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Honey Co-ops

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So philbee mentioned honey Co-ops. Who are they, what are they about and can people join them?

 

Any info?

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34 minutes ago, flash4cash said:

So philbee mentioned honey Co-ops. Who are they, what are they about and can people join them?

 

Any info?

Just like Staples and the Machines that produce them, they need to be invented

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They are out there though a few of my customers have mentioned they belong to them. Unfortunately i did not enquire more at the time.  

 

Are they mostly conected to Maori trusts? 

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33 minutes ago, flash4cash said:

They are out there though a few of my customers have mentioned they belong to them. Unfortunately i did not enquire more at the time.  

 

Are they mostly conected to Maori trusts? 

Havent heard of them
To work well they need to be regional if extracting and storage is part of it
IMO on site harvesting would fit well with regional co-ops

This system of transporting full honey boxes only to transport them back again is ludicrous.
a good system of Honey production begins with a sound foundation and the system we currently use is not sound.
Beeks treat their comb as a precious asset when IMO its a dirty liability in this modern age.

 

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5 minutes ago, Philbee said:

Beeks treat their comb as a precious asset when IMO its a dirty liability in this modern age.

Interest take on things.  Most people do not want to invest in rebuilding comb..lost honey. 

 

Site extraction may no make the cut for export requirements

Edited by flash4cash

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5 minutes ago, flash4cash said:

Interest take on things.  Most people do not wnat to invest in rebuilding comb..lost honey. 

 

Site extraction may no make the cut for export requirements

What is the legal definition of off site extraction?

Requirements should be performance based if they arnt already.
Just like building a house the Building code sets out what is required and the NZ Std 3604  offers acceptable solutions that will meet the code.
However there are many ways of meeting the code other than the recommended way.

 

Edited by Philbee

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I think the co-op system could be a good option for a group of local beekeepers . Essentially they all share the costs of running one extraction plant and possibly even one rig like @jamesc beast  . There could be marketing advantages as well with economy’s of scale , with less capital tied up across the whole group . It of course relys on everyone being on the same page  for it to work . Have a set charge for extracting supers , and any profit after costs  and r&d returned to the shareholders . Doesn’t necessarily need to be a new startup . It could involve valuing current assets and shareholders buying a % of the agreed value . With the current market situation , it could be a good way forward . 

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By coincidence , I do field extracting and as far as I know the resulting honey is able to be exported .  I like the fact that I don’t need to lug heaps of supers backwards and forwards  , just pales of honey/wax . The pales have a sealed lid so provided said beek is careful , the honey is as clean as is possible to get . The wax is all white capping grade , no filthy old brood frames lifted up like I often read in a traditional extraction system . I’m just small fry , but there’s no reason why a large scale beekeeper couldn’t use a similar system . 

 As you point out @flash4cash , there’s the issue of rebuilding comb . On a heavy flow and strong hive , they are amazing. How quick they can build it , but a season like this , with the weather , it’s been a lot slower . One option if targeting Manuka could be to get the final harvest of pasture spun out to provide drawn wax for the manuka in the spring , then extract infield 

to capture Manuka before its diluted with other nectar sources . Hard case , I went to raid a site yesterday . The first hive was beautiful dark Manuka . I almost broke out in a Haka , I was soo excited . Next hive had a drone laying queen in the honey super , so I bypassed that one . Next one had a full super of pasture . Needless to say it was a hard landing ! Hard case how hives side by side can be on totally diffferent nectar . 

 

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10 minutes ago, Jas said:

The first hive was beautiful dark Manuka . I almost broke out in a Haka

??

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@Adam Boot mentioned that there are around 200 different manuka brands in the market...that alot probably to many.  There will be alot of market development and marketing money going into it. Not very efficient way to spend the money.  It would be alot better if they was one strong brand. 

 

 

 

 

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It should be apparent now to the industry that power of being a brand owner that is has pricing power vs being a commodity producer of honey. 

 

Even Manuka is a commodity, well paid at the moment.  However think about, how much money produces are leaving the table. 

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2 hours ago, Philbee said:

However there are many ways of meeting the code other than the recommended way.

Which all require specific design and producer statements etc = cost

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10 hours ago, Jas said:

I think the co-op system could be a good option for a group of local beekeepers . Essentially they all share the costs of running one extraction plant and possibly even one rig like @jamesc beast  . There could be marketing advantages as well with economy’s of scale , with less capital tied up across the whole group . It of course relys on everyone being on the same page  for it to work . Have a set charge for extracting supers , and any profit after costs  and r&d returned to the shareholders . Doesn’t necessarily need to be a new startup . It could involve valuing current assets and shareholders buying a % of the agreed value . With the current market situation , it could be a good way forward . 

We used to get all our honey contract extracted quite a few years ago , but had to wait in line for our turn, and when short of boxes it just did'nt work. Added to that was taking thee boxes to the extractor and carting them back .... I'd get home at 10.30pm . It was'nt really sustainable.

 

So we set up our own plant. It did'nt cost a great deal. We bought an extractor and sump tank for a grand. We started off with a hand knife for uncapping. The hand hot knife does a lovely job on the frames.

Later we traded another extractor for a drum of honey.

 

We still use the uncapping machine and one of the extractors. They get rebuilt every few years.  Extracting honey ... and Adam Boot is gonna love this ...."Is not rocket science !!"

 

What cost the money was when the Gvt jumped in and toughened up the regulations. We had to build a new food grade extraction room ( which is very nice) but cost us 100k and some fancy wax separating gear, and of course the RMP regs.

The advantage is that we can extract honey when we want. The boxes are available the next day and we don't grumble when not enough drums are filled at the end of the day.

