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4 December 2023
Over the Farm Gate
Market Commentary

Era ending sale for Southland deer industry stalwart

 Final event at Netherdale will be a highlight of this season’s stag sales.

One of Southland’s most respected deer breeders will end an era early in the new year.

Netherdale Red Deer Stud, has been a key part of the deer industry in Southland for more than a generation. In 1979 David Stevens introduced wild deer captured by helicopter onto the Balfour property that has been in his family since 1881. On 10 January Netherdale will hold its 37th and final annual stag sale, most of the rest of the hind stud herd having sold to Donald, Ben and Cathy Hudson, of Ardleigh Farms in Geraldine last year.

 As well as the sale of up to 28 remaining three-year-old stags, and a few Wiltshire rams bred by David’s wife Lynley, the occasion is set to be something of a celebration for the Stevens family.

 “We want to thank people in the industry who we have been associated with through the years. We’ve heard quite a few are going to come along, even some who are no longer involved in deer, though have been in the past. We’re doing the sale a little differently this year, starting at midday, then putting on lunch and drinks afterwards. It could be a reasonably long afternoon, saying thank you and catching up with people,” says David.

 Graham Kinsman, New Zealand Deer Genetics Manager for PGG Wrightson Livestock, is one deer industry figure looking forward to the Netherdale sale.

 “Right from the start, David has been one of the main stalwarts of the deer industry. From the word go he has given a huge amount of his time, knowledge and goodwill to it, to the great benefit of farmers and others with a stake in deer.

Graham will conduct the sale alongside PGG Wrightson Livestock deer specialist Ben Beadle.

 This season’s stag sales start on 11 December, continuing through until January, with most also offered on bidr. Graham Kinsman expects results in line with recent years.

 “Sales of stags are generally influenced by returns for velvet. Stock numbers coming through for the upcoming sales are consistent with previous years. Buyers at these sales are a loyal fraternity, so although values for velvet are down somewhat this year, prices paid for the stags on offer are not likely to differ too much from those paid last year.”

 Buoyancy in the deer trophy market may have a positive influence on some stag sales.

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