The easiest way to see the benefits of introducing new high BV genetics in your deer herd is with a DeerPRO report. Emailed to you from Deer Industry New Zealand’s national animal health and productivity programme, it can be with you within 24 hours.

Tailor-made from the processing information for your deer, it is produced on request or at regular intervals to the 500 deer farmers who have registered for reports.

It gives a five-season venison productivity summary for your ‘young’1 deer. The key productivity measures includes carcaseweights, kill dates, and growth rates. Industry average data is added alongside too as a reference point.

Give the new crop of weaners plenty to eat, have your health plan up to date, and sit back and watch the venison production performance of your herd lift as the new genetics start to kick in.

The DeerPRO programme continues to be primarily focused on the monitoring and control of Johne’s disease, as it has been since establishment in 2006. These productivity metrics enable farmers to see the impact of high levels of disease in their herd. They also show the gains resulting from good on-farm disease control as part of a wider herd health plan. But importantly they also give all farmers the opportunity to see the impact of other farm management changes on their key venison production measures.

Genetic improvement of stock is a massive opportunity for the deer industry. The potential is plain to see when we look across at what the sheep and beef industry have achieved in this area over the last couple of decades. The deer industry is very young by comparison and poised for the huge gains in genetic potential for our stock which remain relatively untapped.

There are numerous reasons why the opportunity to tailor deer characteristics in a systematic, focused, and ethically acceptable manner are important. Obviously profit gains are high on the list through better meeting consumer demands with heavier and better yielding animals finished at the right time. But we also live in a rapidly changing world determined to pressure food systems to meet a growing number of environmental demands.

Being able to breed towards deer better able to perform under these demands is one more way of showing the industry is serious about sustainability and a robust licence to operate.

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