What's been happening around the country? | Issue 183

Nov 3, 2022

It looks like the weather has finally decided it is spring rather than winter, although the slow start to the velvet season in the South Island and the odd snow dump or cold snap still reminds us how fickle spring can be. Hopefully things (grass, live weight and velvet) are now growing nicely.

Health & Safety Guidelines for velvet comps and stag sales

Last month I mentioned that the industry was developing health and safety guidelines for velvet competitions and stag sales. These are now available online at >>

Branch Chairs Meeting

October is traditionally when we hold our two-day NZDFA Branch Chairs meeting in Wellington. Mark McCoard will give his view on this year’s meeting but by all accounts, attendees found it was useful and informative, including the New Faces: Jonathon Kennett (Southland), Mike Ferrier (Waipa) and Lorna Humm (Canterbury/West Coast). The highlight was of course the Branch Chairs dinner which was extra special with announcements of the Matuschka Award winner – Barry Mackintosh (Waikato), the Deer Industry Award winner – Ron Schroeder, and NZDFA lifetime membership for Paddy and Barbara Boyd. Congratulations to all and our thanks for your service to the industry.

This event was also noteworthy as no one reported getting covid!

Field Day at Sam and Annabelle Bray's in South Canterbury

From Wellington we went south to Sam and Annabelle Bray’s farm in Albury, South Canterbury to attend a field day on “Managing Wetlands as Farm Assets”. Over 30 people (mostly farmers) turned up on a glorious Canterbury day to hear about establishing and maintaining (not as much as you might think) wetlands on a working farm. One key message – to get your best bang for buck – was to put the fence in the right place (in terms of reducing sediment loss, riparian maintenance and ease of stock movement). Riparian plantings can be worked out later but maintaining vegetative cover to filter out run off was vital.

30+ people including deer, sheep, beef and dairy farmers attended Sam and Annabelle Bray’s field day in atrocious weather.

Sam’s “blueprint” for many of the intermittent waterways on his farm – a series of sediment traps.

Producer Management Team out and about

Canterbury was the place to be in October as the following week the Producer Management team and Pam from the DINZ office visited Mt Hutt Station, Edendale/Mt Possession Stations, Edenview, PGGW and Rokland over two days. The team observed velvet removal, grading and drying facilities and it was a bit of an eye opener in terms of living history. Not only were there multi-generational deer farms, but Rokland is a third-generation velvet processor based in Christchurch.

Keith and Bruce Hood showing the Sara and Rebecca the EID system.

Bruce and Keith with the DINZ crew (spot the farm girl!).

“Here’s something I prepared earlier….” - Donald Whyte.

Tony Cochrane (PGGW) at -20 degrees celsius.

Matthew Lee (left) in front of a vacuum dryer. Matthew’s gradfather, Charlie Lee, established Rokland in 1973.

Introduction to deer farming for MPI officials

Straight after this, High Peak Station and Riverslea Farm hosted MPI officials as an introduction to deer farming and also to provide some direct farmer feedback on the current regulatory environment that is undermining farming confidence. Our thanks to Hamish and James Guild (and family) and Stu Stokes for hosting MPI and also to Graham Brown for once again wowing everyone with an amazing venison lunch.

James Guild (left) explaining water quality, biodiversity, greenhouse gas emissions and deer farming… all in one place!

Not your usual packed lunch… Graham Brown extolling the qualities of venison.

Stu Stokes demonstrating drafting in the deer shed to some MPI officials.

2022/23 Velvet Competitions

The velvet competitions are just around the corner, with Hawkes Bay kicking things off on 17 November and followed by Central Regions/Taihape (19 November), South Canterbury/North Otago (25 November), the North Island Velvet Competition (26 November) and Nelson/Marlborough on 4 December. Then there are the Nationals down in Invercargill (14 – 16 December).  Check out details for these and other competitions on >>

If your competition isn’t listed or details need amending, please get in touch via 

Continue reading DFA Stagline Issue 183, next: New Life Members: Paddy & Barb Boyd >>

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