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All members changed velvet stag feeding regime

Southland Wapiti Advance Party: At the beginning of March 2017 this AP had been running for two years. There are nine farms currently in the group. Since we started we have lost one member (retired from farming) and gained two new members. The group is spread geographically from the Te Anau basin, through Central Southland to South Otago. There is an interesting mix of farm systems in the group ranging from stud breeders to commercial finishers using Wapiti terminals. A good number also have a velvet component to their operation.

While all in the group have committed to a project or projects within their own farming operation to focus on, there have been a lot of gains and improvements that have been made apart from these. One which has been applied across a number in the group is in regards grain feeding. While it is common knowledge that crushing grain prior to feeding improves digestability and utilisation (no whole grain is visible in faeces) there are practical hassles with this. Deer specific nuts are at face value more expensive but the high utilisation makes them a much better option and in many cases provides a vehicle for additional copper supplement. Those in the group with velveting stags are all feeding nuts strategically – post rut/prewinter and around button drop until quality grass is available.