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jimmychoux

Looking to buy land and plant manuka trees

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Hi all

I'm looking at buying an existing plot of land in the far north with existing manuka and kanuka trees on it with the intention of growing exclusively manuka trees. I'm wondering if anyone has any advice (or can warn of any pitfalls) in terms of having someone harvest the manuka honey and how arrangements with apiarists usually work? 

Thanks in advance!

Cheers

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Hi Jimmy, no bees just trees.

 

The ideal site would be at the end of a peninsular, that way other honey harvesters couldn't line the boundaries with hives. You would only have the one boundary to worry about. Northland does have the highest UMF strains in the country, so I'd be talking to a botanist about identifying these strains and propagating them. 

The great thing about this idea is that if it goes pear shaped and you walk away, you have put in a really good establishing cover for bush regeneration. Unlike goats. 

 

Good luck.

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I my advice is don't but if you really want to do it then I suggest you get hold of someone from trees for bees. They have extensive literature on honey and pollen producing plants and on manuka plantations. Bees do not live on manuka alone and have to survive for a substantial part of the year on other flowers. Manuka does not have pollen that honeybees collect so even when it is in flower they need a source of pollen. Kauri Park supply manuka cultivars with different flowering times which in theory anyway should extend your season.. On the bee side of things you should be aware that if someone can put bees anywhere near your property they will, you also need to remember that some years manuka flowers better than others and you can also get complete crop failures from adverse weather both wet and dry. I don't know Northland that well but from what I can gather they do have fairly regular crop failures. Some of the stocking rates that are talked about for hives on manuka such as one hive per hectare are just wishful thinking by greedy or ignorant corporate's. Stocking rates depend on many things one of the main ones being competition from native solitary bees. Not sure how much of a problem they are in Northland but in parts of Hawke's Bay they can take 100% of the nectar most years. On the other hand as apihappy  has said it is a great thing to do for conservation.

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1 hour ago, john berry said:

they can take 100% of the nectar most years

How does that work .

Do the honey bees not go near the manuka.

Or do they leave it too late in the day .

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Mainly round here it works because they outnumber honeybees by about 1000 to 1

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2 hours ago, john berry said:

Mainly round here it works because they outnumber honeybees by about 1000 to 1

They probably do here as well.

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Thanks for the advice so far!

From my research I've found that you need around 50 hectares minimum to ensure, like you have said, the bees don't just fly elsewhere for nectar. There seems to be a lot of support offered in establishing a manuka farm/plantation. Obviously I'm looking at it from an investment perspective as I'm looking to buy land anyway, but the manuka honey and oil option really appeals to me. 

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10 minutes ago, jimmychoux said:

Thanks for the advice so far!

From my research I've found that you need around 50 hectares minimum to ensure, like you have said, the bees don't just fly elsewhere for nectar. There seems to be a lot of support offered in establishing a manuka farm/plantation. Obviously I'm looking at it from an investment perspective as I'm looking to buy land anyway, but the manuka honey and oil option really appeals to me. 

Will you have a planting plan .

With forage sources that flower when the manuka is not .

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56 minutes ago, jimmychoux said:

From my research I've found that you need around 50 hectares minimum to ensure, like you have said, the bees don't just fly elsewhere for nectar. 

Considering bee's foraging radius is up to about 3km I don't think a block 710m sq is going to achieve what you want.

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48 minutes ago, kaihoka said:

Will you have a planting plan .

With forage sources that flower when the manuka is not .

I'm still doing my research at this point but it appears that you do indeed need other species among the manuka for the bees to forage for health of the hive and sustainability. I think finding a plot of land that can support manuka trees as well as other species that can contribute to honey production?

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Just now, jimmychoux said:

as well as other species that can contribute to honey production?

And dilute your special Manuka ?

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1 minute ago, yesbut said:

Considering bee's foraging radius is up to about 3km I don't think a block 710m sq is going to achieve what you want.


I guess it depends on where the land is and what it is surrounded by? If it's surrounded by blocks of pine or steep land ie in a valley or something or water barriers that might limit how far they forage?

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1 minute ago, yesbut said:

And dilute your special Manuka ?


Yeah obviously that's not ideal

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It may also end up surrounded by the competitions' hives ?

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I'd wait maybe a couple of years. It won't be long before the demands of global warming will put an end to NZ's intensive pastoral farming and the price of land will fall through the floor. That's when different planting regimes will become the norm, including nectar producing bee forage of all sorts because importing sugar will be much more expensive and the domestic market for honey will be massive.

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Just now, yesbut said:

It may also end up surrounded by the competitions' hives ?


Yeah that is an issue I have read about, but can be overcome if you have land that has reduced accessability in terms of road access to the boundaries, and also the risk is reduced the larger the block of land.  It seems the ideal plantation would be in a back country valley somewhere, 500+ hectares, with stream running through it and hard to get to

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And then the competitors will crank up the MD500 and fly hives in.....as happens now.

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18 hours ago, jimmychoux said:

Hi all

I'm looking at buying an existing plot of land in the far north with existing manuka and kanuka trees on it with the intention of growing exclusively manuka trees. I'm wondering if anyone has any advice (or can warn of any pitfalls) in terms of having someone harvest the manuka honey and how arrangements with apiarists usually work? 

Thanks in advance!

Cheers

 

you need it isolated enough that other beeks cannot put hives on the boundary. 

you don't want any competing nectar source. beeks don't like manuka much, if anything like clover starts producing they will go for that instead.

you need to have access but make it difficult for anyone else to get access.

 

but most of all is who is going to run the hives. if your in dunedin how are you going to look after something in northland.

a lot of the problems are often with staff or hired contractors. 

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3 hours ago, jimmychoux said:

Thanks for the advice so far!

...Obviously I'm looking at it from an investment perspective as I'm looking to buy land anyway...

Probably better off buying a shoe box in Remuera.

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Don't forget about a plan for controlling feral pigs, goats, cats, rats, wasps, invasive weeds and dope growers.

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You'd really want a fairly large appetite for risk to proceed with such a venture. There would possibly be negative return more years than positive, and that's assuming everything goes well .

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5 hours ago, jimmychoux said:


It seems the ideal plantation would be in a back country valley somewhere, 500+ hectares, with stream running through it and hard to get to

Hmm... firstly this description is basically this entire country.. 

secondly.. there is nowhere that is inaccessible. 

Beehives aren’t shifted by hand using Utes and trailers in very many operations these days.. think big dump sites, truck and trailer units coming and going, cranes, helicopters loading out. 

Poking hives into areas out of reach hoping for the ultimate prize. 

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Manuka seedlings 4 - 6 years to substantive nectar quantities if they make it.......maybe ok if there is already large areas of standing mature Manuka to provide nectar earlier in the operation  but who is going to sell that at the moment? It is a venture capital undertaking in my view.

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6 hours ago, jimmychoux said:


Yeah that is an issue I have read about, but can be overcome if you have land that has reduced accessability in terms of road access to the boundaries, and also the risk is reduced the larger the block of land.  It seems the ideal plantation would be in a back country valley somewhere, 500+ hectares, with stream running through it and hard to get to

don't worry about other beekeepers, what you need to decide is how big a piece of land you can get, and where, others are just buying farms and planting and now some are seeing the return, but they paid way less for the land than you would pay now as it has raised the price, also you need the other part of the equation and that is the bees and how will that partnership work.

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A few big flowering gums that are out of sync with manuka would provide good food .

Generally if the land is covered in manuka its because its to poor to grow anything else .

But there are some nectar producing plants , australian and south african that will grow in poor soil.

Like hakea .

When does manuka flower up north .

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