Jump to content

Watson & Son - Bad News - NBR


Recommended Posts

Young guy who has hung out a bit & helped me with the bees the odd time has just landed his first job with a manuka producer, starting wage 50K and told there are good prospects to climb the ladder.

 

Suspect he may be in for a culture shock after doing things at my leisurely pace though LOL. But he's keen, and fit, that may be what swung it for him.

Edited by Alastair
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 130
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Comvita has certainly been around for a long time but it is completely different to what it was and under different ownership. The other two I don't know much about but they certainly weren't major pl

I don't know why everyone is giving Mr Watson such a hard time. I'm sure he treats his workers and shareholders with the same honesty and integrity as he treats his fellow beekeepers.

Although they don't seem to get much credit, and don't self promote in this regard, Comvita wasn't just simply there 'when Manuka happened' i.e. passively free riding the wave. Comvita, including foun

Posted Images

38 minutes ago, Alastair said:

Young guy who has hung out a bit & helped me with the bees the odd time has just landed his first job with a manuka producer, starting wage 50K and told there are good prospects to climb the ladder.

 

Suspect he may be in for a culture shock after doing things at my leisurely pace though LOL. But he's keen, and fit, that may be what swung it for him.

How many hives do commercial beeks aim to go through in a day.

I know this may vary depending on tasks.

but considering how long itas takes me to go through just two hives culling QC and splitting the hives I think it must be much  faster.

I try to be  slow and calm ,  I think that is probably a hobbyists luxury .

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

There was a discussion about that a while back, how many hives would someone check for afb in a day.

 

The consensus seemed to be about 50, although personally I felt that was rather low. It's about what I'll do now but I'm well past working in a normal commercial environment.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Alastair said:

There was a discussion about that a while back, how many hives would someone check for afb in a day.

 

The consensus seemed to be about 50, although personally I felt that was rather low. It's about what I'll do now but I'm well past working in a normal commercial environment.

Thanks I do remember that thread but did not pay it attention.

If they are doing over $50 hives a day theses guys are earning their money.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Couple weeks ago I afb checked someone elses apiary, 38 hives mostly singles only the odd box of honey to lift off, and laid out well so they easy to work. Only perhaps 4 or 5 ish brood combs in each one, job done in 2 hours, which is what I charged for it.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, Alastair said:

Couple weeks ago I afb checked someone elses apiary, 38 hives mostly singles only the odd box of honey to lift off, and laid out well so they easy to work. Only perhaps 4 or 5 ish brood combs in each one, job done in 2 hours, which is what I charged for it.

but keep in mind most beeks will be doing a wide range of jobs, not just an afb check.

plus things like mud really slows things down.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed. I wondered if I should use that example as it could set a bad precedent. In that site everything was ideal. Flat, not floundering in mud, etc. I also could work with the sun behind my shoulder so could just dump bees of each frame and the sun could shine into uncapped cells so as well as checking for abnormal capped cells, I could easily see if any slumped larvae in cells that had been uncapped.

 

On other days with less well arranged hives my productivity can be way lower.

Edited by Alastair
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the biggest factor to how many you can inspect in a day for most people is travel time.

 

If you have big yards you’ll be more efficient.

I have mine in yards of about 24, it takes longer to get round them, However I think they do a lot better and I make more honey because of it.

Keeps them nice and happy and they don’t tend to get scrappy and robby like a yard of 32 can when your reaching the end.

 

I think beekeeper rates vary greatly but I wouldn’t think there would be too many beekeepers working for under $20 and hour, with 3-4 seasons you’d be looking at $30-$40 an hour I’d say depends on skill and amount of responsibility, I’d expect you’d likely have staff to supervise at that rate.

 

I worked a lot faster for my boss then I do for myself, I can still work fast if I need to but it means I end up having to wait for mum and dad to fluff around so now I just fluff around too, I enjoy being a hobbyist who doesn’t have a real job, I’m not sure that I enjoy the not getting paid part but thems the breaks.

 

As far as I’m aware Watson and Son employ Filipino beekeepers here, wether or not that’s true I’m not sure I have never seen them out, they have a yard just down the road from me where they have nudged in between 2 of my bee neighbors sites, I don’t think they’ve been near them since they put them there, I seriously question what they’re up to considering most of them are still singles and some of mine are 3 highs now.

 

I’ll bet the guy they dumped on is fuming but I doubt he will say anything, shame really because if they did that to me I’d be giving them a friendly phone call and asking them politely to shift.

