Business Rural Summer 2021

38 | Awards recognise environmental vision Forest Road Deer Farm’s Grant and Sally Charteris. Inset: Winning the 2021 Elworthy Award. Karen Phelps E nvironmental stewardship must go hand in hand with running a productive farm, says win- ners of the 2021 Elworthy Award, the premier environmental accolade for deer farmers, Grant and Sally Charteris from Forest Road Farm in Central Hawke’s Bay. “Productivity is important because without that you can’t afford to do the environmental stuff,” says Grant. He says a passion for the industry coupled with a passion for the environment led them to enter the awards. “We want to set up a platform for the next generation to market products to the world. We don’t know what the next generation will face but by enhancing biodiversity, water quality and the whole ecosystem it will give them something to launch off.” The biennial deer environmental awards celebrated the couple’s active farm environment and business plans and involvement in the deer industry’s productivity and environmental activities. DEER » Forest Road Deer Farm Tikokino School children putting Eco surrounds around native plants around a waterway in a retired area at Forest Road Farm. The Charterises were noted by the judges for their meticulous planning, documentation and analysis, which informs their stock and feed management in their district’s challenging climate. Forest Road Farm is a 327-hectare red deer stud and velvet operation, which also runs some beef cattle and Wiltshire sheep. The environment is being progressively protected and enhanced by the couple with gullies and stream banks fenced off and planted in trees to reduce soil erosion and to minimise sediment run-off. The Charterises have planted more than 15,000 native trees over the past few years, with more planned. Soil protection is a key focus and, for example, care is taken when selecting paddocks for cropping and buffer strips of non-cultivated land are left alongside gullies. Break feeding of crops is avoided and high grass covers are maintained on pasture. A sound understanding of the land and how stock graze it underpins everything they do. “For every action there is a reaction or effect. It’s about understanding how to mitigate any nega- tive effects going forward as well as maximising production.” Grant says that the Class 6 rolling to steep hill country property is challenging to farm to current regulations and he doesn’t like to think that it might one day be easier for the next farmers to take over the land to simply plant it in trees but acknowledges this is a risk. As well as winning the premier award the Char- terises won a further new category award, the Dr Gyong Jai Lee Award for leading, environmentally sustainable, velvet farming. They say their work to improve the land will never end. “There is no such thing as a finished environ- mental plan or project and we have a good idea of where we are heading going forward.” Forest Road Deer Farm has its annual on-farm sale coming up on 10 December at 12.30pm where the Charterises will offer 15-20 three year old velvet sire stags and up to 100 yearling hinds with top velvet genetics for farmers to purchase for capital stock to the market. Grant says they focus on breeding an extremely tidy high quality heavy beamed velvet animal. This is in addition to other important qualities such as temperament and fertility and maintaining good body size sire stags. The result is robust animals that can perform well in any environment. Due to the unpredictability of the pandemic For- est Road Deer Farm will hold a hybrid auction this year with a physical sale on farm as well as online system through Bidr. Grant says the farm’s website – – will showcase the animals so that people can have utmost confi- dence in placing bids online sight unseen. Although Covid-19 has had a negative impact on the price of venison, due in part to the indus- try’s successful marketing of the product, which has seen it in demand by top restaurants globally, Grant says that he expects the industry to bounce back quickly in 2022. Velvet prices have continued to rise throughout the pandemic. “New Zealand velvet is recognised as the number one in the world due to our QA and farm quality systems and traceability of products. For those in the industry that stick it out the rewards will be there.” “We want to set up a platform for the next generation to market products to the world.” THREE YEAR OLD VELVET SIRE AND YEARLING HIND SALE Visit our new Website - Friday 10 December 2021 | 12.30pm | Viewing from 11.30am Fifth on Farm Auction 902 Gwavas Rd, Tikokino, Hawkes Bay | Grant 027 230 8531 | Visit us at, or on Facebook@Forest Road Farm - NZ Red Deer Lazarus 13.05kg @ 5yr PROGENY FROM OUR TOP VELVET SIRES Brexit 10.7kg @ 4yr • Even Stevens 11.8kg @ 7yr • Richter 10.8kg @ 4yr Gump 10.3kg @ 6yr • Patriot 9.5 @ 5yr Yearling hinds will be sold in sire group and are progeny from some of the above stags plus progeny of new sires Lazarus 10.9kg @ 4yr • Forbes 9.3kgs SA @ 5yr • Omar 11.4kg @ 6yr All of the yearling hinds on offer will be a great way to cement some great velvet genetics for the years to come! Lynne Rhodes AI specialises in the arti cial insemination of Red Deer and Elk Use the proven professionalism, skill and experience of Lynne Rhodes AI Ltd to improve your herd genetics. Lynne proudly supports Forest Road Deer Farm Mobile 0274 952 461 | E-mail |