Bruce and Jenny Paterson are to host the Southland Next Generation Advance Party's (NGAP) regional field day on their Lower Scotts Gap property at the end of the month.

Mr Paterson said the October 30 field day would include keynote speaker, PGG Wrightson agronomist Brian Young.

He said the field day was not just for Southland NGAP programme as all farmers and other interested people were invited.

Several members, including Mr Paterson, had been carrying out small research projects on their own properties, and six or seven intended to talk about their studies and their conclusions.


Mr Paterson was interested in copper deficiencies, which caused swayback (enzootic ataxia) in fawns.

''It has been recognised it is tied in with sulphur.''

He said his conclusions would form part of his presentation.

Mr and Mrs Paterson run DNA-recorded and commercial English red and elk-crossed deer on their two blocks.

Mrs Paterson is a part-time veterinarian with Otautau Vets, and they have three daughters: Laura (7), Stephanie (5) and Nadia (2).

''I am passionate about velvet and venison,'' he said.

Dalmore is their 120ha home property and the other, at Feldwick, is 160ha.

They run 295 DNA-tested English red recorded hinds, including 73 R2 and the rest are mixed age.


In addition they have 313 commercial red hinds mated to elk bulls this year.

''We are also breeding for velvet with heavy weights without comprising on style or conformation.''

Their scanning percentage was 94% last year.

The 2- and 3-year-old hinds scanned at 87.8%.

They weaned 264 velvet fawns this year as well as 218 elk-cross fawns, and 207 red venison fawns.

''This year we wintered 260 mixed-age stags, and 106 R2 stags,'' Mr Paterson said.

''Last year our mixed-age stags averaged 6.46kg in velvet, not including regrowth.

''We don't select for regrowth as we don't weigh it.''

Last year's 2-year-olds averaged 3.54kg, which he said was down by about 400g on average compared to the previous year as there had been a drought last summer, which he said ''really smoked them''.

''We have been DNA-testing the fawns for the past seven or eight years, and before that we used binoculars,'' he said.

They would watch the mums and fawns to determine which fawn fed from which mum.

''That means we have a genetic trail back to the late 1970's.

''Our parentage goes all the way back to the bush as our first deer were from there, using helicopter trappings.''

In addition they run 23 beef cattle, which they bought as weaners in April, then grow them on to kill at about 330kg.

Mr Paterson said one of his key drivers was stock improvement and he would buy in stags most years, and then use AI.

In the past few years he has bought stags from Altrive in Riversdale and Peel Forest in Geraldine.

He culls for bad 'grumpy' temperaments and breeds for early maturing animals with good growth rates and good conformation.

Mr Paterson is on the Southland Deer Farmers Association committee and is the chairman of the National Velvet and Trophy Antler Competition committee.