DINZ news in brief 22 July 2020

DINZ news in brief 22 July 2020

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

On-line conference presos on YouTube and podcast: The 2020 Deer Industry Conference – the first to be held in cyberspace – attracted a good audience. Convened as 90-minute sessions on three successive Tuesdays in late June/early July, it covered most of the topics you would expect to hear about at a traditional face-to-face conference. DINZ chief executive Innes Moffat says MC Sarah Perriam did a great job, despite some technical difficulties on the first day and the occasional presenter going into digital freeze mid-sentence.



“Because of Covid we couldn’t have a normal conference this year, but it was still important for us to report to our stakeholders and to respond any questions or concerns they might have. Video-conferencing made this possible, even if it meant learning about the technology as we went along. While it will never replace face-to-face conferences, it’s clear it will be useful for quick meetings and technical sessions in the future,” Moffat says.
 
Perriam says there was a total of 1,128 YouTube views over the three conference sessions, with a peak viewership at any one time of 99. The most popular sessions were Jamie Ward, talking about CARLA; Sarah How and Millie How from the P2P Innovation Group, talking about public perceptions of the deer industry and how they might be influenced; and the venison marketers’ panel.
 
If you didn’t have the time to log-in to the conference sessions, they are available for viewing and listening on YouTube and on podcast.
 
If you have any questions or comments about anything in the sessions, or about other issues relating to deer farming, Moffat encourages you to phone or email the DINZ office. “We are here to serve our stakeholders and always like to hear from you.” Email innes.moffat@deernz.org or phone the DINZ office, 04 473 4500.

Novel Korean market visit great for the NZ velvet brand: Face-to-face meetings between NZ velvet marketers and their major customers is an extremely important part of doing business. This is especially true in our major Asian markets where personal relationships are gold.
 
Because market visits were not possible during the Covid-19 lockdown, DINZ got creative and with help of their market-support contractors based in Korea, hosted a virtual Korean market visit over three consecutive afternoons/evenings in May (see photo).
 
“This was a novel way to reinforce relations with 12 key partners in the food and Oriental medicine sectors, with the bonus that we could involve two of our key managers who don’t usually come on market visits,” says DINZ marketing manager Rhys Griffiths.
 
Science and policy manager Catharine Sayer was able to describe the latest research on NZ velvet composition which reveals the dramatic improvement in quality and its consistency across the industry. Environmental stewardship manager Lindsay Fung, was able to describe the environmental work being undertaken by our farmers. Griffiths says this was a real bonus. “Participants were really heartened that farmers are investing in ensuring their deer will be farmed in an environmentally friendly way for generations to come. This really helps the NZ velvet brand.”

Future deer farmers’ tour applications close today: Are you are a certificate or diploma-level student with the Ag ITO or a training institution? If you are, how about applying to go on the 2020 Future Deer Farmers’ Experience Tour from 3-7 August.

Three keen ag students will be given an up-close look at our special industry on a North Island tour. Over the course of a week you will spend time working with and learning from deer farmers and venison, velvet and co-product marketing companies. The tour culminates at the NZDFA’s 2020 Next Generation workshop. The chosen students will have all transport, meals and accommodation paid for
 
Interested? Then you’ll need to be quick. Applications close today, Wednesday 22 July. 
 
The Future Deer Farmers’ Experience Tour is not open to students studying for a university degree. University degree students have their own tour, the 2020 Big Deer Tour, which runs from Monday 31 August to Friday 4 September. Applications for this close on Wednesday 19 August 2020. Interested? Go to deernz.org/thebigdeertour

Hawkes Bay deer farmer briefing, 5th August: The NZDFA Executive Committee and its Hawkes Bay branch are inviting all Hawkes Bay deer farmers to an informal meeting on Weds 5 August to discuss current industry issues. The meeting will simply be an open floor at which questions or concerns can be raised. The committee will also report on a meeting it recently had with OSPRI.
 
