DINZ news in brief | Issue 109

May 24, 2024

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China frozen velvet: New season goal for reclassification

Trade advisor Damon Paling updated conference delegates on the latest situation for the frozen deer velvet access issue for China.

Summarising, he explained that frozen deer velvet exported as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) does not align with China’s pharmaceutical rules and requires reclassification.

Trade advisor Damon Paling updating delegates on the latest situation at conference.

When the issue first arose in late 2023, DINZ worked with MPI to secure frozen access until April 30 so that the 2023-2024 season could be cleared.

“DINZ has since been engaged in a nine-month pursuit to have the reclassification completed prior to the upcoming 2024-2025 season,” Paling explains.

This has included advocacy both in New Zealand and in China, as well as providing real-time technical input as required.

MPI has prioritised completion of reclassification and constructive engagement is taking place with its counterparts in China. Leading deer velvet importers and processors in China would also like a favourable and timely resolution, he noted.

“The goal is to ensure that the updated rules regulate health and safety without substantive change to existing Regulatory Control Scheme (RCS) and Risk Management System (RMP) arrangements.”

All parties are mindful of the annual farming cycle and pending economic decisions. Time-wise the goal is to resolve this matter ahead of the 2024-2025 export season.

DINZ will provide ongoing updates in the weeks through either through the NZDFA, the next Virtual Town Hall, and DINZ e-News.

More questions? Contact DINZ markets manager Rhys Griffiths, phone 021 506 647 for offline discussions.

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Venison is a good option for on-farm diversification, says Matt Carroll

BakerAg farm consultant Matt Carroll’s excellent ‘Farming for Venison’ presentation in one of the four conference workshops presented a comparative analysis of data from the key drivers in the farm financials. Venison is a good option for diversification, he showed.

Diversifying adds resilience to a farm business, according to Baker Ag’s Matt Carroll. Photo: Lynda Gray

“A diversified business is a resilient business,” which has, “more levers to pull,“ the former DINZ board observer told workshop participants.

For breeding, ‘we really need to look at dollars per stock unit,” he said, pointing to a return from deer in his analysis – which he accepted would not be the same on all farms – of $85.90 per stock unit (SU), compared to $84.10 for sheep and $77.99/SU for cattle.

For farms that are struggling with the spring pasture management, “deer do fit hill country pasture growth, really, really well,” he said. If farmers, “change your ratio to sheep, beef, deer, you’re spreading the demand for pasture across the spring and decreasing your risk of spring storms.”

Labour benefits come from deer also, as they require fewer management touches than sheep, he showed. There are also advantages to cross-species grazing around parasite burden, utilising the feed that’s grown, “matching demand with growth,” and spreading out the spring demand.

For finishing, the cents per kg dry matter (DM) is the “key driver of the efficiency of those animals,” he said, pointing to 31 c/kgDM for deer, compared to 27 cents for sheep and 18.8 for cattle.

While diversification can add complication to some aspects of farm management, it softens the blows of volatile markets and decreases the risk of overexposure.

“It’s not just about rolling with the punches, it’s also about making sure the punches don’t hit so hard next time,” he said.

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NZDFA executive important conduit of information to farmers, says new chair

Mangaweka deer farmer Mark McCoard was elected chair of the NZDFA executive committee at the association’s annual general meeting, which preceded the Deer Industry Conference. After a five-year stint on the executive committee, he has stepped into the role, replacing Marlborough’s Justin Stevens who has stepped down after two years in the role.

Mark McCoard played a more active role at conference than he expected, chairing the exporters panel and assisting at the dinner in addition to giving his update on the NDZFA’s activities.

“DINZ has been undertaking one of the biggest changes in years, which has resulted in changes to how the NZDFA executive committee communicates with DINZ. The executive continues to be an important conduit of information and each party needs to perform well in their area of expertise,” he told conference.

