DINZ news in brief 23 November 2020

DINZ news in brief 23 November 2020

Monday, November 23, 2020

VelTrak welcomed by major international customer: A major Korean customer has applauded the deer industry for developing VelTrak, a fully electronic velvet traceability scheme that will be introduced next season.
 
Ashley Chung, the chief marketing officer of Yuhan Care (pictured), has told DINZ that VelTrak will prove that the velvet they buy comes from a farm in New Zealand where food safety and animal welfare are of the highest standards. “Health food is our business, so we have to be 100% certain the velvet we buy is safe and comes from healthy deer.”

DINZ chief executive Innes Moffat welcomes Chung’s comments. He says VelTrak will enable velvet to be rapidly tracked up or down the supply chain in response to a food safety or biosecurity issue. This will enable a farm or consignment to be identified and the risk contained.
 
He says VelTrak will help to lock in the price premium that NZ velvet enjoys over velvet from other countries. While some of those countries have piggy backed on some of New Zealand’s market development work, they will struggle to match the technology that has been developed for VelTrak.
 
“VelTrak is designed to provide customers with proof of integrity. Every step of the way, from farm to market and back again,” says Moffat. “I expect more major customers will welcome news of VelTrak when we start actively talking about it in the marketplace. It’s what the major brand-name companies expect of their raw material suppliers.”

VelTrak allows an overseas customer to confirm that a stick comes from New Zealand and meets all our QA requirements. Under normal circumstances a customer won’t be able to trace a stick of velvet to the farm of origin. Tracing to the farm of origin or vice-versa would only be in response to a quality issue and would be managed by MPI.  

Try and keep those tags loose: As velvet antlers become larger each year they take more time to dry during processing. As a result, one major velvet processor has asked farmers to attach tags so they are not tight against the stick.
 
“Leave enough space between the tag and the stick for air to circulate during drying. If you can slip your little finger or a pen into the gap, that should be loose enough,” says DINZ science and policy manager Catharine Sayer.

She says the VelTrak tags being introduced next season will be the same size as this season’s tags, but they’ll be made of an impermeable material that won’t get stained in storage or processing.
 
“The new tags will look a lot better to the customer. But the processor’s concern is that because they are impermeable, this could interfere with drying if the tags are too tight.” Sayer observes that it’s almost instinctive to zip tags as tight as they will go. “So it might be a good idea to get used to looser tagging during the balance of this season.”  

How can I estimate my greenhouse gas emissions? As part of the He Waka Eke Noa commitment made to government by the primary sector last year, all farmers will need to estimate their greenhouse gas emissions by December 2022. If farmers don’t do this, it increases the risk the government will bring all farms into the emissions trading scheme, with all the costs and compliance work that will involve.

“Calculating farm emissions can be relatively straight forward,” says DINZ environmental stewardship manager Lindsay Fung. “There are simple calculators on the Lincoln University and Ministry for the Environment websites and Overseer does it at the same time as it calculates your nutrient discharges. Beef + Lamb is also developing a calculator that will include deer,” he says.

“He Waka Eke Noa has not formally endorsed any tools as yet, but in the meantime have a look at the Lincoln calculator. Entering a couple of stock classes will give a rough indication of emissions produced on-farm.”

Alternatively a spreadsheet can be downloaded from the Ministry for the Environment website although this requires entering in an email address. This calculator has a few more options for farmers. Fung says it would be preferable for any future tool used for reporting emissions to be able to incorporate practices or technologies that reduce methane or nitrous oxide emissions as well as how much carbon dioxide is stored on-farm.

Breeding for parasite resistance sparks interest: The CARLA estimated breeding value (eBV) for resistance to internal parasites is attracting big interest from deer farmers. The eBV estimates how well deer resist gut parasites and lungworm (pictured). Deer do this by producing an antibody in response to the larvae as they ingest them with pasture.
 
Sharon McIntyre, manager of DINZ’s Deer Select genetic recording programme, says some breeders have used the CARLA breeding value for several years. “Now that it has graduated from ‘research’ status to become an official eBV, there’s growing excitement from producers about being able to breed more parasite resistance into their herds as part of a well-designed parasite management programme.”

She says recent research at AgResearch Invermay confirmed that progeny of high-CARLA animals grow faster, better and more profitably than low-CARLA progeny in the same conditions. Look for the CARLA Deer Fact in December Deer Industry News.
Photo: www.farmhealthonline.com

CARLA webinar on Tuesday: Deer farmers who are interested in breeding more parasite resistance into their herds should plug into an online webinar on Tuesday 24 November. Presented by Jamie Ward of AgResearch Invermay it will answer the question, What is CARLA?
 

