What's been happening around the country? | Issue 182

Oct 11, 2022

Another month, more rain, more slips.  But apart from where it’s been snowing at least the grass is growing and some farmers are already harvesting velvet.  Here’s hoping for a good season.

Speaking of which the velvet competitions are just around the corner, with Hawkes Bay kicking things off on 17 November and followed by South Canterbury/North Otago (24 November) and the North Island Velvet Competition (26 November).  Check out details for these and other competitions on the DINZ website. If your competition isn’t listed, please let us know.

The impact of Covid on competitions last year resulted in a number of people requesting that DINZ provide health and safety guidelines for velvet competitions and stag sales.  A small working group (John Somerville, Tony Pearse, Murray Coutts, Grant Charteris, Rob Gregory and myself) have developed a set of guidelines for both events and have presented these to NZDFA, NVSB and DINZ for approval.  We hope to have these out well before the Hawkes Bay competition.

Staying in the bay, on 20 September the DINZ Board met in Waipukurau and afterwards held a belated road show with the Hawkes Bay branch.  About 50 people attended and Ian and Helen Walker were presented with some gifts as an appreciation of Ian’s long service on the DINZ Board.  The as ever delicious venison themed light dinner prepared by Graham Brown followed, capping off the day.  By all accounts the farmers found the session informative and useful.

DINZ Roadshow, Hawkes Bay: Ian and Helen Walker (centre)

Another event that has particular significance to the NZDFA was the 50 years of deer science at Invermay celebration on 26 September which drew in a huge crowd of deer farmers and researchers past and present. On a day that was spent re-connecting with old friends, colleagues and ex-NZDFA Chairs and members, the highlight was Sir Tim Wallis “popping” in via helicopter in the afternoon, followed closely by another amazing Graham Brown venison-based dinner at Otago University.

Standing room only at the 50 Years of Science celebration at Invermay

Living history (left to right): Sir Tim Wallis, Colin Macintosh and Ken Drew

Keeping with the celebration of our industry theme, we finally managed to hold a field day at Grant and Sally Charteris’s farm in Tikokino … Hawkes Bay on 5 October.  Grant and Sally won the prestigious Elworthy Environmental Award in 2021 as well as the SP Corporation Award for leading sustainable velvet farming.

On a fine (if somewhat bracing) day, about 50 people experienced some off-piste driving (avoiding muddy tracks) without incident and got to see the award-winning farm and hear how Grant and Sally have been steadily working away on environmental enhancements over the years.  The addition of a Korean film crew added a bit of international glitz to the occasion which was capped off by yet another amazing venison BBQ lunch thanks to Silver Fern Farms and FirstLight Foods.

Another beautiful day in the Hawkes Bay (it snowed the next day)

World famous in New Zealand and Korea (l-r): Grant, Sally and Dr Lee

Master chefs Matt Gibson and Miles Hellberg cooking up tomahawks and patties

October is another busy month. Branch Chairs meeting, and several Canterbury events: A wetlands field day at Albury, MPI visit to two deer farms and the DINZ Producer Management Team will learn all about velveting as well as a visit to Mountain River. 

Then it’s into November with another environment field day planned for Southland before we launch into the velvet competitions.

Continue reading DFA Stagline Issue 182, next: Invermay 50 Years of Deer Farming Science Excellence >>

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