DINZ news in brief December 2020

DINZ news in brief December 2020

Friday, December 18, 2020

DINZ news in brief

Venison hot on-line in the US:  Venison medallions have been flying out the door since Silver Fern Farms opened its on-line ecommerce website in the United States a month ago. So much so that they were marked ‘out of stock’ when we had a look early last week.

Group marketing manager Nicola Johnston says while it’s early days, “we are very pleased with the momentum the site is having – especially in relation to venison. We originally predicted that venison would constitute 25 per cent of our beef online sales on the new site. But to date it seems that our venison medallions sell as well as rib-eye steaks, and we’ve had to react quickly to replenish sold-out stocks.”
Silver Fern Farms identified demand for venison among target segments in recent market research and is in the early phases of activating what Johnston calls a “sophisticated e-commerce marketing engine to really drive e-commerce sales”. This will be one stream of a wider sales and marketing programme the group is putting in place to create demand for its venison in the US.
Making it tougher for the cowboys: A side-benefit of VelTrak, the electronic track and trace system for velvet that will be introduced next season, is that it will become more difficult for anyone velvetting in unregistered facilities and outside our industry-agreed standards to sell their velvet.

“VelTrak will provide electronic tracking of every stick of velvet from the farm to the marketplace. This will help protect the big investments that we as deer farmers have made in sheds and freezers that comply with MPI’s regulated control scheme,” says Taihape deer farmer Robbie Bruce. 

“To use VelTrak, buyers will have to be registered and comply with New Zealand’s strict food safety and animal welfare standards. That’s how it should be, given the premium nature of our product and the health food markets it is increasingly going to.”

Bruce sees VelTrak as being essential for building new demand in Asia for velvet as a healthy food ingredient. “Modern health food companies demand this sort of traceability for their ingredients.”

On a practical level, he welcomes the fact that with VelTrak he will no longer have to write down tag numbers for a VSD. ”Instead, the buyer or packhouse will scan the velvet when they pick it up from our farm or when it arrives in store. They will generate a VSD that they will email to me for approval."

No more on-farm TB testing of many deer herds: From 9 February 2021, the bovine TB eradication agency OSPRI will reduce the frequency of on-farm testing in many cattle and deer herds. For deer herds in lower risk areas routine 3-yearly on-farm testing will be replaced by monitoring of carcases at deer slaughter premises (DSPs) … an approach it has been piloting in deer since 2018.

OSPRI says a broad on-farm testing programme is no longer the most efficient way to detect TB infection because there are now fewer infected herds. It makes more sense to focus more on higher risk areas while maintaining nationwide disease surveillance.
In areas of greater risk, there will be more frequent on-farm testing. Risk factors include: herd infection history, proximity to possum infection risk and sources of livestock movements into herds.  
The risk of TB reoccurring in a region will be managed through possum control in risk areas, tracking and testing stock moving from higher-risk herds to lower-risk herds, and identifying any infections early to limit the spread.
If a farmer purchases an animal from a C1 status (previously infected) herd after 9 February 2021, the movement will be recorded in NAIT and will require a permit. Additional on-farm testing may be required in the purchaser’s herd.

Leading deer farmer dies suddenly: South Canterbury farmer Neil Campbell died suddenly last week. Graham Peck, chair of the South Canterbury/North Otago says Neil was a hugely respected farmer and valued member of their DFA committee. “His passing is a great loss to the South Canterbury community.

Neil (pictured above) and wife Lyn were described as the “Fairlie super team" when they won the 2016 South Island Farmer of the Year competition. They earned the judge's nod for the Lincoln University Foundation award because of the efficient and flexible way they developed their dryland property where they farm deer, sheep, beef and arable crops. An obituary will be published in the February edition of Deer Industry News.
Photo: Stuff NZ

South Westland TB movement control area extended: OSPRI is expanding the South Westland TB movement control area south from its current boundary at the Waitaha River mouth to the Poerua River flat. This follows the identification of bovine TB in five dairy and beef herds, and wildlife near Hari Hari. The change will be formalised on 9 February 2021 with voluntary pre-movement testing until then.  

It is understood that 41 dairy herds, 18 beef and 1 deer herd will be affected by the changes. Farmers in the area will need a clear TB test of all stock over 3 months of age before moving them to another farm (currently all animals over 12 months of age).  South of the movement control area is a small zone where 12 monthly testing is required, but with no movement controls. South of that there is a zone where two-yearly testing is required.
Meanwhile OSPRI is managing a TB outbreak in the Hawke's Bay where 19 beef and dairy herds are infected. There are currently 18 herds with a TB infected status in Hawke’s Bay of which 17 have completed their first clear whole herd test. Of the herds with a clear test, at least half are expected to achieve clear status at their next test within the next six months.
No deer herds in either the Hari Hari or Hawkes Bay outbreaks have been infected. See the national TB zone map here >>.

