Nov 4, 2021
As the saying goes “all good things must come to an end “and with that we have to be grateful for the past 20 years of working with Tony Pearse. I can still remember the first time that Tony spoke to the Marlborough Deer Farmers at our annual dinner and young stock competition prize giving. Tony had just been appointed to the DINZ Producer Manager role and with great enthusiasm and pride for all things related to deer farming, Tony passionately elaborated on the goals and vision for the industry over the coming years. We have all seen many changes over the last 20 years and I dare say that we will see many more over the next 20 years. Thank you, Tony and Julie, for all your efforts that have helped to shape and mould a fantastic and wonderful industry for us all to be involved in.
November is a magical time on the farm, with velvet in full swing and the grass still growing, there is much to be done. This is the time of year that all our efforts of breeding and feeding come to fruition and with velvet prices returning to levels above last season, there is the added bonus of being rewarded for our efforts. Our big job this spring has been to actually install and commission the second-hand walk-in freezer that we purchased 4 years ago. What a difference it has made already, to actually freeze and store velvet in the one place as opposed to having to double handle it multiple times. We repurposed/recycled two metal bunk beds to hold the metal bars to store the velvet on and with the spacing in the mesh on the bases, this gives us multiple options for freezing the velvet.
This week will also be our first week for sending some venison to the works and with the schedule being lower than ideal we will just have to take the hit financially. The price has rebounded from last year, but we are still feeling the impact of reduced sales of venison through the more lucrative restaurant trade where in the past they have paid up to 30% above the supermarket trade. Venison processors have had to shift direction and focus on the supermarket retail side of the trade and with access being restricted to some supermarkets the marketers have had to work hard to achieve the current sales.
Shipping our velvet and venison to the markets has also been an unforeseen challenge and like farming, our marketers have had to battle and carry on through the good times and the bad. I know that I used to say that “no matter what people still have to eat”, I just didn’t realise that getting the product to the customer could in some cases triple in cost over one year, or that you might not even be able to get a container to ship it in.
Enjoy the rest of the spring and remember that it is only another seven weeks until Christmas.
- Justin Stevens, Marlborough, NZDFA Executive Committee Member