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4 December 2023
Over the Farm Gate
Market Commentary

Taihape venison stud showcase will gauge market strength

Stag sale looking to capitalise on good news around venison schedule. 

One of the New Zealand’s top venison studs is holding its annual on farm sale this month.

Located one kilometre northwest of Taihape, Ruapehu Red Deer’s two-year-old sire stag sale, on 13 December, will offer 30 plus lots. Click here to visit their website.

Paul Hughes, whose professional background is as a vet, started his herd in the 1980s, establishing Ruapehu Red Deer in 2009.

“Since the early days in the herd’s history, most adult hinds have been artificially inseminated every year. In the 1990s we used Maral semen. Since the introduction of DeerSelect in 2008 have had a good opportunity to pursue growth traits, which we have maintained within a maternal focus, hence a bias towards English and New Zealand red deer genetics.

“Our clients need progeny they can sell in September or October at 65 kilograms or more, where the premiums are. They need good growth to enable them to reach that, which is what our BVs aim for.”

This year’s venison returns are on a high while lamb and beef schedules are down, which Paul hopes will have a positive influence on a sale that has built a faithful local following over the years.

“Our regular clients are mostly repeat buyers: farmers that are committed to the deer industry long term, who most commonly finish their own deer. Most of them also farm sheep and beef, so are feeling the current downturn, in which case deer will provide much welcome revenue diversification,” says Paul. 

Regulars at the Ruapehu Red Deer sale in person come from Taihape, Manawatu, Rotorua, the Western Bays, Hawke’s Bay and the East Coast, while bidr is drawing attention from as far afield as Southland. Freight is paid to anywhere within New Zealand.

As a vet, Paul knows how important temperament is in the stags he offers.

“There’s no point in having deer you can’t handle. First and foremost, our stock are selected for their exceptional temperament. Any hind that doesn’t play the game has no place in our herd. We handle them regularly through the AI programme, and on sale day put all the stags through the ring in front of the audience, so it’s plain to see how quiet they are.

“We make every possible use of DeerSelect data, which is a powerful tool and a great asset to the deer industry. While our breeding focus has always remained consistent, more precise evaluations in recent years have enabled huge progress with growth genetics, which we are delighted to pass on to our customers,” says Paul.

PGG Wrightson Taihape livestock representative Gareth Williams has worked with Ruapehu Red Deer for many years. He describes it as one of New Zealand’s best for deer genetics.

“We’re looking forward to an excellent sale day, particularly with the current good news around venison returns. Paul Hughes produces some of the country’s highest growth red deer stags and has worked hard to develop an enthusiastic gallery of discerning clients for the genetics he has to offer. We expect their response at the sale will further underline that,” says Gareth.

You can also watch the auction online, view the lots and see the catalogue with bidr here

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