We talked with several other beekeepers about setting up a joint enterprise, but nothing eventuated. Most beekeeeprs are too much of individualists.

 

I think it's a bit like a cocky owning a quarter of a million dollar Header they only use for a week a year ..... they can harvest the million dollar  crop when it's ready and reap the reward of a quality product.

 

Most small business's don't happen overnight.  They grow in fits and starts as the operator gains experience and confidence .... and has a few spare dollars at the end of the season to upgrade.

 I remember dropping a load of honey off one day down at Davidson's honey shed in Timaru. He commented to his crew that my one man band with a truck and a crane was probably quite a good way to make money in the honey business. I was'nt so sure. Over the years we grew our operation and employed  quite a lot of Beekeepers.  We have since shrunk back to a two man operation and I am now inclined to agree with Mr Davidson.

He has been dead a few years now, but I hear on the grapevine that when he died there were'nt many bees left ..... such is the joy of employees

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@jamesc I think a lot of our onerous current regulations are driven by the demands of our international customers .

And not necessarily by the inclinations of our governments.

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Fair points there @jamesc . Timing is everything so a big part of the setting up of a co-op would be to come up with a system that would enable a quick turn around of supers .

one option could be to utilise the plant 24/7 for pinch periods to double output . There’s a group of beekeepers over Waipu that have joined forces to put in an extraction plant , so it can be done . I think the most important part is the planning at the start . One beekeeper might want out after 5 yrs , while another may be in for 20 , so clearly set out guidelines need to be put in place to make it work for everyone . 

 One of the biggest threats I see to the industry at the moment is losing skilled staff , especially if current honey prices become the norm . A co-op may be better placed to retain key personnel than individual beekeepers in a pinch . Chances are shareholders will have other enterprises that may be able to employ those staff for short periods  , so as to retain them during the off season . I know it’s pie in the sky stuff , I certainly think it may be an option for some .  

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34 minutes ago, kaihoka said:

@jamesc I think a lot of our onerous current regulations are driven by the demands of our international customers .

And not necessarily by the inclinations of our governments.

 

I think it’s an incredible double standard for us to have to jump through so many hoops to import honey into countries like China when they have terrible food safety/ traceability laws.

I don’t buy any food products that come from China and will also pay for some prescription medicine rather than take the Chinese freebies on Pharmacs list.

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Co-op or not you still have to find a market for your honey.

How can we ask customers to pay a premium for our NZ honeys ?

 

In Australia I have never seen any crystallised honey on the shelf it is all runny honey.

Aussie honey is not to my taste and the flavours are very limited IMO.

add to that the likelihood it’s been blended with cheap honey/ syrup from China, Argentina or some other place and I wonder why people would even buy it let alone eat it. 

Edited by frazzledfozzle

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2 hours ago, Jas said:

Fair points there @jamesc . Timing is everything so a big part of the setting up of a co-op would be to come up with a system that would enable a quick turn around of supers .

one option could be to utilise the plant 24/7 for pinch periods to double output . There’s a group of beekeepers over Waipu that have joined forces to put in an extraction plant , so it can be done . I think the most important part is the planning at the start . One beekeeper might want out after 5 yrs , while another may be in for 20 , so clearly set out guidelines need to be put in place to make it work for everyone . 

 One of the biggest threats I see to the industry at the moment is losing skilled staff , especially if current honey prices become the norm . A co-op may be better placed to retain key personnel than individual beekeepers in a pinch . Chances are shareholders will have other enterprises that may be able to employ those staff for short periods  , so as to retain them during the off season . I know it’s pie in the sky stuff , I certainly think it may be an option for some .  

It great you are thinking about it.  It is what happens to the honey once it in the drum that will make the real difference to the return received. 

 

One of the keys to making high valued added returns is to have your base product to be very little of the final product.  

 

As James say most beekeepers are individuals and do not want to cooperate so a co op is pretty much a dead duck.  

 

I predict a few large corporates will take over most of the game and the smaller players will be forced out. They will be able to offer more for manuka sites as it is more valuable to them as they derive an income for more parts of the food chain. 

Edited by flash4cash

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I saved this report back in 2012..

 

https://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/food-beverage/documents-image-library/Investment opportunities in the honey industry -PDF 2.8 MB.pdf

 

its worth a read and a lot of what it predicted has come to fruition.

 Here’s an excerpt 

 

Quote

Experience of other sectors suggests the industry is likely to be on the crux of a number of waves of consolidation, leading to a small number of large players rather than a large number of small players. This consolidation will be driven by economies of scale and scope, increasing investment required in R&D and NPD+ and the need for in-market sales forces.
- The real opportunity for investors in this point in the industry’s life cycle is providing capital to the emerging winners to facilitate those winners driving scale through industry consolidation.
- Investments in the sector would have a wide range of available exit strategies in a 3-5 year time frame, including sale to a global nutraceutical/pharmaceutical company, sale to a competitor or listing.

 

Edited by frazzledfozzle

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1 hour ago, frazzledfozzle said:

I saved this report back in 2012..

 

https://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/food-beverage/documents-image-library/Investment opportunities in the honey industry -PDF 2.8 MB.pdf

 

its worth a read and a lot of what it predicted has come to fruition.

 Here’s an excerpt 

 

 

And yet there are more beekeeping enterprises and beeks than ever. 

The largest firm only has about 5% of the total number of hives, others of the largest firms only have 2-3%, proving this is an industry with a very diversified producer base. This is the exact opposite of what the quote said: "leading to a small number of large players rather than a large number of small players".

Personally I think the writers underestimated the effect of the low barriers to entry.

Edited by Rob's BP

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