Breeding for the Future

Wilkins Farming takes pride in breeding high performing livestock that provide the market with a superior product. This is achieved through selective breeding and high feeding standards. This top quality product is then delivered to the market whether it be meat on the shelf or genetics available for breeding.

Below is the PGG Wrightson Stud tour video that recently was shown on RuralTV.

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Deer Unit

Breeding for the Future

Wilkins Farming Ltd run a full commercial mob of breeding hinds and stags for venison and velvet production bred from superior pure Eastern and European genetics.

WFL have available for sale a range of herd sires and a limited number of trophy quality stags annually. They have breeding hinds available for sale and high quality semen from some of their best performing stags.

WFL have been continuously striving to breed European red deer for trophy, velvet and growth rate for large-scale commercial use.

To continue their ongoing herd improvement they have recently purchased the Stanfield Eastern Stud to continue genetic and production improvements which enforces their goal of using the best genetics available at the time and the use of the latest technology, including CT and ultrasound scanning.

Go here for the latest South Island Stag Sale Catalogue

Go here for the latest North Island Stag Sale Catalogue


Our aim is to produce high growth rate progeny from an efficient maternal weight hind through the use of the latest technology and best genetics available at the time.


Originally Sharrow Farm (now known as Wilkins Farming Ltd) supplied large numbers of hinds in the pioneering days of deer farming for corporations such as Eastern Deer Corporation in the Hawkes Bay and Land Corp through out the South Island along with smaller Southland based operations.

Deer breeding has spanned over Four decades now. Wilkins Farming has been breeding for velvet and body weight from various European bloodlines. Bloodlines bought from Rob Brookes, based mainly on King Richard from Festl bloodlines Germany. These genetics have been carried on through the mid 90’s with Blue 13 who is a son of King Richard and also through Red 7, a grandson of King Richard.

King Richard was a recognised champion sire and was owned by Rob Brookes on his Ladyson farm in England. There seems to have been a universal agreement on the merit of this stag that has produced hard antler weights up to 14.2kgs with his body weight around 320kgs in his prime. King Richard’s temperament was outstanding.

Along with these German genetics we have been crossed Hungarian blood at Wilkins Farming with a son of Kapos called Fredrich whose velvet and body weights speak for themselves and the progeny he left were certainly eye catching. Fredrich has been mated to selective hinds since being at Wilkins Farming, from various well-known bloodlines from German, Hungarian, Danish, Furzeland to Woburn & Warham. As well as cross breeding we have maintained some pure German and Eastern bloodlines.

Since 2001 artificial insemination (AI) has been a big part of introducing new genetics to our herd. On the back of AI since 2004 we have been using embryo transfer (ET) to help speed up the multiplication of the animals, controlling breeding for specific traits. We have also Breed and purchased top sires for venison growth and maternal traits. This includes a Maxamilian son (Named Megamilian) who has a current breeding value (BV) for 12 month growth rate of 21.1 on the most recent Deer select standings. This stag who is profiled in this catalogue not only has the figures but also has an outstanding temperament and a very solid body conformation.

As well as the recorded stock we have been continuously striving to breed European red deer for trophy/velvet and growth rate for large-scale commercial use.

Mission Statement

Our aim is to produce high growth rate progeny from an efficient maternal weight hind through the use of the latest technology and best genetics available at the time.


Through recording it is easier to mate the right hind to the right stag for specific goals. We are currently establishing Breed values and DNA profiles of our animals to enhance the accuracy of our monitoring.

Our main focus is breeding an animal that will be an efficient breeder of venison. To do this you need to have the right genetics and feed.

Approximately 90 % of our herd has a breeding focus on the following five principles:

  1. A Red hind herd should have an average adult body weight of 110 to 120 kgs, creating satisfactory breeding efficiency.
  2. Once this has been achieved you are on the front foot to getting this progeny to the high value early spring market. To achieve this market it is also important to select on the growth rate from weaning to 100kgs.
  3. High carcass yield and high value meat cuts, breeding a higher value animal.
  4. Temperament, fertility and calving date all play a part in having a successful breeding programme.
  5. Strong velvet and trophy genetic base means these stags will still perform well beyond the venison market. The balance of our herd is still selected especially to breed trophy deer that are velveted until they reach their breeding potential. Then trophy value is realised, adding residual value to the sire when it comes to the end of its breeding worth.