Hakataramea Station family wins food challenge: The Gray family of Hakataramea Station, South Canterbury, have won the Food Challenge Award at the 2020 Silver Fern Farms Plate to Pasture Awards. They were the best of six regional finalists in the overall Pasture to Plate Awards, which celebrate suppliers of lamb, beef, venison, and bull beef who consistently supply quality stock and produce food with the consumer front of mind.

Juliet Gray, her partner Richard and mother-in-law Heather created a three-part tapas menu, consisting of sticky lamb trumpets (lamb shoulder), a Vietnamese salad bowl (venison mince), and a beef fillet on ciabatta. The venison mince recipe was a slightly adapted version of one published in Deer Industry News.
Head judge Melissa Sowden said “The Gray family hit the nail on the head with their in-depth customer analysis and exquisitely prepared meal.”
Photo: From left, Heather, Barry, Richard and Juliet Gray

Industry conference in Invercargill in May 2021: After going virtual this year because of Covid, the 2021 Deer Industry Conference returns in the flesh in 2021. It will be held in Invercargill on 18 & 19 May, followed by ‘P2P in Action’ -- a national technical workshop – on 20 May.
The venue will be the first-class facilities of the Bill Richardson Transport World, with access for delegates to amazing truck and car collections. Look for more details in upcoming editions of DINZ eNews and Deer Industry News.
Original Maori place names for SI farms: If you farm in Ngāi Tahu takiwā (area) which covers most of the South Island, there is an online map to find out the original Māori place names on, or near, your property. The atlas includes information about 1500 traditional Māori place names, ara tawhito (traditional travel routes) and original Māori land allocations, with another 3000 place names to be added in the future.
Ngāi Tahu kaumātua initiated the project in the early 2000s to help protect cultural values on high country stations going through tenure review. However, the idea first came about during the Waitangi Tribunal hearings into the Ngāi Tahu claim in the 1980s. The Ngāi Tahu Archive Team have created the digital atlas alongside the 18 Ngāi Tahu Papatipu Rūnanga, so that stories and place names are preserved for future generations.  More >>
Source: High Country Matters, LINZ, December 2020

Hilson retires from practice management: Renowned Hawke's Bay deer vet Richard Hilson has stepped down as general manager and director of Vet Services (Hawkes Bay), but he won't be vanishing from the deer world. 
He says he will continue as facilitator of the HB Originals Advance Party and service a handful of clients (deer clients in particular) for Vet Services, “I hope to keep adding value with DeerPro and I am happy to help out wherever, having just done so recently with the NZVA Deer Vets ‘Velveting 101’ course,” he says.
His main focus will now be the two deer farms that he and wife Karen Middelberg farm in Central Hawkes Bay. "We now have 800 ha between the two blocks so there's plenty to work on. We are spending quite a lot of time catching up on development and R&M. I cannot make myself too busy off the farm as Karen has her NZDFA role and is on the local Power Trust."
Hilson says he hopes to do “a wee bit more hunting and a bit of time at the crease for the newly formed Sherwood Cricket Club, so I’m not expecting to be bored any time soon.”

Two Deer Facts in Deer Industry News: Look for two new Deer Fact sheets inserted in Deer Industry News this month:
  • The CARLA breeding value – using genes to combat internal parasites
  • ‘Planning for winter – best options for deer and their environment.

CARLA: The CARLA estimated breeding value (eBV) for resistance to internal parasites is attracting a lot of interest, according to Sharon McIntyre, manager of DINZ’s Deer Select genetic recording programme. She says there’s growing excitement from farmers who want to breed more parasite resistance into their herds.
She says recent research at AgResearch Invermay confirmed that the progeny of high-CARLA animals grow faster, better and more profitably than low-CARLA progeny in the same conditions.
Planning for winter: New regulations and rules have been introduced that farmers will need to comply with when fodder cropping or intensively feeding supplements in winter. This Deer Fact deals with the principles that need to be considered when planning intensive winter feeding.
Goodbye 2021, welcome 2021: We end 2020 with the long tentacles of Covid-19 still interfering with our markets for venison and velvet. That is not what we envisaged at the close of 2019. The good news is that we are safe and able to enjoy friends, family and our holiday places this Christmas, something our restaurant customers in Europe and the United States will be unable to do. Our thoughts and best wishes go out to them as they struggle through the pandemic.
To all who share our remarkable deer farming world, thank you for your help and patience in 2020. The DINZ office closes on 24 December and reopens on 5 January. In the meantime, enjoy the beach, mountains or wherever you relax during Christmas and New Year. 
Come back refreshed in 2021 – confident that whatever challenges lie ahead we will overcome them by supporting each other and working together; as we have done in 2020.