Friday, July 1, 2022

Deer farmers urged to fight for Invermay

The Invermay deer programme has led the development of the New Zealand deer industry for the past 35 years and is recognised as world leading, former Invermay Agricultural Centre director Dr Jock Allison says.

Allison opposes AgResearch’s proposal to focus South Island agricultural research on a single hub in Lincoln, describing it as schizophrenic behaviour.   

In a letter to deer farmers Allison, Dr Ken Drew, a leader of Invermay deer research for 25 years, and Otago University Professor Frank Griffin urged the industry to voice its concern.

“It is our view that only through concerted industry efforts will the deer research programme be retained at Invermay,” Allison said.

“Attempts to implement the move would almost certainly result in many of the most important deer research staff not moving to the new location, where presently there is no capability to accommodate the approximately 1400 stock units so important for the programme.”

There had been 35 years of investment in fencing and animal-handling capability at Invermay that could not be replicated at Lincoln, where there was no hill country, they said.

The Invermay deer programme has led the development of the NZ deer industry since 1978 and its science has been recognised as world-leading.

The ongoing work with deer resistance and susceptibility to disease was a pillar of the industry, Allison told farmers. 

The proposal to relocate everything to Lincoln in effect disassembled the very sort of co-operation in science that was world class, he said.

AgResearch had made a significant contribution of $1 million to this science only five years ago to establish the chair of genomics and reproduction.

“It seems schizophrenic behaviour to now remove all of that capability.”

Allison said if AgResearch proceeded with its proposed restructure Invermay’s eventual closure would be inevitable.

Related story: Deer industry doubts on AgResearch restructure

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