We are using a wide range of genetics to achieve these goals, enabling us to have a large number of options for cross breeding. The genetics being sourced, we believe, are the best available in the world that we can access for the specific traits we are breeding for.

Wilkins Farming have kept pure German (Festl), Hungarian and latterly Romanian, as well as Eastern European bloodlines. Alongside this we are breeding European composite stags for the market.

In relation to point 3 we are developing useful information, since 2003 we have been on farm measuring of carcass loin for meat quality traits. With the help of our support team we have developed some methods that we are accurately testing eye muscle area (EMA) of a live deer. We have also made use of the Vio-scan services for meat yield at Invermay in Mosgiel, to add value to our breeding programme to further enhance carcass value.


Wilkins Farming breeds and finishes a large number of animals specifically for venison which is sold through their alliances with New Zealand processing and marketing companies for local and export markets.

Progress and development within their venison herds is carefully controlled as can be seen by the very specific direction that Wilkins Farming follow. As can also be seen here with their use of Ultrasound and CT Scan technologies with Abacus Bio.

Further enquiries go here.

Herd Sires

Wilkins Farming are able to offer a full range of both live herd sires or semen for your herd breeding improvements. We can help you with your choice of stag and have a wide range of semen available from current and historical herd sires as listed.

Annually we have only a limited range of herd sires available and would suggest contacting us early so we can help research or select the correct stag for your breeding objectives whatever they may be.

Eastern Sires

These are sires that have either formed the foundation or have been bred from what was formerly known as “Stanfield Eastern European Red Deer Stud” established by Clive and Elsie Jermy.

These deer are of Eastern European descent, bred for large bodies, high growth rates and long wide antlers.

European Sires

This is a composite breed of red deer that could consist of any European strain or mix (Eastern, German, English etc) but selected primarily for venison production traits.

English/German Sires

This group have only been bred from deer with origins going back to either German or English parks. The sires used in this programme have been selected for both venison and velvet/antler production.


Wilkins Farming annually produce and harvest velvet off approximately 600 stags. They take pride in how they manage their animals to produce top quality velvet across all grades to fulfill different markets and orders. WFL sell green or dried velvet as well as processed velvet in pill form. WF deer velvet capsules can be purchased from their website.

Genetics are an integral part of the production of their high quality velvet. High standards of feeding, day to day management and application of modern technology are all vital ingredients in the mix.

Hard antler is also available for sale.

Further enquiries go here

Trophy Breeding

Wilkins Farming annually hand pick a select group of stags that will be suitable for the trophy hunting market.

WFL have breeding hinds available that carry the traits for long, wide, clean and high scoring heads.

Enquiries can be done here.


North Island

Hawkes Bay Sires

Wilkins Farming are now able to offer a full range of both live herd sires or semen for your herd breeding improvements from our north Island joint venture based in the Hawkes Bay. We can help you with your choice and have a wide range of sires available. Annually we have only a limited range of herd sires available and would suggest early booking for purchase of these top quality high performing stags.


Deer Unit Technology

Wilkins Farming have integrated many forms of modern farm managment practises to improve production levels in all livestock. WFL have clear focus on what aids in their progress and are open to new methods.

WFL rely on Leader Tags (EID), Gallagher weighing systems and FECPAK for faecal egg counts as part of their animal management systems.

For more information on our technology behind breeding, management tools and research, click the button below.

Technology FAQs

Sheep Unit

Breeding for the Future

Wilkins Farming Ltd’s sheep breeding and finishing is one of their longest standing core enterprises. They breed crossbreeds for replacements and the surplus is supplied to prime meat markets.


In the late seventies Wilkins Farming used Coopworth genetics which they stayed with through the eighties. This lifted fertility to a point where they consistantly tailed 140-155%, though they felt lamb growth rates were being neglected. These Coopworth genetics were purchased from Lockie Stevens originally, then Ron Cocks at Alford Park in Mid Canterbury.