His hives would be about 100 meters away on one side and about 700 meters in the otherside. Pretty cheeky placement.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Daley said:

I think the biggest factor to how many you can inspect in a day for most people is travel time.

 

If you have big yards you’ll be more efficient.

absolutely. 

also loading and unloading times. with the wet we have been dragging around the UTV and it takes a lot of time to unload, load it with gear etc.

 

11 minutes ago, Daley said:

As far as I’m aware Watson and Son employ Filipino beekeepers here,

yeah they employ a lot of them. afaik great workers.

 

12 minutes ago, Daley said:

I seriously question what they’re up to considering most of them are still singles and some of mine are 3 highs now.

they will be all nucs.

we have tons of them around. they feed them up, truck em out, bring in the next lot.

Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, tristan said:

absolutely. 

also loading and unloading times. with the wet we have been dragging around the UTV and it takes a lot of time to unload, load it with gear etc.

 

yeah they employ a lot of them. afaik great workers.

 

they will be all nucs.

we have tons of them around. they feed them up, truck em out, bring in the next lot.

I doubt they’re NUCs now they’ve been there for about 6 months.

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, CraBee said:

I wonder if @grant and crew know more than they are letting on having labelled this topic / company "Risk of Closure" ?

No it’s just because it might get nasty.

But that’s quite a good pun

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, tom sayn said:

that is significantly better than what i would have thought, @jamesc

i'm surprised they can retain those wages considering disease related hive losses and flops that happen when you place huge bee numbers in unknown territory, etc.

certainly explains why they find people who work for them.

 

Me too !

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, john berry said:

Watsons et cetera only came along after all the hard work was done. 

 

I know very little of the history of all this and I am interested to understand more without causing the thread to be locked... My understanding so far is that Watson has been around for at least 35yrs, maybe starting in West Auckland (?). I heard that he has had extreme highs and lows several times and that he has had a succession of investors fund each expansion (collapse) in a number of phoenix like regenerations. This suggests he has the gift of the gab as a salesman. Steens (Papamoa, Tauranga) was going for a long while before moving to their current location, but I think that Steens has stayed afloat the whole way without the extreme highs and lows, looking to retire eventually and sell the whole setup. I gather that the comvita founders were also similarly in the right place at the right time when it all started to happen.

 

Would it be fair to say that all three of those were going prior to Manuka and were all in the right place at the right time to take advantage when Manuka 'happened'?

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

All the big players have contributed to and benefited from the Manuka boom. They have helped create a market. Unfortunately some of them have made more enemies than friends along the journey. You do not have to be an ignorant bully to succeed. Watsons have been around for about 15 years. Before that Denis Watson was a school science teacher. A lot of ups and downs in a short time - but at what cost?

Link to post
Share on other sites

About the only thing I can remember comvita being known for in the early days was the rumour that they had illegally imported Queen bees along with chalk brood. These days they certainly do a lot of science but they are also very aggressive when it comes to acquiring sites, sites that in many cases already had beekeepers on them. In this area anyway they made plenty of promises to farmers many of which weren't kept and a good number of farms have gone back to their previous beekeepers. I certainly don't put them up there with Watson and son but they have had their moments.

  • Thanks 1
  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, john berry said:

About the only thing I can remember comvita being known for in the early days was the rumour that they had illegally imported Queen bees along with chalk brood. 

 

Interesting you should say that I didn't know there was still anyone around who knew.

 

40 years ago I worked in the far north when Claude was also there, pre Comvita days, he was running a few hives and on the brink of financial collapse, prior to his move south. At that time he printed a flyer and circulated it to a number of beekeepers advertising queens for sale from many different breeds that were not supposed to be in New Zealand. 

Edited by Alastair
  • Thanks 1
  • Good Info 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, john berry said:

About the only thing I can remember comvita being known for in the early days was the rumour that they had illegally imported Queen bees along with chalk brood. These days they certainly do a lot of science but they are also very aggressive when it comes to acquiring sites, sites that in many cases already had beekeepers on them. In this area anyway they made plenty of promises to farmers many of which weren't kept and a good number of farms have gone back to their previous beekeepers. I certainly don't put them up there with Watson and son but they have had their moments.

I would be very surprised if they did not meet any of the contractual obligations that they had with farmers.  Being a public company they are very opposed to any sort of negative publicity and a grumpy farmer moaning about not being paid etc is just what they don’t want.  I know their land use contracts are very detailed so it may be a case of farmers not understanding the contracts properly rather than Comvita breaking their promises??  

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...