Traceability adding value for deer farmers

Date 9 October 2020

Deer farmers are becoming more aware of the value of animal traceability and increasing engagement with NAIT.

Solis Norton, project manager from deer health and productivity organisation, Deer PRO, says he credits NAIT for being able to provide more accurate growth and productivity information to farmers.

The industry standard for deer age reporting had previously been either under or over three, which made it tricky to calculate growth rates, he said.

“Over the last couple of years OSPRI has included a birth year when tags are registered which has been a huge help.

“Because of that, the information we collect from NAIT compliant farmers complement all the other data we collect, and we’ve been able to provide substantially more accurate reporting, which is a huge step forward for us.

"This adds a lot of value to the information we provide farmers. It ensures we are putting some real productivity numbers for a farmer’s own deer in front of them – real figures and graphs to show how they are getting on without having to worry about weigh scales or spreadsheets.”

Solis estimated that approximately 60% of deer farmers are NAIT compliant and encouraged those who weren’t to talk to OSPRI.

Deer farmers have the same NAIT obligations as beef and dairy farmers since coming into the scheme in 2016.

“There are real benefits to tagging and registering your deer on NAIT. While obviously it helps from a disease management perspective, the reports we can provide farmers encourage them to really start thinking about the numbers and what it means for their business or farming system, including productivity from an animal health perspective.

“Farmers are getting better information and they have to do virtually nothing for it.”