About the farm

About the farm

The Invermay Research Farm is one of 11 farms owned or leased by AgResearch, spread from Hamilton to Invercargill. The Invermay Sheep and Beef farm and the Invermay Deer farm have up until recent times been run as separate blocks but have been combined to be run as one farm. 

In 1949, the Department of Agriculture established the Invermay Research Centre to solve problems of farming in Otago and Southland. Back then the property was in fact a small scale model of important developed and undeveloped land types, with 80ha highly fertile flats (Wingatui soil) for intensive fat lamb farming and cropping. Second class hill soils (Warepa soils), lime and phosphate deficient and poorly drained, graded into similar but steeper hills soils ( Warepa + Mihiwaka soils) which had heavily reverted to gorse and manuka. These soils, which decades ago grew produce to feed goldminers and their horses, laid depleted beyond their unaided capacity to recover.

As of 2017 the total area of Invermay is 563ha, made up of 170ha deer unit, 304ha sheep and beef unit, 66ha of forestry and 18ha of campus. However, the deer unit also co-grazes sheep and cattle. The average rainfall on Invermay is 600-700mm.

The history of deer farming research at Invermay goes back to its origins in 1972 when Dr Ken Drew (MAF Research Division) and Les Porter (MAF Animal Health Division) spent three days in Southland and Central Otago visiting people involved with ‘holding deer behind fences’.

The Invermay deer unit was developed in an era when little attention was given to environmental management; indeed, little was actually known at the time on what impacts deer could have on soil and water.

For more information contact us.