The New Zealand Deer Industry set productivity improvement targets in 2012 for the following 10 years, many related to breeding hinds. Increasing progeny carcass weight was the key trait of interest outside of hind reproductive performance. In this study, the productive output of dams was investigated. Data were collected from red deer and wapiti crossbred progeny (n=2289) born and raised on three farms over five years (2011-2015) from red deer dams (n=1353), mated to 51 red or wapiti stags. Data were analysed using a restricted-maximum likelihood (REML) mixed-model approach to produce predictive models of dam production outputs across a range of dam live weight. The most influential fixed effect in the model was sex, followed by dam mature weight. Predictions were made for progeny carcass weight of male red deer, and of male and female wapiti crossbreds at a mean slaughter age of 348 days from dam mature live weight. For the PIP target 115 kg red deer dam, the goal of a 64 kg progeny carcass was not achieved in this population, with a 115kg red deer dam predicted to produce 58.0, 63.0 and 54.5 (SEM 0.7, 0.9 and 0.9) kg carcasses for red male, wapiti crossbred male and females respectively. Industry should increase selection for hind productive efficiency.

JF Ward, and ED Meenken

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 78, Rotorua, 62-65, 2018
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