Venison production from weaner red deer stags grazing Moata annual ryegrass or perennial ryegrass pastures : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in animal science at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

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Massey University
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Four grazing experiments were conducted with red deer stags, three with weaner stags (start 6 months old ; end 12 months old) and one with yearling stags (start 15 months old; end 21 months old). In New Zealand (NZ) the calving season for red deer is during late spring/early summer (November/December) and the calves are normally weaned in late February/early March. The price schedule for venison is highest during August to November, in response to Northern Hemisphere export market demand and is greater for carcasses of 50 kg or above. However, there is no well defined system for meat production from deer. The objective of these studies was to evaluate different systems of growing red deer stags to a slaughter liveweight (LW) of 92 kg (>50 kg carcass weight (CW)) by one year of age or less, by the end of November. Thus an attempt was made to define a system of meat production from deer that was most profitable to NZ venison producers. [... full abstract in file 01_front]
Red deer, Stags, Red deer growth, Deer pasture, Ryegrass