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Harvesting spiker velvet.

Delaying kill date to take a cut of velvet off spikers improves profit and management.

In the 2015/16 season two farms delayed the kill date of spikers to evaluate the cost benefit. In that season despite a drop in schedule with the later kill there was a significant bottom line advantage. The value of the velvet plus the additional weight gain far outweighed the schedule drop (actual figures have been published here).  www.ap.org.nz/projects/effect-of-delayed-kill-date-on-net-income.

 

Both farms have repeated the exercise this 2016/17 season and with the minimal schedule drop there was an even better financial return.

Another huge benefit on one farm was the ability to select which spikers would be best retained for velvet (based on pedicle circumference).

The spikers in the picture above, in previous years, would have been sent to slaughter based on bodyweight before they even grew spikes.

Very hard to put a $ value on this aspect.