Delegates considered four remits, voting unanimously to make deer industry veteran Murray Matuschka an NZDFA Life Member, “for his long service to the NZDFA and NZ deer industry”. An increase in honoraria for NZDFA was also carried, as were two other remits relating to NAIT and the DINZ science restructure

John Somerville replaced Peter Allen on the National Velvet Standards Body (NVSB) committee.

NZDFA delegates also heard from two candidates for a NZDFA-appointed DINZ board position this year: Mandy Bell (incumbent) and Grant Charteris, on behalf of John Tacon. This is one of the four positions appointed by the NZDFA to the DINZ board. The NZDFA’s Selections and Appointments Panel (SAP) will interview both candidates in mid-June and will announce their decision soon afterwards.

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DINZ is working constructively with OSPRI to address deer farmers’ NAIT concerns

The National Identification and Tracing (NAIT) programme has its issues, but DINZ is working constructively behind the scenes with NZDFA and OSPRI to sort things out.

New OSPRI chief executive Sam McIvor will be attending to deer NAIT registration issues when he joins the organisation in August.

A unanimously carried remit put to the NZDFA’s annual meeting prior to conference by the organisation’s South Canterbury/North Otago branch members asked NZDFA to call on OSPRI to proactively take measures to rectify the shortcomings of the system and restore confidence among farmers.

“OSPRI is committed to, and spending a lot of resources on, working that out and understanding what problems are occurring,” reports DINZ policy and science manager Emil Murphy. Among those, they are aware of problems with registering large numbers of animals and instances with animals that were registered coming up as not registered.

Governance changes at OSPRI will also have an effect, when the whole NAIT programme review gets underway. Experienced governor Paul Reynolds took the chair last year and will be joined by incoming chief executive Sam McIvor, who will start in August. McIvor brings eight years of experience as Beef + Lamb NZ Ltd chief executive and previous farm-linked roles with the organisation and OSPRI. In addition, the board is being boosted with the addition of Hugh Martyn as OSPRI board observer.

Murphy represents DINZ on the OSPRI stakeholder council, alongside NZDFA representative Craig North.

If there are more problems, Murphy suggests farmers contact OSPRI in the first instance and if that is of no help, lodging the experience with North, who is collating concrete, rather than anecdotal, farmer examples for OSPRI to work on.

Contact: OSPRI Support Centre on 0800 482 463, or email at; or Craig North at, phone 027-4730 864.

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Deer farmers encouraged to have a say on how to tackle climate change 

The Climate Change Commission (CCC) is consulting publicly on its advice to government around the emissions reduction targets.

The People’s Choice award in this year’s MSD/Allflex Deer Industry Photography Award went to ‘Make me!’ taken by Mike Thomas.

DINZ environmental stewardship manager Luka Jansen is analysing the CCC proposal to further understand the potential implications any emissions target changes could have on deer farmers and the industry.

The CCC’s overall suggestion is that the methane targets should be made more ambitious, she notes. However, deer farmers along with other agricultural sectors, have made good progress.

DINZ has clearly stated over the past three years that while it recognises the need for the sector to play its part in decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, that it must also ensure viable businesses while solutions are being developed, she explains.

DINZ will submit on the issue, but Jansen is encouraging farmers to also have their own say on the consultation before it closes on 31 May 2024.

DINZ understands the government will consider both the independent review and the CCC consultation outcomes, including DINZ input alongside other sectors, in making its decision about the targets at the end of the year.

Jansen is aiming to provide more information to help anyone wishing to write a submission on the DINZ website within the next week.

In the meantime, documents about the three related consultations are available on the Commission’s website.

For more information: contact Luka Jansen, phone 027 438 8874.

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El Niňo easing but dry conditions to continue 

Deer farmers in the top, eastern and central parts of the South Island and those in the northern, eastern and lower North Island can expect drought conditions to continue for the next few weeks.

During drought, Justin Stevens gets good results from supplementing silage or baleage with concentrates, using feeders.

