DINZ news in brief 9 October 2020

DINZ news in brief 9 October 2020

Friday, October 9, 2020

Consumer-friendly velvet product launched in Taiwan: The Korean Ginseng Corporation (KGC), an important partner of Deer Industry NZ in South Korea, has launched its successful Cheon-Nok Everytime health drink in Taiwan. Based on Korean ginseng and New Zealand velvet, the product comes in a convenient ‘tear-and-go’ sachet.

Cheon-Nok Everytime is the first premium consumer-friendly velvet product to be launched by a major international health food brand in Taiwan, where the latest Korean trends – led by K-pop – have a strong following, especially among young affluent consumers.

DINZ market manager Rhys Griffiths says KGC has 30 dedicated stores around Taiwan, as well as online channels, seasonal promotional displays in convenience stores, and so on. At around TWD4600 (NZD240) for 30 single-dose packs, KGC are targeting the premium end of the health foods market.

A story about the launch will feature in the October edition of Deer Industry News.

The perils of market predictions: African swine fever (ASF), the incurable pig disease that has swept through China, has now been confirmed in wild boar populations in Germany on the eve of the traditional game season.

This is a big deal as wild boar is an important part of the game season. Inevitably NZ venison will be seen as a safe substitute by chefs in Europe looking to set their game season menu, says DINZ chief executive Innes Moffat.

Mountain River Venison marketing manager John Sadler told the NZDFA branch chairs meeting in Wellington earlier this week that wild game prices in Europe were terrible, because of the impact of Covid, even before the ASF outbreak was confirmed in September. 

Photo: www.euronews.com

Trees for deer: Trees are topical at present because of the important roles they play in helping farms meet water quality standards, by way of plantings along stream banks and on hillsides to reduce erosion. 

Of course, trees have other important roles to play on farms. With gales and storms a feature of spring in New Zealand, deer on farms with good tree plantings will be appreciating the shelter they provide. In the summer dry, they may also appreciate being fed with willow, poplar and tagasaste prunings.

Planting the right tree in the right place and getting it established successfully is critical. Trees are expensive. For example, a hectare of native plants at 1.5 m x 1.5 m spacings (4444 plants per ha) costs about $30,000 – all of which can be lost without good site preparation and weed and pest control.

Pole planting presents particular challenges on deer farms, given the bark chewing abilities of deer. How to protect young poles and many other tree-related tips are covered in the latest Deer Fact, ‘Trees for deer’, which is now on the DINZ website. Hard copies will be delivered to all Deer Fact subscribers with the October edition of Deer Industry News.

Last season for paper-based velvet tracking: The current velvet season is the last one in which velvetters will have to record velvet tag numbers by hand and sign a paper Velvet Status Declaration (VSD). In 2021 VelTrak will be introduced and the whole system will be electronic – from the ordering of tags by vets to the receiving of velvet by packhouses for export shipment.

The change will be made possible by the embedding of a wafer thin UHF (ultra-high frequency) electronic chip in each tag.

For farmers the change will be relatively simple. They won’t have to get special kit. “They will just need to have internet access, so they can register on the system and approve their VSDs which will be generated by buyers. The biggest changes will be for buyers and packhouses, who will need to purchase UHF scanners and do more of their work electronically than they may do at present,” says DINZ science and technical manager Catharine Sayer.

“VelTrak is a major investment in the long-term future of the industry. It provides the traceability increasingly required by major health food companies as a condition of supply. Because it will have a level of sophistication our competitors are unlikely to match, it will help maintain the premium position that NZ velvet enjoys in Korea. It also aims to encourage demand from healthy food companies in China for whom proof of quality and traceability are critically important and will only become even more so.”

Interested in becoming a 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, told the NZDFA branch chairs at their annual meeting in Wellington last week that it was a fantastic experience that he would recommend 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.

Interested? You have until 30 November to apply. For more information >>

Further caution on mature stags: Venison marketers have cautioned deer farmers carrying excess numbers of older stags, intended for sale to game estates, not to expect good prices for them as venison.

Velvet producers need to talk with their venison processors about capacity for their cull stags. “They are not what our venison markets want,” marketers told NZDFA branch chairs at their meeting earlier this week. “They will be going into manufacturing and prices will reflect that.”

Transporting stock – is your paperwork right? Venison companies and deer truckers are grumbling about farmers who don’t have their paperwork ready before the truck is loaded. This has the potential to cause delays in loading or, if the completed forms can’t be provided, with the stock being left on the farm. DINZ has passed the feedback onto OSPRI so they can inform farmers of the requirements, especially those who are not on the internet.

Since 14 June farmers have been required to have their Animal Status Declaration (ASD) and Declaration to Livestock Transporter (DLT) completed, so they can give them to the driver. This is one of many changes designed to tighten up the NAIT system in the wake of the outbreak of M. bovis in cattle. The most important of these was the new legal requirement for cattle or deer to be tagged and recorded with NAIT before they go on a truck. The only exemptions are animals that are unsafe to tag and those going to a game estate for trophy hunting.

Farmers can request a book of ASD forms online here or call OSPRI 0800 482 463. The livestock transporter declaration (DLT) is now included on the bottom of these forms. These were previously separate forms that are still OK for farmers to use. Farmers may also complete an electronic Animal Status Declaration (eASD) using an editable online ASD form. This must be sent or emailed to the transporter in advance of the animals leaving the farm.

Ticks moving south: Most of the deer farmers attending a P2P Regional Workshop in North Waikato on 1 October say ticks are their biggest animal health problem. Long established in the Far North, the problem is moving south, with reports of infestations in the warmer parts of the South Island.

Reducing tick numbers is challenging, because they have a wide host range, tolerate a wide range of temperatures and humidity, and are hard to treat while they are on deer because of the problems of managing fawning hinds, fawns and rutting stags. Fawns are particularly vulnerable while they are ‘parked’ in cover by their mums.

In cooler districts, small numbers of ticks may not be a problem but there is a risk that if a farmer doesn’t act, that they may become a major problem when warm humid weather favours them. Ticks are best controlled by using tick ear-tags (which contain insecticide) and good pasture management.  

Recently retired AgResearch senior scientist Geoff Asher told the workshop that animals that were stressed or under-fed would be more prone to attack by ticks. Also it was likely that ticks were developing resistance to the chemical treatments available, but the extent wasn’t known, he added.

There will be a full report on the workshop, which also covered facial eczema (another big issue in northern regions) and gastrointestinal parasites in the October edition of Deer Industry News. Tick management and control is covered in a Deer Fact >>