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Beehive boom putting apiarists on breadline


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Russell is part of a family beekeeping business. If he moved in on someone else I'm sorry for that but is anybody surprised that he is starting to act like the rest of you. I'm only guessing but I sus

The big beekeepers have far more to loose than the smaller operators.  I can run my 600 by myself- I work damn hard when I need to.   The newer ones are used to running 300 or less per body, thes

If we join the GIA then we have to contribute to costs of controlling any incursion, but we get to sit round the table and talk to the government even though from past experience no one will listen.

5 hours ago, dansar said:

Beekeepers are warning some in the industry are at risk of going bust because there are too many hives.

https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/country/353711/beehive-boom-putting-apiarists-on-breadline

 

A little bit of scare mongering from Russell, possibly being NZ first corporate beekeeper who has also paid huge dollars for manuka land that 5 beekeepers had been on for years and had to go fine other areas, and happy to not let anyone else enjoy the job he has had for most of his life. sometimes nature also dosen't play ball no matter how many hives you have.

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John, I don't disagree with anything you have said, I have the utmost respect for Russell for his knowledge of beekeeping and for what he has done for this industry and have asked his advice on several occasions. I was only responding to his comments in the above press release.

This is not a NZ Beekeeping verse APINZ reply as you have suggested.  

Yes Russell has lost sites, but he has also had others kicked off sites, so no different to others and wether we like it or not this may be the new normal.

I have sat on the board of NBA with russell for many years and have had these conversations with him about the expanding hive numbers. My question to him and anyone else who brings this up is, are you prepared to give up half your hives and sites so others can enjoy beekeeping as a you have.

His reply has been no, and that is the same answer I would give if you asked me, so for me I have to learn how to keep going in these conditions.

So if no one is prepared to give up sites and others want to become beekeepers, what then? Who do you think should be the regulator and have the say on who and who cant be a beekeeper? and if we go down that road what then.

As to beekeepers who are/may lose their business or struggle due to the last couple of years being not the best in terms of production/nature is that more down to beekeepers overextending them selves and also a bigger part is not knowing what to do in a down year, a lack of knowledge/experience perhaps.

The press release raised a questions and scare mongering but offered no answers, thats what I have an issue with, I would have spoken up whomever was being interviewed, it just happened to be Russell this time.

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23 minutes ago, frazzledfozzle said:

Russell is right about overstocking and about beekeepers going to the wall.

i know many local and not so local beekeepers who are struggling and who haven’t sold their honey or are getting very low offers.

if things stay as they are there will be hundreds of beekeeping businesses going to the wall and there will be AFB outbreaks like NZ has never seen before.

Add to that resistant varroa and you have a very big problem in the making 

Who ever said that we should be getting good money for honey? we all want good money I want bloody good money, but it is not a right that we have, if you are selling honey in drums you are selling a commodity, if you want top dollar become a retailer.

Thats what being in business is about, and we all have to learn how we want to fit into this.

 

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22 minutes ago, tristan said:

i would not say scaremongering. its fairly accurate.

a number of beeks folded last season, grapevine has some good local beeks are up for sale and reports of mass dead out dumping up the far north.

instead of a bad season breaking even, its now costing a huge amount. the average seasons are now all poor seasons where you break even and the good seasons are now average seasons.

 

No its scar mongering, I know a lot of beekeepers who have done very well in this climate of overstocking, so what are they doing that others are not?

Most business have bad seasons and they plan for those during the good ones, why aren't beekeepers doing that? 

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1 hour ago, Dennis Crowley said:

Most business have bad seasons and they plan for those during the good ones, why aren't beekeepers doing that? 

most of the older ones do that. but many new ones simply see the gold and bank on that happening a lot more than it actually does.

the other factor thats hurt a lot is rapid expansion. simply running to many hives that they have the resources for. as profit goes down they need to run even more.

 

also people getting priced out by those who don't plan for those poor seasons. if you have reserves for bad years you can afford to buy into spots and take the risk it pays off.

off course it doesn't pay off and many land owners don't get what was promised.

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Agree with @Tristan and @Russell alot of the new guys don't know what low honey prices are and ate going to be in for a very big shock.

I see many of them running around in new cruisers and new trucks with all new bee gear and all off the back of good honey prices ...things are changing fast 

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2 minutes ago, frazzledfozzle said:

all off the back of good honey prices ...things are changing fast 

and its not just prices changing but costs as well.

with land rent being much more common even in low value areas now. the fixed costs have gone up considerably.

 

the other unknown factor is when the investors want to see the big return on their investment. that time is getting close for a lot of the newer companies.

with things on the slide down, you may see them pulling out and investing in other markets.

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From the last couple of Country Calender episodes I've seen on beekeeping, I've been disappointed to see how some people are getting on the bandwagon and increasing their hive numbers to such an extent, not to support their family, but to make a huge profit. Of course we all would like to make a lot of money, but not to the detriment of others. From what I read on the forum and other publications this is happening in a lot of North Island areas - something I don't want to see happening down here.