The meeting will be at Hawkes Bay Vet Services, 43 Takapau Road, Waipukurau from 4 – 5.30 pm. Afterwards, the Committee will be having a meal at DaxX restaurant in Waipukurau, to which local deer farmers are invited. If you are interested in coming to the meeting or meal, please RSVP rebecca.norling@deernz.org by Wednesday 29 July so she can confirm numbers for the bookings.
 
This meeting and meal should not be confused with the NZDFA Generation Workshop dinner the following night in Napier, which is open to NZDFA members only. See the next item.

Hawkes Bay NZDFA members – it’s our shout, 6th August: The 2020 NZDFA Next Generation Workshop is being held in Hawkes Bay this year on Thursday 6 and Friday 7 August. On the Thursday evening there will be a dinner function in Napier to which all NZDFA Hawkes Bay members and their partners are invited (2 guests max per farming entity.) The hilarious illusionist/magician Jonathan Usher will entertain you.
 
There is still room for NZDFA Hawkes Bay members who would like to attend the dinner and forget the drought at the NZDFA expense. But please get in quick and register here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HRS2PTD if you have any questions contact rebecca.norling@deernz.org to find out more.

Make your native bush sing: Now is a good time of the year to be planting trees and in many districts, to be fencing. So if you are thinking of fencing off an area of native biodiversity on your farm and protecting it for future generations, you may be interested in ‘Let your native bush sing’, the first in a series of Deer Facts with a biodiversity theme.
 
By protecting and enhancing native biodiversity on our farms, we help protect some of New Zealand’s unique plants and fauna, many of which are threatened or rare. 
 
Areas of healthy native biodiversity – along with amenity and shelter plantings – add to the appeal of a farm and are increasingly valued by buyers of farmland. They also help give substance to the clean green brand values that many of our customers have in mind when they buy our deer products.
 
Biodiversity also provides productive benefits. Deer thrive where there is shelter and shade. Pasture growth is higher where there is wind protection. Beneficial insects, including bees and insect predators, do best where they have access to native vegetation. Healthy and productive soils are full of earthworms and beneficial organisms. Areas that have been retired from grazing can help filter run-off and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
 
This Deer Fact is an overview of what you need to think about when protecting and enhancing existing areas of native biodiversity. Look for your hard copy in the September/October issue of Deer Industry News.  A digital copy can be found here >>

Bigger is not always better: Research by AgResearch scientist Stephen Haines has shown that NZ velvet quality has increased dramatically in the past 30 years. Also it showed that when velvet is cut at the recommended growth stage for Super A, levels of biologically active compounds are at their peak. See our story here >>
 
Colin Stevenson of CK Export (photo) said he expected the velvet quality research to be very beneficial for the marketing of NZ velvet in the long-term. “As manufacturers move further toward making products based on specific polypeptides and amino acids for their potential health benefits, it must give us some grunt in the market.” 
 
So what does this mean for velvet that is cut at the right time, but is “big and ugly”?
 
Responding to this audience question at the 2020 conference, Ross Chambers of Provelco said that while style may not be important to some manufacturers it was still important to traditional buyers. So farmers should continue to focus on breeding for style as well as size, to maximise the market opportunity for their velvet. “Traditional sticks are more versatile – they have more potential buyers.”

Geoff Asher retires: Dr Geoff Asher (pictured) has formally retired from AgResearch after a stellar 40-year career as a deer researcher. Last year he was awarded the industry’s highest honour, the Deer Industry Award. The award citation spoke of his passion for deer, his prodigious science output and for providing practical solutions to deer farming problems and opportunities – all done with a high level of integrity, accompanied by a great sense of humour.
 
His colleagues marked his retirement at a Sykpe event earlier this month for which his successor, Jamie Ward, wrote a recollective poem ‘Ashosauraus’. This reportedly linked Asher’s love of geology with his deer and reproductive work.
 
AgResearch says Asher recently stepped down from his permanent role as part of his phased retirement, but will continue to offer his expertise on an as-required basis. Describing him as a ‘true legend’ for his work with the deer industry, AgResearch external communications manager Jarrod Booker says his contribution was highlighted in this profile, following the presentation of the Deer Industry Award.
 
