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Deer farming production targets

Benchmarking can be useful to establish measures of performance. Deer farmers operate a wide variety of systems in a wide variety of climates, with differing farming objectives. 


Some measures of productivity are relevant to all systems, particularly hind conception and weaning rates. Hinds can achieve over 97% conception and over 95% fawning. An example of a good target to aim for is over 50kgs of fawn liveweight weaned for each 100kg of hind liveweight mated.

Based on information from AgResearch a set of Industry Benchmarks have been produced to act as a guide to targets that can be used in performance analysis. An array of these targets are displayed on this page.

Establishing relevant national benchmarks for all aspects of productivity can be problematic, for example, high BV red deer can achieve growth rates of over 400gms per day pre weaning, but that is not relevant to breeders of velvet replacements.

Setting up individual production targets, then measuring performance against these targets can help monitor productivity. To assist with this a set of production recording spreadsheets are available to download and use, they are available here>>

Examples of Deer Farming KPI Targets

Breeding KPIs Target*
Estimated average fawning date 20 November

Weaning rate - % of all mated hinds (+- pregnant hinds bought/sold) presenting live fawns on 1 March

Herd efficiency: kg fawn weaned divided by kg hind wintered) 0.51kg
Weaning weight (1 March) (kg) 57kgs
Pre-wean fawn growth (g/d) 410g/d
Dry rate (number of drys divided by number of hinds PTed) 3%
Mating efficiency (number of in-fawn hinds, divided by number of hinds mated) 97%

*Examples of good performance provided by AgResearch

Spring kill finishing key performance indicators Target**
Number above 85kg liveweight by 1 November (end of chilled season) 70%
Mean carcass weight 56kgs
Mean sale date 11 November
Mean days to finish 347 days
Mean growth rate: g/d (based on 55% yield) 256g/d
Deaths and missing (%) 2%

**Data for high growth red deer from the Deer Progeny Test 


This resource has been produced as part of the Passion2Profit programme, a Primary Growth Partnership co-funded by Deer Industry New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

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