WFL then decided that they needed to lift their performance to another level. While they were satisified with fertility and mothering ability, they needed better growth rates. Ron gave us the option of breeding from his new cross which he called Friworth, an East Freisian Coopworth cross. This gave them an immediate lift in growth rates through the extra milking ability. The EF genetics provided improved growth rates, and lambs to slaughter at weaning improved.

The use of East Fresians in the early 1990s gave WFL another boost in fertility. At this point they started to pregnancy test ewes and found the EF helped lift the flock scanning percentage from the high 180%s to 200-210%. While they had a good top end percentage of quality lamb, the high scanning percentage was comprised of many smaller triplets which had a negative impact on surviveability.

At this point WFL identified the Texel as an ideal breed to build their own composite targeting survivability and less triplets. They have since stabilised between Texel and Coopworth to achieve their sheep breeding goals, targeting the following traits.


  • Efficacy
  • Survivability
  • Mothering ability
  • Carcass quality


WFL currently source sires from Curthew Coopworths and the Blackdale Stud.


Wilkins Farming pride themselves on their ability to produce five star prime lambs for their export partners year round. This includes lambs bred on-farm and store lambs finished on-farm bought in from other breeding units.


Wilkins Farmimg Ltd currently uses Poll Dorset and Texels as their main terminal sires. Further details will show here shortly.

Beef Unit

Breeding for the Future

Wilkins Farming Ltd’s current Angus beef herd was formed in 2007 with the purchase of some Mt Linton heifers, the following years have seen further lines of heifers purchased from Temara and stud herds respectively.
Though they have only a small herd of beef cows, they believe they have brought some of the best breeding genetics available.

Their breeding program has seen genetic gain through AI from some of the best Angus bulls available which have been sourced through Wayne McLaren of Excell Breeding.
The bulls they have selected have high Retail Cut and IMF scores. WFL has also used Eye muscle scoring to help monitor their genetic gains.

The main herd of Angus cattle are breed and finished at their Athol property. However they do periodically buy and finish cattle on contract for various meat companies.
Grain fed beef is also an option they have explored, however this requires forward planning and committment.


Wilkins Farming Ltd operates a “high end carcass” Angus beef producing herd aimed at producing a top quality product suitable for the hospitality industry. Breeding females have been introduced into the herd from some of New Zealands most carcass conscious seed stock producers hence giving the quality potential a serious boost.

Wilkins Farming has taken advantage of carcass ultrasound scanning technology to identify the superior better marbling, ( intramuscular fat percentage —IMF% ) in general the higher the IMF% the better the eating experience. Eye Muscle Area ( EMA is an ultrasound reading drawing the boundaries of the rib eye area ) which is an indicator of meat yield in a live animal to enable more informed breeding decisions to be made to keep driving the production of superior product.

With the use of artificial insemination, bulls such as Te Mania Ambassador A134 have been introduced, which sit in the “top percentile band” of all males recorded in Australia and New Zealand for traits such IMF% where he has a current IMF% figure of +3.8 as compared to a breed average figure of +0.8 . Likewise with Ambassadors EMA figure of +8.6 the breed average is at +2.6 .
Another Sire used Te Mania Premium Beef 492 AB, he has a top 5 % of breed EMA and IMF% rating.

This type of intense breeding programme is usually undertaken by pedigree breeders who supply breeding bulls to the stud and commercial market.

Wilkins Farming is to be commended for taking a direct route towards improving the quality of beef available to the market.

Wayne McLaren
Beef Product Manager
Xcell Breeding Services Ltd

Prime Beef

Wilkins Farming Ltd have prime Angus beef available for slaughter – enquire here

Dairy Unit

Breeding for the Future

In 2008 Wilkins Farming Limited converted a block of land at Ellis Road, Five Rivers from an Ostrich breeding and finishing unit farm to what is today- a high producing irrigated dairy farm.

The company Wairima Dairy Ltd, is run as a separate entity from Wilkins Farming Ltd.
Directors of Wairima Dairy Farm are Ray & Michael Wilkins and Peter Cooper.

The farm is managed by William Bole. For employment opportunities please contact William.