In New Zealand deer as an established farmed animal have the ability to offer a diverse income stream. Originally velvet and venison were the key products derived from farmed deer.
Elk and Wapiti play the biggest role in the New Zealand deer industry simply by virtue of their genetic contribution to a global venison business. It is esimated that at least 70 per cent of rising one year deer sent to slaughter are sired by elk and wapiti bulls. Elk Wapiti venison sires are the key to productivity and volume in venison prodction.
Elk Supreme velvet although not as plentiful as red deer in volume has been a treasured product by international buyers. New Zealand wapiti also have a pivotal part to play in the New Zealand trophy hunting industry and for many international hunters heading down to the South Pacific taking a New Zealand wapiti trophy bull home is a must.
Of late other potential income opportunities have been investigated and early indications of the elk milk cheese making endeavours show massive potential. Also we have again had recent interest in elk hair (fibre) for the production of extremely high end micron yarn.
In summary it is hard not to ignore the variety of products that can be generated from farming elk in New Zealand and the passionate breeders and farmers using them do so because they are acutely aware of the opportunities this magnificent animal offers.
New Zealands biggest velvet producing bull to date "Trilogy" seen here growing out to hard antler in 2012. In 2011 he produced an elk Supreme velvet head of 25.340kg