DINZ news in brief 29 March 2021

DINZ news in brief 29 March 2021

Monday, March 29, 2021

Central Hawke's Bay deer farmers Evan and Linda Potter win the National Ballance Farm Environment Award (BFEA): On Thursday 25 May, infront of an audience of several hundred leading farmers, fellow nominees, Government Ministers and industry representatives, Linda and Evan were awarded the Gordon Stephenson Trophy at the Awards’ National Sustainability Showcase

Balancing business security with protecting the land and resources for future generations was one of the reasons behind the Potters’ win, the judges said.

“Evan and Linda epitomise the value of long-term vision, sound management practice, strong work ethic and a genuine passion for the protection of the environment. When asked where people should start, Evan responds, ‘does it matter? Just start somewhere.’

“A ‘do it once, do it right’ attitude can seem expensive at the onset but now the benefits of future proofing are paying off. Building bridges, fencing and water investment has given them first-class access to this environmentally challenging farm.”

Linda and Evan are hosting the BFEA East Coast field day at their property on Tuesday 30 March.

DINZ submitting on Climate Change Report on behalf of deer sector: Environmental policy manager Lindsay Fung has been finalising the DINZ submission on the Climate Change Commission’s draft advice to government. This will be lodged on Sunday, when submissions close.

Fung says DINZ strongly supports the commission’s key message that all New Zealanders, not just farmers, need to make major changes. In addition, DINZ agrees that the real challenge lies in reducing emissions of long-lived gases, especially carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, not methane.

Nevertheless DINZ takes issue with three key elements in the commission’s advice that have the potential to affect the profitability of deer farms. These concerns mirror those of Beef+Lamb NZ and the Meat Industry Association:

  • Methane reduction targets that are not achievable for drystock farmers, without major destocking.
  • The use of measurements for the climate warming impact of biogenic methane that greatly overstate the impact of extensively farmed ruminants. 
  • Excessive afforestation targets that have the potential to be achieved at the expense of deer farms. DINZ supports greater plantings of woodlots on less productive and riparian areas on deer farms.

DINZ is a signatory to He Waka Eke Noa, the Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership, and is therefore committed to supporting deer farmers to minimise their emissions through farming efficiently and increasing on-farm carbon sequestration where appropriate.

Photo: Doug Andrews
Velvet boots on the ground in China: Shanghai-based Felix Shen has hit the ground running in his new role as senior marketing manager for Primary Collaboration NZ, representing DINZ.

He will be helping the three partners in the China Velvet Coalition (PGG Wrightson, CK Import Export and Provelco) negotiate complex regulatory requirements and link up with Chinese companies interested in using branded NZ velvet products as an ingredient in high-end products.

Shen, 38, has a background as a food scientist, but in recent years has worked on the sales and marketing side for multinationals including Chr-Hansen, Du Pont and Givaudan. He’s worked with a variety of products including flavours and natural colourings, enzymes, probiotics and dietary supplements.

Shen hasn’t been to New Zealand but is looking forward to getting here when travel restrictions allow, to meet producers and get a better feel for the provenance of our velvet. He says consumer and business confidence are strong in China now.
There will be more about Felix Shen and PCNZ in the April Deer Industry News.
Winter grazing is still hot: The government has deferred the contentious intensive grazing rules that were to have been introduced this winter, but the issues – animal welfare and fresh water quality – have not gone away.  

“Last winter some distressing footage of poor wintering practice on dairy and deer farms was released to the media. We know that environmental campaigners will again be looking to exploit examples of poor wintering practice to help push the case for stricter regulation,” says DINZ chief executive Innes Moffat.

Wintering livestock in bad weather requires good stockmanship. But there are many examples of farmers who achieve great results by adopting practices that work. Check out the Deer Fact ‘Intensive winter feeding – minimising the environmental risk’ for ideas.
One of the most important wintering maxims is to have a Plan B – a plan for what you will do if everything turns to custard, such as flooding or prolonged intense rain.

