DINZ news in brief 18 July 2019

DINZ news in brief 18 July 2019

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Dan Coup moving on: Dan Coup, chief executive of DINZ, has been appointed CEO of the QEII National Trust from 7 October.

DINZ chair Ian Walker says Coup (pictured) has done a great job for the deer industry. “He joined us in 2013, when things were not looking too hot for deer, so he should take some of the credit for the remarkable turn-around in industry confidence that we have seen during his tenure. As CEO he has brought out the best in our managers who are delivering great work on behalf of levy payers.”

Walker says the recruitment of a new chief executive will be managed through an agency. They will report to a DINZ board committee that will interview a short list of candidates.

“We expect quite a lot of interest in the role. The deer industry is seen as being in a positive space at present. Appointment will be open to both internal and external candidates.”

NZDFA chairman John Somerville has been on the association’s executive throughout Coup’s tenure.

“Dan brought a lot of experience with him into the role and very quickly latched onto what the deer industry is all about. He got our primary growth partnership programme Passion 2 Profit up to where we wanted it to go and has made a big contribution to everything we do,” he says.

“As farmers we greatly appreciate his openness to farmer feedback and discussion. He also had a huge ability to remember people. From our point of view he has been excellent. We wish him all the best in his new role, but are sorry to see him go.”

Levy increases proposed: The DINZ Board will be consulting stakeholders on a proposal to increase DINZ levies by 1 cent a kilo for venison (split between farmers and processors) and 5 cents a kilo for velvet. The additional money is needed to fund research, velvet shed audits and the roll-out of the velvet traceability scheme. 

"The DINZ Research Trust – which has used its reserves to fund the industry's research effort for the last 10 or so years – is running out of funds. The important work we are doing on internal parasite control and other subjects now needs to be funded from levy income,” says chair Ian Walker.

"On the velvet front, we need to ramp-up the auditing of deer sheds under the Regulatory Control Scheme to ensure all sheds are compliant before the 2020/21 implementation deadline, when enforcement activity by MPI will begin. Also, there are some significant up-front costs involved in the introduction of new RFID velvet tags and other aspects of the new velvet traceability system. This system is really exciting and should not only protect our current market position but also open new market opportunities.”

Walker says that growth in velvet volume will provide much of the extra levy income needed to fund these investments. That growth has reduced the size of the increase in the velvet levy that would otherwise be required.

Views on the levy uplift proposal, along with other aspects of the draft DINZ 2019/20 budget will be sought from the NZDFA Executive Committee and from representatives of venison and velvet processor/marketers over the next month.

Why 4c/kg for greenhouse gases? Under the government proposal to bring farming into the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme, the Interim Climate Change Committee recommended a processor-level levy be implemented from 2021-2015 and estimated that it would equate to 1 cent/kg for milk solids and beef, 3 c/kg for sheepmeat and 4 c/kg for venison.

For the record, DINZ opposes a processor-level levy and supports an alternative proposal that has been presented by primary sector organisations.

The variation in these estimates reflects differences in efficiency of farming systems. Deer farms typically carry more males (for velvet) for longer periods than other livestock farms. Velvet will not be assessed for its ETS contribution. The lower fertility of hinds, compared with ewes, means more females are carried relative to progeny slaughtered. These progeny are retained longer before slaughter than lambs and their carcase size is proportionately much less that final production weights for cattle.   

After 2025, the proposal is to measure the actual emissions from each individual farm, so these transition figures would no longer apply. On the upside, most deer farms will have a greater ability to offset those emissions with tree planting than the typical intensive dairy farm.

Bye bye cable ties! Starting this season, all velvet will need to be tagged with the self-adhesive wristbands shown below. This is the first step in the roll-out of a new tagging system that will in the future enable velvet to be electronically traced from the marketplace back to the farm. The tags will be supplied by your vet in the usual way.

Farmers are asked to put a new wristband-style tag inside each bag of spiker or regrowth velvet, which may be secured with an old cable tie. Otherwise the ties should no longer be used for tagging velvet.

Information recording requirements are unchanged. When completing the VSD, the tag number is the barcode number. Farmers don’t need to scan for NVSB or VSD purposes. Equipment suppliers will be able to advise on how to scan the barcode and enter it into farm management software against the NAIT ID, for farmers who wish to do this.

Instant fines rolling in: On 1 October last year, the power to impose instant $500 fines was given to MPI vets and animal inspectors to enforce the standards in the Animal Welfare Regulations. Since then 378 instant fines have been levied on drivers and farmers who have not met welfare standards in transport, six of them relating to deer.

DINZ QA manager John Tacon says deer farmers and drivers should be proud of how they are protecting the welfare of deer in transport. “Tens of thousands of deer are transported each year without incident, but we can do better. When deer get injured on the journey or are not in a fit state to be put on a truck in the first place, this does not reflect well on our industry.”

Tacon strongly recommends an excellent MPI smartphone app that clearly explains transport welfare standards. “Fit for Transport can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play. It removes all doubt about what’s OK. Check it out,” he suggests.

He says most of the $500 fines will have been paid by the trucking company, but bosses will have told the drivers not to make the same mistake twice. His message to farmers: “If the truck driver advises you that a deer is unfit to be transported, please don’t argue with them. The driver knows what the standards are and is the one who is usually in the gun if an offence notice is issued by MPI.”