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Manfeild welcoming deer expo

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Tony Gray, on his Pohangina farm, says the upcoming Deer Tech Expo at Manfeild Park is a good opportunity for anyone involved with, or interested in, farming this animal.

DEER farmer desire to keep up with the latest from agricultural services and technology experts has inspired an expo coming to Manfeild Stadium.

The Deer Tech Expo at the Feilding facility on June 28 is a North Island first that looks good to draw widespread interest.

More than 25 experts spanning a wide variety of specialist areas - from nutrition to environmental stewardship and cloud-based record-keeping - are involved.

Their support shows the value of what promises to be a hugely educational day says Tony Gray, who farms deer on a property in Manawatu’s Pohangina Valley and chairs the Deer Farmers’ Association central regions branch.

"Most deer are integrated into sheep and beef operations, so the conversations are always wide ranging," he noted.

"But giving the day a specific deer theme allows attendees to focus on the deer components of their operations."

The Tech Expo allows for a non-commercial setting with displays and presentations specific to products and services related to deer farming, with time for questions and ongoing discussions at stands.

Mr Gray anticipates the majority of attendees will be drawn from the lower North Island, mainly from within the regional area he represents. This spans Manawatu, Rangitikei, Whanganui and Horowhenua. Some Tararua farmers have also registered an interest.

Deer farming is presently enjoying a period of strong returns and there is a relatively strong following within this part of New Zealand, he attests.

"Over the years deer income has been reasonably average at times but we have stayed with deer mainly to spread our risks."

His own herd, of just 300 animals, mainly hinds, is probably "at the smaller end" of the local scale. Others in his immediate area have double this count. Red deer are commonly favoured, though some use wapiti sires to enhance animal size and robustness.

He says one thing everyone learns about deer is that they are not always as docile as appearance suggests. The key for successful handling is patience, keeping calm and reading their mood. This is an animal that often has its own agenda and refuses to be pushed around.

"We love having deer because they are different.

If people are scared, deer pick it up very quickly. They’re not quite like Bambi - if you want to go anywhere in a hurry with deer you are doomed to fail. If you push them they’ll go right over you."

The day-long expo spans farm and stock record-keeping and data analysis, nutrition, nutrient management, health, parasite management, feed types and supplements, virtual fencing, reproduction and breeding, animal weight and improvement and environmental stewardship.

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