Deer Industry News editor Phil Stewart hopes to do a more reflective profile of Asher in a future issue of the magazine.

Lincoln deer scientist retires: Associate professor Graham Barrell, a scientist who has done much to build our understanding of the brain mechanisms that regulate the reproductive cycle in deer, sheep and other mammals, has retired from Lincoln University after 44 years.
 
Barrell has a great talent for explaining complex science to people from all backgrounds. During his career, he warmly welcomed deer farmers to field days and visits to Lincoln, where he showed great enthusiasm for extending their knowledge of deer biology and encouraging its application at a farm level.
 
The outcome of his research has primarily been to help advance knowledge of human reproduction using sheep as a biological model, but this work has also contributed to the understanding of livestock biology. Topics he has produced papers on include mammalian reproduction, seasonality, endocrinology, neurodegeneration, deer lactation and antler biology.
 
During his career, Barrell worked closely with the deer research teams at AgResearch and Massey. DINZ and the NZDFA wish him well in his retirement.

Calling rural professionals in the south: DINZ is running another one of its popular introductory Deer Workshops for Rural Professionals on Tuesday 11 August in Balclutha. It is designed for rural bankers, accountants, field representatives and other rural support professionals and staff.  
 
It involves a full day’s immersion in the deer farming industry, with analysis of farm data and presentations on markets, genetics, animal nutrition, environmental management, and the health and management of deer. This will be followed on 12 August by a more specialised forum 'Financials for deer' for those who have attended an introductory day, or have previous knowledge of deer.
 
"The courses are free of charge and include lunch and a tour of the 2019 Silver Fern Farms pasture to plate winner Wistaria Ltd deer farm. For more information or to register at either or both courses, go here >>
 
Wintering barns, sediment traps and more: Yes, it’s all happening in the south during August! The Southland Environment Advance Party is hosting a regional soil and water management field day to share what they have learnt and implemented around environmental management over the last 2 years. Topics will include:

  • Managing soil, water and animal welfare while wintering in crop
  • Advance Party member’s projects: what they have changed on farm, lessons and progress
  • Wetland planting: what to plant, financial impacts and opportunities
  • Wintering barn design, costs vs benefits, Advance Party member experiences

 
The field day is being held at Tony & Michelle Roberts’ property, 432 Glenkenich Road, Maitland, on Thursday, 13 August (1.00 - 4.30 pm). Please bring appropriate warm clothing - the farm tour will be on foot.

Any questions please call group chair John Somerville on 027 447 5437 or facilitator Nicola McGrouther on 027 493 9500. To register >>


The Roberts’ plan for reducing sediment run-off from their farm
 
2021 Nuffield Scholarship applications called for: Up to five $40,000 farming scholarships are on offer for New Zealand farmers, growers and ag professionals engaged, motivated and committed to improve and innovate while solving old and emerging problems in the sector.
 
Successful applicants will: Have 16 weeks of global travel to enhance their global agri-food understanding and networks; develop global insights and produce an industry-focused report that will add value to their business and NZ’s agri-sector; present and lead industry and alumni discussion and debate on report findings and recommendations to encourage and create change and; become a member of the Nuffield NZ & International Alumni to develop the skills and knowledge to promote, support and innovate industry, business and regional developments.
 
DINZ DeerPro manager Solis Norton was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship in 2018. He says it was a life changing opportunity. “I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who wants to stretch their boundaries both in farming and in leadership. The applications are quick and easy to complete. If you’re brave enough to apply and you want to make a difference, then you’ve already got what they’re looking for. Good luck.”
 
It is an opportunity to travel the world with forward thinking people working in agriculture, looking for opportunities and solutions to bring back to New Zealand farming and making great friends along the way. “It has given my confidence a huge boost. I’m happy now to just ‘get in touch’ with all those out there really making a difference and swap thoughts with them about the big challenges facing farming both here in New Zealand and overseas.”
 
Applications close August 23. Inquiries to nuffield@ruralleaders.co.nz