22 Feb 2024

Overseas demand for NZ deer meat driving record farmgate prices

From Nine To Noon, 9:35 am on 22 February 2024

Since the 1970s New Zealand has been running large-scale commercial deer farms and exporting the meat overseas.

However, it's a particular type of deer that has made headlines recently.

Elk and the Fiordland specific species, wapiti, have been fetching record prices on South Island farms.

Vendors have attributed the high prices to an increased appetite for bigger cuts in North America.

However, industry members maintain better marketing and almost year-round supply is helping New Zealand elk make inroads.

Another factor adding to the demand is chronic wasting disease - known as the 'zombie deer disease' - which has decimated the local market in North America. 

British Columbia in Canada has just released a strategy to combat the spread of the disease across the continent.

Grant Hasse owns Hasse Elk Farm in mid-Canterbury and is the Deer Industry New Zealand elk  / wapiti president. Innes Moffat is the chief executive of the Deer Industry of New Zealand.

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Photo: RNZ/Cosmo Kentish-Barnes