Location - Whitecliffs, Central Canterbury foothills
Owner - Evan Frew
Manager - Andy Keating
Located in Whitecliffs is the 1200 hectares of Wakaepa Farm. Farming a large herd of Red and Wapiti, cross deer bred for both venison and velvet production, Evan and Andy have an integrated stocking system - with crossbred sheep and beef cattle also farmed on the property.
With the right systems, along with new and improved genetics and pastures, Wakaepa Farm is producing high-quality Mountain River Venison.
The land comprises a balance of both hill country and flat land which is being developed with the addition of centre-pivot irrigation. The hill country is used primarily for the breeding stock and the flat land is used to grow the best possible pastures to maximise the growth of the young stock before harvest.
A primary pasture mixture of red clover, white clover and plantain is grown on the flat land with other paddocks also growing lucerne, kale, rape and greenfeed cereal species such as oats and ryecorn.
Irrigation has meant Wakaepa can supply prime deer for a more extended period during the year, and at heavier weights. The hill country pastures are typically native species over-sown with clovers and plantain.
As for the stock, 1,300 are hinds weaning up to 1,200 fawns and there are 300 stags for velvet production and breeding. The breeding stock are fed supplements during the winter and are rotated around the paddocks while sire stags are kept on the hill year-round.
Backed by an experienced team of staff, Evan and Andy have great enthusiasm for the deer industry and extensive backgrounds in the handling and raising of deer.
Wakaepa Farm illustrates that with land at the foothills of the Southern Alps, the right systems combined with investment in new and improved genetics and pastures, they can increase production of high-quality venison within the one farm. They intend to continue with the expansion of deer numbers in the years to come.