Stroppy stags, naïve visitors: Every deer farmer knows that stags are dangerous in the roar and to manage them accordingly. But what about the new shepherd, telco and power company lines people, tradies, fishers, and trampers?
DINZ QA manager John Tacon says it’s critical that anyone visiting or working on a farm in the next few months knows to keep out of the stag paddocks. “Those of us who have worked with deer for many years tend to take things like stag behaviour in the roar for granted. Don’t assume that’s the case with outsiders. Many New Zealanders don't know anything about deer at all.”
Registrations Open for Deer Industry Conference: The 2021 Deer Industry Conference is being held at the magnificent Bill Richardson Transport world in Invercargill 18 and 19 May.
Keynote speakers are Kaila Colbin (a futurist and founder of Global Boma), Lance Burdett (WARN International, a consultant and coach) and Dr Jacqueline Rowarth (BAgSci Hons.PhD OMNZ. Specialist in soil science and environmental agriculture).
Check deernz.org/2021-deer-industry-conference for the latest. For programme or speaker enquiries, please contact tony.pearse@deernz.org or 021 719 038. For sponsorship, registration or general enquiries, please contact organiser Melissa Bahler on positiveeventsplus@xtra.co.nz or 027 664 3080.
The conference venue, the Bill Richardson Transport World, features amazing truck and car collections that delegates will have access to. 
Technical workshop to follow industry conference: The 2021 Deer Industry Conference is being followed by day focussing on technical workshops for farmers at the Ascot Park Hotel, Invercargill, on 20 May.

The workshop features updates about key on-farm issues, facilitated workshops and displays from suppliers of technology to the ag sector. The workshop topics include:

  • Environment: winter management and GHG calculations  
  • Indoor wintering and animal welfare
  • Genetics:  genomics and the new across-breed evaluation index
  • VelTrak: the new electronic track-and-trace system for velvet being introduced in the 2021/22 velvet season
  • National Velvetting Standards Body (NVSB) updates.

It’s a free event, with lunch, smoko and workshop materials provided. We ask that people register for Covid-19 contact tracing and catering purposes. To register for the workshop click >> HERE <<
For more info on the Technical Workshop and to enquire about exhibiting contact rob.aloe@deernz.org or call 04 473 4500

Environment awards to showcase the deer industry: DINZ environmental policy manager Lindsay Fung is delighted that deer farmers who are proud of the environmental work they have done on their farms have entered the 2021 Deer Industry Environmental Awards.
“Deer farmers are known for taking pride in their animals and environment. This year more than ever participation in the awards will demonstrate the industry’s ongoing commitment to sustainable farming and high-quality food production,” he says.
This year alongside the long-standing and loyal award sponsors from previous years, a Korean company has been confirmed as a new award sponsor. Fung says this is a strong indication of how our overseas customers view the industry’s commitment to environmental management.
It’s not too late to enter, entries close at 4 pm on Wednesday 31 March. For application forms and competition information >>
STOP PRESS: We have just learned that Hawkes Bay farmers Evan and Linda Potter, winners of the 2019 Elworthy Deer Industry Environmental Award, have taken out the premier Gordon Stephenson Trophy at the 2020 Ballance Farm Environment Awards. 

This was announced last night at the National Sustainability Showcase at Te Papa in Wellington. The Potters are the new National Ambassadors for Sustainable Farming and Growing. Congratulations Evan and Linda.
Vets keen to learn about VelTrak™: About 90 deer veterinarians and their practice staff logged in to one of three VelTrak™ webinars earlier this month. These were organised for deer vets to explain what will change for them when VelTrak gets underway later this year. A further evening webinar is planned for those who couldn’t make one of the daytime sessions.

The sessions were presented by Taupo-based deer vet Andrew Scurr, who is also one of two NZ Veterinary Association members on the National Velvetting Standards Body (NVSB).
Vets will be the first of three groups to register on VelTrak, starting on 6 April. They’ve been encouraged to get set up before 3 May, which is when velvet producers register and nominate the vet practice that’ll supply their VelTrak tags.
Andrew’s presentation included short video clips showing the simple and secure VelTrak processes for vets such as allocating tags to farmer clients. John Tacon and Pam MacLeman from DINZ were on hand, along with developer Mark Johnstone, as a panel to answer vets’ questions about the nuts and bolts of VelTrak.