Thursday, 01 February 2024 09:55

Deer pioneers out on a high

Written by  Staff Reporters
David and Lynley Stevens have finished up running the well-known Northern Southland Netherdale Red Deer Stud. David and Lynley Stevens have finished up running the well-known Northern Southland Netherdale Red Deer Stud.

David and Lynley Stevens have finished up running the well-known Northern Southland Netherdale Red Deer Stud and have gone out on a high.

A final bid of $100,000 for an award-winning stag was the highlight of the final sale for the velvet deer breeder. At the sale, held earlier this month, a total 24, three-year-old sire stags were sold for an average of $19,000 - including the top price of $100,000.

Closing the stud will allow the couple to get away from the farm when they wanted. In retirement, they will continue to live and farm at Netherdale. Stevens says he will also provide advice to the Hudson family, of South Canterbury who have purchased the stud in 2022, to ensure a "seamless shift" of his deer into their farm operation.

Stevens first went in deer farming back in 1982. In those early years, the herd was culled hard for temperament with strong emphasis placed on velvet production. Deer were imported from the UK and Europe to improve the genetics enhancing existing bloodlines. A Netherdale stag set a record price for the stud when it sold for $135,000 in 2022.

During the 1980s, AI, embryo transfer and embryo splitting were carried out making for very exciting times within the deer industry.

In 1996, a deer complex was built, at which stag sales have been held annually with the 37th and last sale being held in 2024.

Over the years, Netherdale has featured consistently in the NZ National Velvet & Trophy Antler Awards winning the three-year-old class many times. The 2024 sire sale saw an average of velvet weight of 9kg per animal.

Stevens has also dedicated four decades of membership and service with the New Zealand Deer Farmers Association (NZDFA). He was national president from 1999 to 2001 and served as the past-chairman of the NZDFA Selection & Appointment Panel, a member of the NVSB, as well as maintaining an active role in the Southland Committee.

In recognition of his remarkable commitment to deer farming in NZ, Stevens was honoured in 2015 with a NZDFA Life membership and the esteemed Deer Industry Award. He was also given a life membership award in 2006 of the Southland Deef Farmers Branch.

While the Stevens have wound down their stud operation, they remain committed to the deer industry.

They will continue to live at Netherdale and farm a small herd of 100 hinds and a flock of Wiltshire sheep. Their daughter Tania and her husband Alan Clarke will continue to lease part of the property.

More like this

Norwood appoints new CEO

Farm machinery importer and retailer Norwood has announced the appointment of Aaron Smith as the new chief executive officer of CB Norwood Distributors Limited.

Turkish delight for tractor maker

Late last year saw a lifeline thrown to plus-sized tractor manufacturer Buhler Industries, via its acquisition by Turkish business ASKO Holding.

A handy piece

Handypiece is a fully portable shearing handpiece being used by thousands of farmers and ag workers, in diverse roles across the globe.

Reduce your weed burden

Weed wiping has taken many formats over the last 50 years or more, with some systems achieving much better results than others.

New technology shows a better way to spray

Agri-tech innovation company MagrowTec has announced a national distribution agreement with spray equipment manufacturer Croplands who operate via a network of more than 170 dealerships across the Australian and New Zealand territories.

Featured

Lower Aus exports, good news for NZ

Australia's dairy import and export mix is "slowly trading places" with export volumes falling sharply in recent years while imports have spiked, according to Rabobank.

Taylor-made for recovery

A year ago, Cyclone Gabrielle wreaked havoc at family-owned Taylors orchard and packhouse in Hawke's Bay.

Covid's urban/rural divide

According to a new study from the University of Otago, there was a visible rural/urban divide in Covid-19 vaccination rates.

Long-term plan needed

Well before Cyclone Gabrielle struck, Richard Burke was advocating for a long-term sustainable infrastructure plan for the Tairawhiti region.

National

An annual event?

Meat Industry Association chief executive, Sirma Karapeeva, says she hopes that National Lamb Day will now take place every year.

Selling the value of lamb

The meat industry has a job to sell the value proposition of lamb, says Agriculture Minister Todd McClay.

Winning back farmer trust

One year into her role as Beef + Lamb New Zealand chair, Kate Acland is continuing to work hard and…

Tough times on farm

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chair Kate Acland says while farmers are quite positive about the new Government, the economic…

Machinery & Products

Norwood's deal with SKY

Norwood has signed an exclusive New Zealand distribution agreement with the Burel Group for the SKY Agriculture brand.

Killing weed seeds in a single pass

John Deere's X-Series Combine Harvesters can now be complemented by the advanced weed control capability of Redekop’s Seed Control Unit…

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Bureaucratic insanity

OPINION: The Hound reckons if farmers in this country think they've got a problem with the small-minded officious bureaucrats imposing…

Tone deaf?

OPINION: Your old mate can't believe the absolute brass neck of the directors at Beef + Lamb NZ who are…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter