Quality Assurance Standard for Deer Farming

Quality Assurance Standard for Deer Farming

The national standard for deer farming agreed by venison processing companies has been published as the DeerQA On-Farm Industry Agreed Standards.

Individual venison processing companies will contract for delivery with individual farming operations under their own Quality Assurance and Auditing Programme, which will audit to the Industry Agreed Standard.  Neither Deer Industry New Zealand nor DeerQA are operating an auditing programme.  Farmers will have to contact their venison processing company to confirm the process for compliance with the quality assurance programme. 

Farmers with deer can also be compliant with deer industry quality assurance requirements by being part of the New Zealand Farm Assurance Programme administered by Assure Quality. click here for information about the RMPP NZFAP.
The DEERQA On-Farm Industry Agreed Standard is recognized as equivalent to the New Zealand Farm Assurance Programme.  Farmers will not have to undergo duplicate audits.
The DeerQA On-Farm Industry Agreed Standard covers the following aspects of deer farming:
1. Facilities 
2. Animal Health Welfare and Production 
3. Environment 
4. Velvet Antler 
5. Transport
6. Cervena 
7. Indoor Facilities, Feed Pads or  Indoor/Outdoor Facilities 
The Industry Agreed Standard provides operating standards that farmers must  adhere to in order to be approved, with Qualifiers describing how the standard is to be met, as well as recommendations that farmers should adhere to.
Here is an example of a standard:
1.1 Deer Sheds/Yards 
Deer sheds and yards must be designed, constructed and maintained to minimise the risk to animals and humans, providing safe humane confinement and handling. Water must be available to stock if yarded for more than 6hrs. 
To ensure animal safety, protrusions that may cause damage (e.g. gate hinges, gudgeons, gate catches, bolts, nails, wire-knots, tie downs) shall be cut flush where practicable or modified to prevent damage to deer. 
To ensure animal safety, gaps that may cause injury shall be filled or modified to prevent damage to deer. 
Outside yard surfaces shall be constructed in such a manner and of such material as to minimise the presence of mud or dust and ensure safe footing at all times. 
Deer shed floor surfaces shall be constructed of material which must: 
(i) ensure secure footing; 
(ii) ensure safety and freedom from injury for both the deer and handler; 
(iii) ensure the presence of mud and dust is minimised; 
(iv) ensure adequate drainage. 
There shall be sufficient ventilation and light to ensure the safety and wellbeing of deer and handler. Walls and gates are to be of substantial construction which prevents injury to deer. 
Confinement - Deer sheds/yards shall be constructed so as to safely contain and permit ease of movement of deer. 
In high use work areas it is recommended that a permanent cleanable surface is provided. 
For fallow the use of netting in confined yards is not recommended.


Information on Quality assurance on your deer farm is available in a convenient DINZ Deer Fact sheet (August 2017). Print off your own copy here >>


Click here to download Useful Questions & Answers regarding the Hygiene Requirements, Cold Chain Management, Transport, Traceability and Auditing of the New Measures for Handling Velvet May 2017 
The development of the DeerQA On-Farm Industry Agreed Standard was funded by the Passion2Profit Primary Growth Partnership.
Updated June 2018.