 

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1 hour ago, john berry said:

Stop overseas investment in beekeeping. Stop bank's lending money for hive expansion. Stop government encouragement to increase beehive numbers. Stop corporate ownership of beehives. And for myself I would put a cap on the number of hives anyone can own including my uncle but then I am an egalaterist   who believes there should be a limit on what anyone can own including houses and farmland.
As for people retailing their own honey that used to be incredibly common but it is not always the answer. For quite some years now we have had a seller's market for both producers and packers but it looks like we might be heading back towards a buyers market for produces and that will inevitably lead to packers being put in the same situation with smaller suppliers inevitably being squeezed and bullied by the supermarkets. The last time this happened only the strongest survived and a lot of them only just.
I guess it comes down to those that believe the sun will always shine and that 10 times as many hives will produce 10 times as much honey and those of us who have been around long enough to know within a few percent how many hives an area will support and that the sun not only doesn't always shine, sometimes it can go away for a year or two.
The more hives there are the more likely, sooner and bigger the crash will be when it comes and the greater the effect will be on all those who depend on bees not just the beekeepers. Whether it will happen because of price fluctuations, new disease or varoa is anybody's guess

We actually agree on some things, not all but some.

I don't have an opinion either way as to where someones financing comes from, if they are responsible what business is it of mine or yours about who they got it from.

I think most of us who started up a business have had to go to the bank for funds at some time.

Govt may want to see/encourage expansion but they are not the ones buying beehives.

If a corporate as you call them,( Arataki fits under this banner in the definition of a corporate company in NZ) is being responsible whats the problem?

Its not that they are a corporate thats the problem, its that they don't have people with the knowledge that can affect change in charge.

Is it the number of hives they seem to build up to, I know plenty of family own business, your uncles included, that also build up in big numbers, is the numbers the problem, here i am in agreement with you that there is often less check on bee husbandry as hive numbers increase.

So where should we cut it off, what number? We need to be having these conversations, but not out of hate/dislike for the way someone else dose things but looking at the real picture and asking the same questions to ourselves as well. 

 

 

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12 minutes ago, BeeGirl said:

From the last couple of Country Calender episodes I've seen on beekeeping, I've been disappointed to see how some people are getting on the bandwagon and increasing their hive numbers to such an extent, not to support their family, but to make a huge profit. Of course we all would like to make a lot of money, but not to the detriment of others. From what I read on the forum and other publications this is happening in a lot of North Island areas - something I don't want to see happening down here.

 

Nor do I BeeGirl, but what are you going to do in your business to help you stay in the game when it happens, as there are locals in your island that are expanding just like up here in the north.

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I actually don’t view Arataki as a Corporate because first they were and are beekeepers, the likes of Comvita and Manuka Health are not they are businesses that employ beekeepers.

i also think you can be a corporate and run a couple of thousand hives there’s a few in our area, business people buying hives and employing beekeepers to run them. 

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Two of my friends got into commercial bee keeping in the last couple of years.

One brought an existing business and the other started from scratch.

One wanted wanted to control the  honey supply to his health business and the other wanted honey for his beverage business.

They employ local beeks to run the hives.

I suppose they could be  called coporate.

One of my friends has got interested in actual bee keeping , the other friends eyes glaze over when you talk bees .

I do not know  how much cases like these drive expansion.

If honey had been cheaper I am not sure if they still would have started their own beek businesses .

 

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If I had to pick a difference between apiculture New Zealand and New Zealand beekeeping and I belong to both, it would be that NZ beekeeping allows open dissent and discussion from all members whereas apiculture New Zealand only seems to want to present a united front to the world and whether deliberately or not leaves little opportunity for dissent.
Overstocking has been mentioned by apiculture New Zealand but they certainly haven't pushed it and I can't see as having a New Zealand has to many bees week anytime soon. Yet at the grassroots level it is the thing having the most effect on beekeepers, the thing causing the most stress on beekeepers and beehives and the thing most discussed when beekeepers meet.
Scaremongering or telling the truth, two different perceptions.

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7 hours ago, frazzledfozzle said:

Agree with @Tristan and @Russell alot of the new guys don't know what low honey prices are and ate going to be in for a very big shock.

I see many of them running around in new cruisers and new trucks with all new bee gear and all off the back of good honey prices ...things are changing fast 

Maybe they payed cash ..... ?

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I have been threatening for quite some time now to put up a sign at the end of our road where it joins the main drag, some ten k's away. "Honey Shop Open ".  I stopped in at Arthurs Pass the other day for a "comfort stop" . Two bus loads of chinese pulled in, disgorged, and made straight for the DOC visitor centre. Out of curiosity I followed them. OMG .... it was a feeding frenzy of retail therapy. And then the time one of our Polish Beekeepers was heading home and asked if I could get hime some manuka to take home ...... why did'nt you ask when we extracting ..... so I called into Russle's shop at Waiotapu, and came out $600 poorer ......

So ..... I love cash sales and need to do more of it, if only to pay off the bar tab.

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1 hour ago, tristan said:

retail is where the real money is made. 

most primary produces get screwed down to the lowest possible price.

nz honey has enjoyed good demand but thats not going to last.

As long as it remains a Protected industry and does not face competition from imported honey beeks will survive 

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