El Niño is expected to ease by the end of May, MPI reports; yet, the impacts of dry conditions will continue to affect farmers in those regions, contributing to challenging conditions on-farm.

The dry conditions in Marlborough, Tasman, and Nelson districts, Canterbury, Otago, Northland, Taranaki, Horizons and Greater Wellington regions including Wairarapa have been classified as a medium-scale event. Up to $170,000 in additional assistance will be provided to Rural Support Trusts (RST) across these regions to facilitate support.

Beyond the end of May, westerlies will continue. The dry conditions can affect the growth of winter crops, diminish feed reserves and further deplete water availability, possibly impacting winter feed and next season, says MPI.

DINZ producer manager Lindsay Fung notes that the challenge for deer farmers will be coming into winter, as the drought has already impacted planting for winter crops and a good quantity of feedstock has already been fed out. However, forecast winter rains should replenish soil moisture levels in time for spring, he believes.

MPI will continue to liaise with DINZ and NZDFA.

Farmers can refer to:
DINZ’ drought feeding and management Deer Fact >>
MPI’s ‘Feed in dry times – get prepared early’ factsheet >>

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Velvetters: a friendly NVSB reminder 

Double take. Photo: Angela McIntyre.

It is now the end of the 2023/24 velvetting season and the National Velvet Standards Body (NVSB) is reminding all velvetters that all unused drugs, including local anaesthetic and xylazine, should now be back with their supervisory vet clinics.

All drug and velvet record books should have been reconciled by their vets by 31 March to ensure certification remains current (page nine for drugs and page 13 for NaturO™ rings).

“If you find this hasn’t happened to date, could you get these back to your vet for end of season sign off as soon as possible,” requests DINZ quality systems administrator Pam Macleman.

Questions? Contact, 04 473 4500.

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Important NAIT timeframes for deer farmers 

Farmers understanding their NAIT obligations is the first step towards achieving and maintaining lifetime traceability of deer. OSPRI has three important NAIT timeframes to remember, which are:

  • Tag – tag deer within 180 days of birth, or before the first movement off farm (whichever comes first).
  • Register – register tags within seven days of tagging, or before the first movement off farm (whichever comes first).
  • Record movements – Record all movements within 48 hours of deer leaving or arriving on farm.

Farmers using third party software should check that their NAIT account reflects what’s on farm. This can be done generating reports in the NAIT account.

The Person in Charge of Animals (PICA) or PICA delegate has online access to reports providing details about their animals and NAIT movements.

A report can show what animals are registered to your property. This includes animals originally registered elsewhere and moved onto your property. PICAs should compare these reports with on-farm records to ensure all deer they believe to be on-farm and registered are correct in the NAIT system.

For more information visit the OSPRI website:

For help, contact the OSPRI Support Centre by phone 0800 482 463, or email at

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Introducing: New DINZ communications manager Cam Frecklington

Cameron (Cam) Frecklington, DINZ’s new part-time inhouse communications manager (pictured, photo Lynda Gray), had a baptism of fire attending conference in Napier only one week after joining the team in Wellington. To his credit, he survived, albeit with head spinning from chats with people from across the industry and several “invaluable off-the-ball conversations”.

No stranger to farming, Cam grew up on a Rangitīkei sheep and beef farm and, coincidentally, is related by marriage to Hawke’s Bay deer farmer Harry Gaddum. He returned to New Zealand in 2018 after 15+ years in Asia, primarily in South Korea first and then in China. He is an avid writer outside of DINZ work and is currently working on a screenplay in his spare time.

Tradition dictates that favourite sports teams are mentioned, but many years abroad mean a slightly expanded roster of viewing habits. Favourite teams include Manawatū Turbos, Wellington Hurricanes, New Zealand Warriors, Atlanta Hawks (NBA), and Atlanta Falcons (NFL).

Always on the hunt for the latest deer industry news, trends, research breakthroughs or simply good deer-related yarns, Cam can be reached at or phone 027 648 6387.

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