Capitalising on Peel Forest Estate’s rugged hill country – an environment where deer thrive – and using our own bespoke breeding system, we create hardy, fertile and fast-growing deer responsible for producing some of the world’s finest venison. And lots of it!
The Simple System
The secret to our venison lies in a sophisticated breeding programme we developed in-house. Named ‘The Simple System’, it uses hand-picked Maternal Sires (Forresters) to produce hardy, fertile breeding hinds and dedicated Terminal Sires (B11s). The result is fast-grown progeny and maximum productivity.
Alongside their superior growth-rate genetics and inherent hardiness (both of which contribute to increased productivity), these Sires also have Johne’s resilient genetics. This reduces livestock and production losses, further enhancing profitability.
The Hill Block
The Hill Block is a 3,000-acre parcel of tough hill country which is perfect for testing our genetics, particularly for the venison industry. This well-fenced area mirrors the environments many of our clients operate in, allowing us to test and run our animals in the same types of conditions they’re likely to encounter later on.
We fawn approx. 1,400 hinds on the block (with a fawning percentage of 98%) and run more than 500 stags there during the rut. All deer are mustered off with helicopters and run back down to the flats.
Johne’s Research at Peel Forest Estate
In the early 2000s we launched an aggressive initiative to tackle the threat of Johne’s. We began by calling in Professor Frank Griffin, Head of Microbiology at the University of Otago. Armed with ten years’ worth of comprehensive data on the pedigree of our herds, combined with extensive annual blood testing, Frank has been able to determine the susceptibility and resilience to Johne’s between our breeds and bloodlines.
Dr Colin Mackintosh of AgResearcg also conducted trials, establishing that susceptibility and resilience to Johne’s is very heritable.
As a result, our stags were able to rid themselves of the disease, with the heritability of the Johne’s resilient trait in our animals ensuring their ability to fight the disease on our client’s properties. This is in stark contrast to progeny from a susceptible sire, where the development of the disease is virtually uncontrollable.