DINZ news in brief 14 February 2019

DINZ news in brief 14 February 2019

Friday, February 15, 2019

No farm environmental plan? We can help: A recent DINZ on-line survey of deer farmers reveals that 40% already have a farm environmental plan (FEP) and 30% aim to put one in place in the next 12 months.
 
DINZ environmental stewardship manager Lindsay Fung says this is great news, but there are another 30% who don’t have a plan on their agenda. He wants to encourage these farmers and those who plan to start one to join one of the environment groups being set up by DINZ under the P2P programme. 
 
“In some regions and catchments a FEP is a legal requirement. But even in regions where they are not yet compulsory it makes sense to find out what the environmental issues are on your farm and to learn how best to manage these in a way that benefits your farm business. Also, fresh water quality is a political hot potato. So taking steps to reduce your environmental impact is good for the reputation of deer farming.”
 
There are between five and eight farms in each Deer Industry Environmental Group, with a paid facilitator and a farmer chair. In the groups farmers work together to improve the management of soil and water on their farms and to complete a FEP that meets their region's requirements.
 
Phil McKenzie, the coordinator of the groups, encourages farmers to get in contact with him so he can direct them to a local group, or organise a new group. The group facilitators are funded by DINZ.
 
“The more enquiries we have from farmers the easier it is to put a group together in a district or region,” McKenzie says. Contact him at phil@changeforgood.co.nz or Tel 0274 997 809.
 
Photo: An aquatic insect larva on a stone in a healthy farm stream
 
Conference, the environment and the Jaguares: This year’s Deer Industry Conference will offer plenty of opportunities for industry players to catch-up with each other, alongside some grunty sessions covering environmental sustainability, P2P initiatives and venison and velvet markets. Environment and trade minister David Parker has been asked to give a keynote address (TBC) and the Biennial 2019 Deer Industry Environmental Awards will be presented.
 
The annual awards dinner will be held on the first night, a Thursday. This will allow for a farewell function to be held on the Friday evening followed by bus transfer to Wellington Stadium to see a late season Super Rugby clash between the Hurricanes and the Argentinian Jaguares.
 
The conference will be held in Wellington from 10.30 am Thursday 16 May to 5 pm Friday 17 May. It will preceded on the Thursday by the NZDFA’s 44th AGM. Look for more details in February Deer Industry News.
 
Make sure overseas visitors are not a biosecurity risk: Autumn is a beautiful time to be on a farm or in the back country. It’s also the season when hunters will be stalking roaring stags. It’s great to share these experiences with visitors, but take every precaution to ensure they don’t pose a threat to the biosecurity of your farm or trophy block.
 
The biggest biosecurity threat to farmed and feral deer in New Zealand is chronic wasting disease (CWD). Its relentless spread is causing great concern to deer farmers, hunters and wildlife officials in the United States and Canada.
 
Anyone who has been on farms or in the back country in CWD-infected countries poses a biosecurity risk to your farm, especially if they have been deer hunting or handling farmed deer there. If they plan to hunt, walk, tramp or camp on your farm, the wisest course of action is to provide them with boots, clothing and equipment that has only ever been used in New Zealand, or to insist that they buy new equipment while they are here. There is no practical way to effectively disinfect gear that has been exposed to CWD.
 
As of January 2019, there were 251 counties in 24 American states, plus three provinces in Canada, with reported CWD in free-ranging cervids. It has also been reported in reindeer and moose in Norway and Finland, and in farmed deer in South Korea. There are no known ways to prevent its spread in wild herds, or to treat infected animals.
 
On infected farms, the only option is to destroy all deer and to depopulate the farm indefinitely.
 
For more information refer to the Exotic disease Deer Fact >>  
 
The map shows locations in the United States where CWD has been found in wild deer, elk and moose. Source: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
 
Gee it’s a GIA: The deer industry has joined Beef+Lamb NZ, Dairy NZ, Pork NZ, the Dairy Companies Association of NZ and the Meat Industry Association in signing the Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response (GIA). In return for agreeing to make a financial contribution to the costs of controlling or eradicating an exotic disease that threatens the deer industry, we get a seat at the table when biosecurity decisions are made that affect our interests.
  
