Business Rural Summer 2021

40 | ‘Forresters’ hitting Russell Fredric DEER » Peel Forest Estate “Special consideration of all traits, quantifiable or not, must be considered to achieve maximum genetic improvement.” While good growth rates are important, the equally important traits of healthy, resilient deer with quiet temperament, strong constitution and correct conformation are the essence of Peel Forest Estate bred Forrester bloodlines. “With the Forrester’s we’ve been concentrating putting heavy velvet into them for quite a few years now breeding-wise.” Forrester’s are first and foremost bred for their meat, however velvet production still matters. In today’s post Covid-19 climate it is more impor- tant than ever to achieve the maximum monetary potential out of yearlings before they are sent for processing, Mark says. “We want the spiker progeny to cut more velvet before they go to the works – it’s worth a lot of money.” The estate’s clients are averaging half a kilogram of velvet before the deer are sent for processing. “Last year grade-one spiker velvet was worth $1.75 a kilogram.” This equated to increasing the carcass pay- ment by $1.50 a kilogram more than the venison schedule price. “Clients using Forrester progeny are finding that spiker velvet is occurring earlier so a good propor- tion of the October kill do have good spikes.” However if a farming model allows, it is still well worth some farmers holding onto their animals a lit- tle longer considering feed cost versus extra weight gains and more velvet. Photos: Peel Forest Estate’s Forrester bloodlines are bred for hardiness, solid body conformation, fertility, pass-on growth to their offspring and impressive velvet attributes. Three-year-old Forresters (above). P eel Forest Estate’s Forrester deer programme has been making some outstanding advance- ments in recent years, especially focusing on traits that increase the well-being and profitability of their client’s deer herds. Stud manager Mark Tapley says Peel Forest Estate’s Forrester bloodlines are bred for hardiness, solid body conformation, fertility, pass-on growth to their offspring and impressive velvet attributes. While Forrester’s comprise English and German bloodlines, the estate is focusing strongly on the breeds English genetics. This focus on English genetics saw the estate purchase a herd from the award-winning Winder- mere Stud, Hamilton, in 2012 along with another English herd from Pampas Heights in 2017. Forrester’s are unique to the estate in that these sires not only increase productivity through their superior genetics for growth rates, hardiness and heavy velvet, but also have Johne’s resilience ge- netics that will enhance profitability by considerably reducing stock losses and production losses. High CARLA ratings for parasite resistance is also a feature of the estate’s deer. It is vital for farmers to select a diverse range of traits to develop the type of animal that is ideal for their farm topography, environment and manage- ment style, Mark says. “The days of picking a stag on the one specific (breeding value) trait of 12 month growth are gone. To breed a herd of highly productive, healthy deer a range of traits needs to be incorporated. 168 Talbot St • 03 693 9397 / 022 406 8180 • sales@geraldineitm.co.nz Proud Supporters of Peel Forest Estate Your local suppliers of: • Farm Fence Netting • Fence Posts • Tornado Gates • Strainers • Pole Sheds • General Timber & Hardware

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