Our objective is simple and straightforward: to use our quality genetics to create the maximum profitability for every commercial venison farmer in New Zealand.
From Bluff to Northland, our clients live and work in a range of different environments and climates. Each region and farm has its own challenges to be considered along with the commercial goals of each individual farmer.
Our large breeding programmes, with intensive use of embryo transfer, mean we are able to produce a large number of high-quality stags and breeding females. The scale of our operation allows us to breed a superior generation of stags.
Turning over generations quickly enables us to select the best outliers as well as cull any animals that are not up to Melior’s high standards, be it in structure or in performance.
Progeny testing gives our breeding values a higher level of accuracy. The large number of relatives and progeny measure the reliability of the genetics that are passed on to the following generations.
We have two breeding programmes, created to meet the demand from high-performing farmers across different farming environments.
HIGH GROWTH RATE PROGRAMME
This programme focuses on fast growth rate Red Deer genetics combined with primary carcass traits including productivity, constitution and temperament. With our large-scale operation, we are also able to apply selection pressure to productive and non-productive traits alike, to create a superior animal.
These animals tend to be bigger framed and can be used as terminal or maternal sire or both, depending on your environment.
50% ENGLISH PROGRAMME
This programme is based on 50% English Red Deer and while not having as fast growth rates, these animals have a more moderate mature size and bring some benefits of the English hardiness and conformation. As with our High Growth Rate Programme, growth rate, carcass traits, conformation and temperament remain key areas of focus. For the discerning client who requires a dual purpose animal, we place selection pressure on velvet style and weight, while not sacrificing any of the prior traits.
Our duty of care includes a cautious approach to biosecurity, which has been a priority for us since 2003. As we have witnessed with the M.Bovis outbreak in the New Zealand industry, prudent and careful management is essential to mitigate biosecurity risk.
The stud operates closed herds with no animals brought into our farms, only semen and embryos under strict controlled conditions. All vehicles, machinery and equipment are washed prior to entry.
Like most farms in New Zealand, there is a small level of Johnes present on our farm. Every year we test all yearlings for Johnes, and any animal that returns a positive result is culled immediately.
An important part of testing our animals is to apply stress to them as they would encounter in a commercial situation. Minimal drench is used which helps bring stress-related diseases to the fore for quick identification of animals requiring culling.