US top market for New Zealand venison

The US overtook Germany as the leading export market for New Zealand venison in the year ending February 2017.

According to the latest edition of Deer Industry News (83), hot off the press today, the North American market saw export volumes rise by 27 percent year on year. Chilled venison exports to the US rose by 29 percent in volume to 757 tonnes, worth $16 million. Deer Industry NZ (DINZ)  puts this down to increased demand from chefs and consumers in the market for the quality credentials of grass-fed meat.

Overall, venison volumes have fallen, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing as the industry starts a herd rebuilding phase, the effects of drought lessen and actions to reposition New Zealand venison take hold. With strong demand across all markets, including the petfood sector, prices – and so the schedule for farmers – are lifting. The magazine talks to Duncan NZ’s Glenn Tyrrell to find out how venison exporters and markets are managing the period of low supply to the New Zealand deer industry’s benefit.

In other venison news, Southland and North Otago deer farmers now have a brand new $7 million venison processing facility at SFF Pareora, Alliance suppliers have a new smartphone app, the Hanos Cervena® Masterchef has been chosen in the Netherlands, Belgian media were also treated to a taste of Cervena and, closer to home, Greg Piner of Dunedin’s Vault 21 restaurant was ‘Proud as Punch’ to win the Best Venison Dish in the Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Awards, announced in February.

Farmers are also grappling with new requirements for the safe handling of velvet antler, which will lift on-farm standards and meet requirements from China, the largest importer of the product.

There is also strong demand for velvet with a 90 percent lift in the value of sales of processed dried velvet to Korea for the year to end January 2017 – 15 months after the signing of the Korea-NZ free trade agreement came into force in December 2015, lowering tariffs. DINZ market manager Asia, Rhys Griffiths, also puts this down to increasing consumption by food companies keen to get their velvet processed in New Zealand and hopes the trend will continue.

Check out the venison and velvet market reports in the issue.

Also included are, sadly, two obituaries for former Deer Farmers Association chair and later president and Deer Industry NZ chair John Spiers and also Waikato deer farming legend Rodney Dixon.

If you want to find out more and/or mingle with the great and good of the deer industry world, look out for the 2017 Deer Industry Conference, to be held this year in the Wharewaka on Wellington’s waterfront on 26 and 27 May. This year’s theme is ‘The Business of Farming’. The programme will include strong emphasis on the Passion2Profit Primary Growth Partnership programme and its new venison markets initiative. If you can’t get there in person, it will be live-streamed by host company NZX Agri at You’ll need to register ahead at the site.

More information about all of this and plenty more about the industry is included in Deer Industry News 83, which deer farmers will be getting copies of in their post boxes soon.


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