[24 September/ Rural News Group]

An ANZ agri-report published recently said although challenges are present from competing land use and a decrease in the national deer herd, the deer industry is well positioned to fulfil New Zealand’s goal to provide high-quality protein products to global customers. The report highlighted the industry‚Äôs continued tight livestock supply and increasing global demand for venison. Both supply and demand were helping returns reach all-time highs in the 2017-18 year, a $9/kg schedule price. Deer Industry NZ reports the sector is enjoying a highly stable supply period. Total slaughter numbers are levelling off at about 300,000 and breeding hind numbers sit at 400, 00. Bayleys rural agent, Ben Turner, said some of the hill country where sheep have typically been stocked might deliver a better return in deer. ANZ analysts say the increase in venison reflects the consumer trend towards grass fed, high-quality proteins that are not genetically modified and treated with hormones or antibiotics.