South Canterbury deer farms join forces for 'feed for profit' project

Dave Morgan is part of a DEEResearch "feed to profit" initiative to spread interest among South Canterbury and North ...

Dave Morgan is part of a DEEResearch "feed to profit" initiative to spread interest among South Canterbury and North Otago deer farmers.

Martin Rupert of Mt Peel and Dave Morgan of Raincliff Station have teamed up in a DEEResearch funded project aimed at giving South Canterbury deer farmers the chance to pool skills, knowledge and experience.

The focus farms have informal field days allowing participants the opportunity to discuss shared issues. 

"It's pretty basic. The theme is "feed to profit." We all have to feed stock well to make a profit," said Morgan.

"As  focus farms, we are trying to spread the interest  amongst South Canterbury and North Otago deer farmers. When they come to us for a field day I hope they are going to get good value. There are two on-farm and a couple of associated field days which could be off-farm; for example a day on the benefits of electronic tags and drafting three-ways."

"Feed, environment, genetics, succession and stock class integration - we are looking to optimise every one of these. Stock class integration means trying to mix the right stock with the right grass growing curve."

Morgan said he analysed the strengths, weakness, opportunities  and threats of his operation.

The strengths included the scale, the environmental awareness, the complimentary land classes and the fact that his was a family business.

Weaknesses included the high proportion of income from deer, the heavy clay soils on part of the farm and the summer dry. Morgan also suspected the property was over-capitalised.

"We paired up with the Rupert family because we are both trying to operate in the top five per cent of the industry," he said.

 "We are both producing quite a lot of velvet but I have a venison slant as well because I have the elk/ wapiti herd."

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"Feed for profit is about information exchange. We also have to get something out of it as a farm. I see it as a challenge to improve our per hectare game. To feed better, produce better genetics, do a better job."


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