Netherdale was purchased around 1881 by William Cowie, who with hard work developed this windy virgin land into a sheep and arable farm. In 1913 William retired to Timaru and son James continued to run Netherdale. Struggling through the Depression and two World Wars existing by selling milk from their small herd of cows to the local dairy factory.
In 1948 the property was sold to William’s grandson, Henderson Stevens, who enjoyed prosperous years with high returns from wool and grain. The farm was also developed into a successful Coopworth Stud and in 1979 his son David introduced wild deer captured by helicopter onto the property.
David and Lynley bought Netherdale in 1982 and gradually the sheep were replaced with deer and from humble beginnings the Netherdale Red Deer Stud was developed.
During the 1980’s AI, Embryo transfer and Embryo splitting were carried out making for very exciting times within the deer industry. In those early years the herd was culled hard for temperament with strong emphasis placed on velvet production.
Deer were imported from the UK and Europe to improve the genetics enhancing existing bloodlines.
In 1996 the Deer Complex was built, at which a Sire Stag Sale is held annually with the 24th sale being held in 2011.
Over the years Netherdale has featured consistently in the NZ National Velvet & Trophy Antler Awards winning the 3 year old class many times with quality, stylish velvet. Our 3yr old stags are now producing up to 8.44kg of velvet, with the 2011 Sire Sale average of 6.15kg. Netherdale will continue to offer New Zealand the finest in velvet genetics for many years to come.
David Stevens has been involved in the New Zealand Deer Farmers Association for almost 30 years and was President from 1999 till 2001.
David is past-chairman of the NZDFA Selection & Appointment Panel and is still active on the Southland Committee.
2015 saw David awarded a NZDFA Life membership and the Deer Industry Award for service to the industry.