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Noel

Manuka Access & Per Hive Rates - West Coast

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I’ve been bee keeping for around 2 years now (DECA certified), started off with 1 hive and have slowly increased my hive numbers to around 30 hives through splitting and the purchase of the odd nuc here and there. We are a dairy farming family (sharemilking) who have shifted to a new farm on the West Coast that also happens to have quite large areas of Manuka and Kanuka. I have been following this message board for quite a while now and find it a valuable resource. I have a number of questions that I would like to put to the group.

 

 

The property is quite large around 800 hectares (450 in pasture and the remaining in Manuka with some Kanuka in places), which is way more than I need for my 30 hives. There has been a history of beekeepers placing hives on the farm during the manuka season but no longstanding agreement between the farm owner and beeks.

 

 

As I am now responsible for the management of the farm along with who can operate on the property (hunters, beeks etc), would it be reasonable to charge a per hive fee for beehives placed on the property? What rate per hive can one expect? We’re not expecting to get rich from it, just a fair rate for sole access (similar to our sharemilking agreement).

 

 

Is it reasonable to ask for a percentage of the value of the honey produced from the hives as well, or is it easier/more sensible just to charge a per hive fee. I was thinking of approaching a few of the local honey companies that I know of and possibly negotiating a deal that would provide them with sole access to the property.

 

 

Hopefully if the relationship went well I could also get my own hives extracted through their facilities as well. I haven’t had the chance to extract any honey yet as I’ve been concentrating on increasing my numbers, plus with the colder and wet weather that one can expect on the coast I chose to keep my honey for the girls to get them through the winter. I’d greatly appreciate any comments or feedback. Thanks

Edited by Guest

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For me ethicly I would only be asking for a percentage of honey crop just make sure you go with a trustworthy operation-the big boys will shaft you big time if you try to be ethical with them. (I would be thinking 25% ish of honey crop if it hits Manuka etc)

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Maruia has manuka and kanuka but it's not a sure thing.

The temperatures are often too cold for good nectar flow and with so many beech trees in the area the bees are keen to forage for beechdew.

I know of two beekeepers currently with hives in the area one has been there for more than 30 years.

Please bare in mind although there may not be a signed agreement in place down here a handshake is still worth something.

I don't know which farm you are on but I will PM you to give you the name of the beekeeper I know in case it's a farm he is already on.

I would like to think he would have the chance to talk with you before you go ahead with contacting the "big" companies.

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if you've been reading this forum you'll know that there are many landowners who regret entering into an arrangement with one of the big players. also, what @frazzledfozzle said.

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There has been a history of beekeepers placing hives on the farm during the manuka season but no longstanding agreement between the farm owner and beeks.

If it is the same Beek each year best have a talk to him/her first. If it is several different Beeks over the years this tends to indicate to me that the site(s) is not desirable and they voting with their feet and opting for other options.

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For me ethicly I would only be asking for a percentage of honey crop just make sure you go with a trustworthy operation-the big boys will shaft you big time if you try to be ethical with them. (I would be thinking 25% ish of honey crop if it hits Manuka etc)

Quarter-- you must really love beekeeping

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Aren't you being a bit greedy thinking of asking for both payment AND honey - especially when you've got your own hives to get honey from. I've had farmers ask me to put hives on their properties, my reply is 'not if you want payment in cash, but payment in honey', they are more than happy to go with the honey arrangement. No-one can predict what the season is going to be like.

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Quarter-- you must really love beekeeping

If it's medium/high quality Manuka there isn't an issue with that-I have seen sites wanting 100 bucks per hive plus 40% of crop....

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I was in a honey shop today and clover honey was $60 a kg. Granted it was a tourist area. Why in life, the guy at the bottom works his ring out and gets the least, and the people in the middle do the least and get the most? I was quite disgusted in that store, was really close to saying to the checkout girl everything is a rip off, but the girl is in my boat too! A tea towel was 44.99.........i mean come on!!!!! MADE IN CHINA on the tag!

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I was in a honey shop today and clover honey was $60 a kg. Granted it was a tourist area. Why in life, the guy at the bottom works his ring out and gets the least, and the people in the middle do the least and get the most? I was quite disgusted in that store, was really close to saying to the checkout girl everything is a rip off, but the girl is in my boat too! A tea towel was 44.99.........i mean come on!!!!! MADE IN CHINA on the tag!

And that, dear @Daley, is why selling your own honey can be a good idea.

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If a site is producing a high quality product at reasonable volume I don't see what's so 'funny' about a commission being charged So if one of you could explain it or jump off a bridge I would be very appreciative.

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This is how it goes for my commercial business: 40% goes on running costs and upkeep, 30% to GST and Tax 15% for me the owner and 15% to the land owner. If 25% went to the land owner then all the hard work of the owner would only result in 5% of the total turnover.

Cheers

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This is how it goes for my commercial business: 40% goes on running costs and upkeep, 30% to GST and Tax 15% for me the owner and 15% to the land owner. If 25% went to the land owner then all the hard work of the owner would only result in 5% of the total turnover.

Cheers

However if the site was yielding the quality and quantities needed to justify it it wouldnt be an issue would it.....

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If it had good production which isn't every year. From my experience in a 5 year cycle you get 1 really good season 2 poor seasons and 2 average seasons.

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And in a bad season the landowner still wants their cut. Doesn't matter if that leaves you with nothing.

The beekeeper does all the work and takes all the risk.

Edited by Guest
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I always thought the formula for bee keeping finances went along the lines of "you need three boxes of honey per hive. One for expenses, one for the bank and one for the beekeeper." Seems like now we have to up our game and coax four boxes of honey out of the bees to provide an extra one for the landowner.

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one for the bank

I'd have made a lousy commercial if banks are part of the game

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a landowner revenue share that i've heard of that made some sense to me went as follows:

1 - the first $xx of honey revenue per hive went to the beekeeper (basically a cost-covering amount, talking a couple of hundred dollars or something)

2 - any revenue above $xx was split according to an agreed ratio (50-50? 30-70? whatever works)

 

it means that the landowner can't be landed with a bill, it means there are no perverse incentives at play, it means in a bad season the beekeeper might be able to survive, and in a good season everyone makes money.

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Out on the wild and woolly west coast an hours drive from here there's a large amount of land covered in Manuka, it has multiple title holders that don't have the wear with all to pay the rates bill when it comes a long.

The bill was always sent into town to some family member that had a job that had to get a loan to pay the rates and then pay back the loan every year...needless to say they were quite sick of the situation.

Then one day a northland beekeeping company flew in and had a look around struck a deal with all concerned with xxx hives @ $80.00 per hive per year regardless if there's a crop or not.. the bill payer was so happy telling me all this a big weight had been lifted.

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And in a bad season the landowner still wants their cut. Doesn't matter if that leaves you with nothing.

The beekeeper does all the work and takes all the risk.

I'm feeling it this year. Some sites got no Manuka and the land owners still want 75$ per hive and there was only 30$ profit with the Bush honey.

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I always thought the formula for bee keeping finances went along the lines of "you need three boxes of honey per hive. One for expenses, one for the bank and one for the beekeeper." Seems like now we have to up our game and coax four boxes of honey out of the bees to provide an extra one for the landowner.

It's so overstocked in Northland now that a great season gets 2 boxes of manuka an average season gets 1 box and a poor season gets nothing.

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