse gases.“I think it is an issue that we should be seen to beaddressing, even though reducing methane from ruminants isprobably one of the biggest challenges of all the greenhousegases, because it’s a highly evolved natural biological systemthat’s incredibly complex.“Those sort of challenges appeal to me as a scientist.”understanding of the disease and its impact across the wholesupply chain.At the same time, the project will have the benefit ofretaining the input and expertise of the industry’s preeminentresearcher, Jaimie Glossop.JRG2 will be project managed by DINZ Producer ManagerTony Pearse. Others in the project team include:• Adrian Campbell, President of the NZ VeterinaryAssociation’s <strong>Deer</strong> Branch and JRG1 member• Geoff Neilson, Chairman JML• Don Johnson, farmer JRG member• Amanda Bell, farmer, veterinarian and JRG1 member• Peter Aitken, farmer chair of JRG1• Edmund Noonan, Executive Committee NZDFA• Jaimie Glossop, Database Manager, JML.Additional science/technology and extension providers areProfessor Peter Wilson, Massey University and Dr ColinMacintosh, AgResearch, with ongoing input from ProfessorFrank Griffin, Disease Research Laboratory, Otago University,particularly in the area of diagnostics and on-farm solutions.Lindsay Fung, DINZ Science Manager also provides a keylink to the Johne’s Research Consortium.Issue No 31 • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2008</strong> 31

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