Deer produce a lean meat and valuable antler velvet. They perform well in a range of Australian temperate environments. The AgriFutures Deer Program aims to direct research, development and extension (RD&E) that contributes to the profitability, sustainability and productivity of this industry.

The AgriFutures Deer Program works closely with deer farmers to partner in new RD&E investment including investigation of effective feeding, nutrition, genetics and market development for competitiveness along the farmed venison and velvet supply chains.

Key components of the AgriFutures Deer Program include improved handling and restraint facilities, improved genetics, research to identify impediments to deer processing, research on opportunities for multi-species processing, and extension and training for producers on working with processors to facilitate deer handling and slaughter.

Over three decades, AgriFutures Deer Program has generated more than 50 reports on deer production, processing, marketing and the industry.

Deer were introduced to Australia during the 19th century and six species now form the basis of the Australian deer industry. Deer farms in Australia are often integrated as agritourism enterprises.

In addition to venison (meat), other deer products include: velvet antler, skins and co-products such as tails and blood used in traditional Eastern medicine. Approximately 85 per cent of venison and more than 95 per cent of velvet antler is exported.

Funding

AgriFutures Deer Program is responsible for the expenditure of the R&D component of the  statutory deer slaughter levy. The levy was first introduced in July 1992 and deer that are slaughtered at an abattoir for human consumption attract the deer slaughter levy. AgriFutures Australia also receives matching funding from the Australian Government. This is allocated to the Program at 50c per dollar of the program’s eligible expenditure.

Download latest income and expenditure statement

Australian primary industries that choose to invest in the levies system prescribe the amount of levy or charge applied to a commodity under the Primary Industries (Customs) Charges Act 1999, Primary Industries (Excise) Levies Act 1999, National Residue Survey (Customs) Levy Act 1998 and the National Residue Survey (Excise) Levy Act 1998.

AgriFutures Australia receives the research and development (R&D) levy allocation to invest in line with the industry objectives of the Program’s Strategic RD&E Plan. The Levy is collected and distributed via the Department of Agriculture. For more information, visit the Department of Agriculture Water and the Environment website.

Contact

John Smith

General Manager, Research

john.smith@agrifutures.com.au

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Research in Progress - Deer 2007-2008