Moves are afoot to improve the productivity of New Zealand’s venison herd, which could result in an average carcase weight of 64 kg in ten years time, a better quality and improved supply of venison for exporters, along with improved earnings for producers.
A group of 40 participants have had input to the Productivity Improvement Programme report which was endorsed by the Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) board in mid-July, after having received support at the 2012 Deer Industry and CERVETEC conferences and endorsed by the New Zealand Deer Farmers’ Association.
Concluding that the venison industry’s productivity mantra ‘More deer, heavier, earlier and better‘ remains valid, the Productivity Leadership Group, lead by Wanaka veterinarian and farmer Dr Mandy Bell, realised that productivity improvements to date had taken place in the market. They determined that money will be better spent now achieving practice change in the deer industry, rather than generating new knowledge. The report has emphasised the importance of implementing new knowledge and best practice on farm and says that the goal of productivity improvement is to produce more profitably, rather than simply increase volume.
Critical areas of the programme of work are: to better manage deer to maintain and achieve optimal health; to look at improvements in feeding; and in the areas of genetics and physiology.
The PLG has calculated achievable targets and an understanding of ‘The Prize’, based on the successful implementation and reasonable levels and rates of adoption of the programme of work among deer industry participants. Targets include an additional nine kg to bring the average carcase weight to 64kg in 10 years time, an increase of 2.8 percent per year for kg output per hind and an additional $1.48 per kg output (earnings before interest and taxes) by 2022.
The draft programme of work is to be discussed with participants in the Productivity Improvement Programme. DINZ is currently planning the implementation of the work and how best to fund it.
You can read more about it in Deer Industry News (issue 55, pages four to five). Click on the photograph above for a pdf of the magazine.