Deer Research Unit

The Deer Research Unit was established in 1980 near the southern end of the Massey University Manawatū campus.  The unit is essentially flat and mantled with Tokomaru Silt Loam soils. 

Wintering 100 breeding hinds (red deer ), facilities include recently constructed yards and a new deer shed for hosting research.  Currently research topics include evaluating different pasture cultivars and investigating the effects of velvet removal. It is also used as a teaching unit for Massey University veterinary students.

Deer Research Unit platform

  • Area – 22.30ha 
  • Soils – Tokomaru Silt Loam soils. Drainage is tiles and mole, with the soil still wet in winter.
  • Animals – deer. Sheep and cattle from Keebles farm are utilised to graze any surplus grass and clean up paddocks.
  • Forage – Predominantly perennial ryegrass with clovers, chicory, and
    plantain.
  • Paddocks – Intensively sub-divided into 36 paddocks, ranging from 0.14 to 1.77 ha (averaging 0.59 ha).
  • Infrastructure – A purpose built handling shed constructed in 2005 with yards. Deer Research Building including up to 12 metabolism cages for nutritional studies and pens for other research requiring housing.

Deer Unit Information Sheet.pdf (1,357 KB)


Deer research

Massey's deer research programme began in 1979. Since that time a broad range of quality research has helped inform the New Zealand deer industry and advance scientific knowledge of deer biology.

Award for deer research expert

In 2015 Massey University's Professor Peter Wilson, now retired, was awarded the Deer Farmers Association's Premier Industry Award. He was also awarded life membership of the New Zealand Veterinary Association.

Location and maps

The Deer Research Unit is located 1km up Sheep Farm Road adjacent to the Massey University campus, approximately 5km from Palmerston North City.

(click map to enlarge or download as pdf below)

Deer Research Unit map.pdf (170 KB)


Deer Research Unit management

The Deer Research Unit is managed by Phil Brooks

Email Phil


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