Thursday, February 22, 2024

Deer industry gets a boost from series of strong sales

Neal Wallace
Sector holds head high with stag tally.
This three-year-old red stag, sold by the Stevens family from the Netherdale Stud in Southland, topped this year’s stag sales at $80,000.
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The deer industry received a welcome confidence boost with the recent series of strong stag and bull sales, headlined by a Netherdale red deer stag in Southland making $80,000.

That confidence was further underpinned by $52,000 paid for a stag sold by Deer Genetics NZ.

Another Southland vendor, Altrive Deer near Gore, sold a velveting stag for $46,000. Peel Forest in Geraldine made $35,000 for a velveting stag, and Black Forest Park at Clinton in South Otago sold a stag for $20,500.

Netherdale owner David Stevens said the top priced stag, Yellow 312, has bloodlines linked back to Emerson, a sire bought several years ago from the Arawata Stud.

Yellow 312, a three-year-old red with 10.02kg of velvet, is a son of Emerson out of a Bronx daughter. He had a sale day weight of 257kg.

Stevens said Emerson is having a major impact on his herd.

He said the stag sale season maintained its momentum right through the 18 sales, which was welcome given recent uncertainty in the velvet and venison markets. 

Prices were back on last year when the top-priced stag, also from Netherdale, sold for $135,000.

PGG Wrightson deer livestock agent Graham Kinsman described the market as strong given the uncertainty with velvet and venison returns.

He said buyers noticeably favoured sires with clean heads of velvet.

In recent years buyers have been less concerned about whether they are buying stags with trophy and velvet heads, but this year they were more selective, ensuring they bought stags for their primary purpose. 

Netherdale sold 23 of the 26 stags it offered for an average of $13,804 in what was Stevens’s 36th and second-to-last stag auction. Next year will be his last, and his hinds and young stock have been sold to Donald, Kathy and Ben Hudson from Geraldine.

At this year’s sale, Deer Genetics NZ sold all 14 offered for an average of $22,892, the highest average achieved this year, and 16 of the 19 hinds offered for a sale average of $3312.

Peel Forest sold all 37 stags offered for an average of $11,714, Altrive Deer sold all 24 offered for an average $15,958 and Black Forest six of the 11 offered for an average of $5722.

Other leading sales were: Forest Road Farm, Hawke’s Bay, $15,000; Peel Forest Est, $13,000; Rothesay Deer, Methven, $19,000; Arawata Deer, Edendale, $16,000; and Wilkins Farming, Ardlussa in Southland, $14,000. 

The top priced wapiti sold was $15,000 for a bull from Tikana Wapiti, Browns, in Southland, while a bull from Clachanburn Elk in the Maniototo sold for $10,000. Clachanburn sold 60 of the 62 bulls offered for an average of $4180.

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