The next biosecurity priority for DINZ will be to work with the government and other sectors on contingency plans for chronic wasting disease (CWD) and foot and mouth disease outbreaks. Of course, effective biosecurity depends on everyone – not just officials – being alert. If you think any animal on your farm could be affected by an unusual disease, call in your vet urgently to have a look, or ring the MPI Biosecurity hotline: freephone 0800 809 966. MPI Biosecurity should also be urgently notified if you notice unusual weeds or pests.
 
Consider 5 in 1 vaccination:  Farmers who have unexplained deaths of otherwise healthy animals in their deer herds may want to consider giving their weaners a 5-in-1 or 10-in-1 vaccine, so they are protected from clostridial diseases.
 
While clostridial diseases have long been implicated in deer deaths, there has been no proof, because of the difficulties associated with lab testing for the bacteria involved.
 
The February edition of Deer Industry News reports on the first confirmed diagnosis of C perfringens (aka pulpy kidney, enterotoxaemia or gas gangrene) in deer. It involved 2-year old stags on a diet of high octane grass, plus a grain supplement. Other clostridial diseases that may infect deer include blackleg, black disease, botulism, malignant oedema and tetanus.
 
DINZ deer health advisor Lorna Humm suggests that farmers who suspect they are having losses due to clostridial diseases should contact their vet to discuss the risks and to work through a cost-benefit analysis specific to their farm.
 
Deer Fact index in Deer Industry News: There will be a Deer Fact subject index and a Deer Fact about the whys and hows of deer health planning enclosed with February Deer Industry News. Please insert the subject index behind the title page at the front of the folder and ‘Deer health planning for welfare and profit’ in the deer health section.
 
P2P manager Innes Moffat says Deer Fact topics now cover most core elements of deer farm management, so there will be fewer new Deer Facts produced in the future.
 
Deer Facts have been well received by farmers, students and people working in service industries. We are continuing to work on new subjects and updating existing subjects, but the pace at which we produce new titles will now slow. As always, we welcome suggestions for topics that haven’t been covered, or helpful tips that we can add as case studies to future reprints.”
 
Young farmer rewarded for his interest in deer:  A young farmer who took part in the DINZ/NZDFA Future Farmers Experience tour in 2018 has had his deer skills recognised at the annual Smedley Station prize-giving. The prize giving, held in December, was attended by more than 200 family and friends of the cadets at the Smedley Station and Cadet Training Farm in Central Hawke’s Bay.
 
Shaun Tahau was awarded the DINZ prize and Brent Norwell Memorial Cup for deer handling and interest in the production of velvet antler. A first-year cadet, he comes from a family farm at Te Haroto, on the Napier-Taupo road. The farm has no deer but Tahau has gained experience by working on a deer farm in the area. 
 
Deer milk wins more headlines: Entrepreneur Graeme Shaw is launching a locally-made, deer milk skincare range to 70 industry buyers and media in Queenstown this month. An Australasian distribution deal for the range will see the products in selected Life and Unichem pharmacies and Farmers stores.
 
According to an article on the NZME website, Shaw has been pioneering mechanised deer milking since 2012, initially for cheese making, on a handful of South Island farms. He's not alone in seeing the industry's potential. Pāmu signed a supply deal in December with a South Korean pharmaceutical company, Yuhan, to provide deer milk for skincare products that Yuhan said would go to market this year. Pāmu has also been providing deer milk to chefs.
 
There are already several deer milk beauty products of unspecified origin available internationally (search Amazon for examples). Shaw believes New Zealand, with the world's largest population of farmed deer, has a unique opportunity to develop a valuable deer milk dairy industry. We should look to value add here, rather than export raw ingredients, he maintains. To read more >>