Company’s proud reputation of delivering deer for 35 years

Company’s proud reputation of delivering deer for 35 years
Founded in Geraldine in 1984, Downlands Deer now transports livestock nationwide.

Founded in Geraldine in 1984, Downlands Deer & Studstock is a hardworking livestock transport company that strives to deliver the best possible service to its rural clientele.
Over the years, this customer-focus has driven growth and innovation in the company and contributed to the evolution of its nationwide transport capability.
“You look back and think nothing’s changed but in fact we’re delivering a level of service now that’s better than ever,” says operations manager Kris Orange, whose father Keith founded Downlands Deer and still ‘flies the flag’ for the company at annual stag sales.
“A big load used to be 30 deer but now it’s not unheard of to shift 400 or 500 deer in a day and we still have to take care of those 500 deer as we would have once taken care of 30!”
‘Care’ is a word that could equally apply to how Downlands Deer interacts with the rural community. One of their truck and trailer units serves as a mobile billboard for Rural Support, displaying details on how to access its services.
“We were keen to do something to help farmers who may be feeling under pressure and this seemed like a good way to do it. “That truck would have travelled 120,000km all over New Zealand since we put that signage on it.”
Most stock shifted by Downlands is deer, from weaners through to trophy stags. It is also a specialist transporter of stud bulls and stud rams. The modern fleet comprises 10 trucks and trailers, all equipped with purpose-built crates certified to New Zealand Quality Standards and designed with animal welfare in mind.
Specialist crates, with custom-made split gates, are available for larger animals such as trophy stags. Two years ago, Downlands Deer bought another deer carrying company so has two trucks based in Fielding, effectively expanding its North Island reach.
“We do a lot of long distance interisland work now with the stud bulls. If we have stock going from Southland to the North Island, we can give them a spell out of the truck in our purpose built holding paddocks we have in Geraldine. As well, we have paddocks in Fielding that we can use the same way.”
Kris observes that Downlands has been proactive on minimising risks of Mycoplasma bovis through stringent cleaning and disinfection of crates carrying bulls.
Smart technology enables Downlands to keep close tabs on trucks. Buyers are kept informed on progress and expected delivery times. A cellphone app used for deliveries means vendors know when their animals have been dropped off.
“If they want a picture to show that everything has arrived in good order, then we can send that too.” Downlands Deer has a built a loyal clientele and, in turn, that generates new referrals. The company, which employs some 14 staff, is proud of its trusted reputation and has a good workplace culture.
Six-weekly meetings are held with drivers. Some have been with Downlands for more than a decade, but a young female driver has also recently joined the crew. “She’s learning the ropes but has taken to it like a duck to water – it’s good to see.”
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