 
To register for the webinar click here or email rob.aloe@deernz.org along with any questions you have. You’ll also be able to ask questions during the presentation using the chat box function on Zoom. If you're new to Zoom, don't worry, just let Rob know when you register. He can help you through it. The webinar is free to participants and Zoom seems to cope with most internet connections.

Interested in becoming a DINZ Board observer? The DINZ Board is offering any stakeholder in the deer industry the opportunity to join the Board in an observer capacity for 12 months. The role was initiated early this year with the appointment of Rob Kidd, operations manager for Duncan NZ.
 
Kidd, who will soon complete his term, says he would recommend the experience to anyone who would one day like to take up a governance role in the deer industry. Candidates need to be sufficiently experienced in their professional capacity to be able to add to the views of the DINZ Board.
 
DINZ chief executive Innes Moffat says he has had several enquiries about the role. Interested? You have until 30 November to apply. For more information >>
 
Velvet made with care: Deer Industry NZ is using the NZ Trade & Enterprise Covid-recovery promotion Made with care. The promotion emphasises the care and passion that goes into the production of the foods and beverages that New Zealand markets globally.
 
While the Made with care campaign video does not specifically mention deer velvet, it was seen by DINZ as a perfect fit for the 2020 pre-season velvet market tour which, because of Covid, had to be virtual. It was presented to major customers in Korea in late October. The photo below shows a presentation to the largest velvet retailer in the Jekidong (traditional) market in Seoul.


 
The pre-recorded part of the tour began with an introduction and welcome from DINZ chief executive Innes Moffat. Then board member Tony Cochrane and NZDFA executive committee members John Somerville and Mark McCoard, and other farmers Mathew von Dadlezen and Mark Tapley explained their roles in velvet production. They were followed by the Made with care video.
 
DINZ markets manager Rhys Griffiths then made a personal presentation covering major factors that would underpin velvet demand in the new season. He says Made with care imagery will be used by DINZ to promote NZ deer velvet in Oriental medicine industry publications. Also a major Korean food company has decided to use Made with care when promoting their NZ velvet products.

Low-slope rules fail high country eco-farmers: Hamish and Julia Mackenzie, owners of Braemar Station, Lake Tekapo, are environmental award winners. But they are far from happy with the government’s proposed water quality rules.
 
Of particular concern are the maps drafted by the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) showing land of less than 10 degrees slope. From 1 July 2025, beef cattle and deer must be excluded from wetlands, and lakes and rivers over one metre wide on this low-slope land.  On the face of it, this means most of the streams running across the Mackenzie’s high country property.
 
The only consolation is that the government has indicated it is considering making adjustments to its maps. MfE now has a form on its website where people can provide information about where large areas of steep land or high-altitude land have been included in the maps. DINZ environmental stewardship manager Lindsay Fung encourages deer farmers to check if their property is classified as low-slope on the MfE map, www.bit.ly/LowSlopeMap.
 
“If your property has been incorrectly identified as low-slope, or if you are low-slope but do not farm intensively, email me at lindsay.fung@deernz.org.” He says there are also online feedback forms on the MfE web page dealing with the issue, but some farmers may prefer to provide feedback through DINZ which will anonymise the data.
 
Photo: Hamish Mackenzie in a riparian area that was planted in native alpine species two years ago

Thinking of next winter yet? Many deer farmers who winter their stock on swedes, kale, fodder beet and other crops will be planning next year’s winter feed by now. But before putting crops in or selecting paddocks for intensive feeding of supplements it might pay to check out a Deer Fact sheet released this month: ‘Planning for winter – Best options for deer and their environment’.
 
The Deer Fact can be found at www.deernz.org/deer-facts. A hard copy will also be inserted in  December Deer Industry News.
 
Public concerns and scientific evidence about the effects of intensive winter feeding on the welfare of stock and the environment has resulted in the introduction of regulations and rules that farmers will need to comply with. This Deer Fact doesn’t deal with these. Instead, it deals with the principles that need to be considered when planning intensive winter feeding on a deer farm.

Deer farmer wins 2021 Nuffield NZ Farming Scholarship: Hawkes Bay deer and drystock farmer Ben Anderson is one of five emerging primary sector leaders to be awarded a Nuffield scholarship by Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor.
 
Anderson is passionate about ensuring the future success of New Zealand’s farming sector and the people that work within it, in a time of rapid change. His particular area of interest is climate change and managing both the challenges and opportunities that it will create.
 
As well as farming, Anderson works as a project manager, specialising in the implementation of government-funded projects in the regions.