Feedback sought on proposed new velvet traceability system

Feedback sought on proposed new velvet traceability system

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

A new system for tracing tagged velvet as it moves through the supply chain is being developed. If the concept is supported, each individual stick of velvet will be identifiable through a central database to the farm of origin, from the 2020/21 season.

Feedback is now being sought from farmers, veterinarians, buyers, exporters and others in the supply chain about the proposed system.

DINZ science and policy manager Catharine Sayer says a new type of tag is needed to replace the existing nylon cable ties that tend to become brittle and break during freezing. In doing this there is also the opportunity to introduce a tag that adds value, by:

  • Enabling fast, accurate and effortless product tracing for food safety or biosecurity reasons
  • Indicating that the farm of origin complies with velvetting welfare and food safety rules
  • Helping farmers, vets and other businesses in the velvet supply chain with their inventory management, which will become virtually paperless and
  • Supporting the premium market positioning of NZ velvet, by allowing branding to be added and reducing the risk of counterfeiting.

Sayer says several prototype tags have been piloted by members of the Southland NZDFA as well as the three largest velvet exporters. Their feedback and that of the NVSB has been used to make some first-stage refinements to the proposed system.

“The best format appears to be an artificial paper ‘wrist band’ similar to that used in past years by the Elk-Wapiti Society (pictured),” she says.

In the next (2019/20) season a barcoded version will be brought in to replace the cable tie, but existing tag distribution, recording, paperwork and VSD requirements will not change.

“If this works well, we will look to roll out a fully electronic system with electronic chips in similar-style tags for the 2020/21 season. Only then would record keeping requirements and methods change.”

She says the selection and design of the 2019/20 tag is now being finalised based on learnings from the trials with prototypes. As soon as this is done, DINZ will advise on the ongoing use of remaining stocks of cable ties.

The 2020/2021 wrist band tags would contain a barcode and a UHF chip, each with unique numbers that will be paired with each other on a database administered by DINZ.

“UHF chips have been chosen not only because they are cheap,” says Sayer, “but because when there are large volumes of sticks of velvet in a consignment or container they can be read at once, enabling depots and packhouses to read tags quickly and accurately.

“The barcode would enable voluntary on-farm stick-by-stick scanning using kit already found on farm, such as smartphones or other barcode readers. The stick’s barcode could then be associated with other information entered into a farm management system, such as the stick’s weight and grade and the stag’s NAIT tag. Under the proposal, farmers wouldn’t have to do any tag scanning or noting of numbers at all. 

“Farmers would no longer be required to keep paper records of tags received, applied or transferred. Nor would they have to produce paper VSDs.”

Fact sheets explaining the system and its advantages have been prepared. If you are deer vet, farmer, buyer, grader, exporter, processor or marketer you are encouraged to read a factsheet here >> www.deernz.org/velvet-traceability.

Initial feedback is requested by 6 May, to catharine.sayer@deernz.org, tel 04 471 6116. This will be followed by a detailed article in the May/June edition of Deer Industry News, as well a series of shed meetings in June/July, where there will be further opportunities for feedback.

Photo courtesy of Tony Pullar, Elk & Wapiti Society of NZ