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Thomas Clow

Honey Producers Co-op Meetings Update

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Looking at the maths of the situation, when 290,000 hives produced 12,000 tonnes honey = 41.4 kg/hive

                                                                               934,000 hives produced 20,000 tonnes honey = 21.4 kg/hive.

Regardless of prices, if you averaged less than the average production per hive, two principle possible causes, severe overcrowding, and less than average beekeeping and management skills. Neither cause will be helped by trying to go into the next season with the same number of hives, rather than reduce numbers. This is a brutal way to look at it, particularly for those new to being self employed, but it really needs to come into the decision making - continuing the split/split/split game will only exacerbate both of the causes. There is no way a co-op will be able to reduce the impact of either cause for the individual beekeepers.

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It’s difficult to know what to do.

How can you walk away from your hives ?

The reality is not many people are buying hives, if you can’t afford to look after them what is the alternative ?

its pretty hard to get your head around the fact those hives are worth practically nothing compared to just 2 years ago when they were fetching $500-$1000 each.

 

Walking away from your hives it’s not just the loss of money it’s the sure death of your bees thats the most upsetting part of the process.

 

How many seasons do we hang on for ?

will anything change for the better over the next couple of years ?

 

A crystal ball would be handy about now.

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@frazzledfozzle my thoughts too ethically can't walk away but eventually will need to put food on the table...

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35 minutes ago, Sailabee said:

severe overcrowding, and less than average beekeeping and management skills.

There is also changes in land management , pasture plants,  crops planted and bush clearing 

I wonder how the equipment suppliers are coping too.

There will have to be a bit of rationalization there as well .

 

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Just now, kaihoka said:

There is also changes in land management , pasture plants,  crops planted and bush clearing 

I wonder how the equipment suppliers are coping too.

There will have to be a bit of rationalization there as well .

 

I believe that one of the large local suppliers have noticeably  reduced front line staff, and I would think that with any sort of sanity the sales of flatpack hiveware will drop hugely as people rationalise hive numbers.

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59 minutes ago, Sailabee said:

Regardless of prices, if you averaged less than the average production per hive, two principle possible causes, severe overcrowding, and less than average beekeeping and management skills.

 

For us on the Plains, intense dairying has lowered honey production, necessitating long haul.  It's like a plague in one of the biggest clover &  brassica seed production areas in the world!  Not to mention our carrot and berry pollination.  Then there is urban sprawl, exacerbated by post quakes.  Also road berms must now be mown. 

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4 minutes ago, Maggie James said:

 

For us on the Plains, intense dairying has lowered honey production, necessitating long haul.  It's like a plague in one of the biggest clover &  brassica seed production areas in the world!  Not to mention our carrot and berry pollination.  Then there is urban sprawl, exacerbated by post quakes.  Also road berms must now be mown. 

Yes, similar situation with the urban sprawl in what was rural Auckland, the hive carrying capacity is dropping all the time, and many of the developments have better than 90% site coverage with roading, buildings and paving. It's not how kiwis want to live, and many of the newbuilds will rot out fast enough to be replaced fairly quickly, sadly having demolished the bulk of the earlier homes built of heart native timbers which are routinely dumped into landfills. 

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16 hours ago, Philbee said:

No, National may be sidelined for a term or two 

If that is your wish, you might be out of luck this next time round, cos Jacinda is engaged and one would presume is going to tie the knot.  Media are going to love that as a pre election lead up.  Perhaps we could bee-inspirational and suggest a honey and api-themed occasion; raising awareness of our industry.   

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5 hours ago, Sailabee said:

many of the newbuilds will rot out fast enough to be replaced fairly quickly, sadly having demolished the bulk of the earlier homes built of heart native timbers which are routinely dumped into landfills. 

A late model house will last a heck of a long time.

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1 hour ago, yesbut said:

A late model house will last a heck of a long time.

Still building leaky homes up here, in spite of the Council Building permit process which costs an arm and a leg, and much of the inner city cost of subdividing prohibits many of the subdivisions of existing urban sections being completed. For example, one large section with house in Browns Bay could as of right be subdivided into three under the city plan, but after family had worked it out, found they could spend $180,000, and still not have it finalised. It is hard for the rest of the country to understand the sheer evil and stupidity of a 'super city'.

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Not sure what the answer is Mr NucMan.   I have been mulling over the concept of mothballing hives, but I'm not sure how to do that .....   perhaps by  not making up the deads in the spring and melting out combs, but while the price of wax is up there, after this morning conversation  the buyers are getting reluctant to buy, prefering to trade to settle accounts and leave the balance on tick to to cover spring varroa treatements.

My crystal ball tells me not to panic..... too much.   

Bees don't only make honey. they produce health giving substances like venom, royal jelly, pollen, propolis. ..... alter the angle of vision into the crystal ball ..... in a world of health nuts and eco living ..... remember the village in China where the average age of the inhabitants was about 120.... they had lotsa bees and sold the good honey and ate the garbage stuff full of pollen and bees legs ..... if you wanta live to 120 yo. 

Our own plan B involves scaling the bees back, reducing the energy that goes into running them and putting more time into other options. Beekeepers always need options for times like these.   .... whether that be a farm, a rental property, or a skill that is in high demand .....  truck driving, fixing stuff that always breaks , or being a dreamer and  following that dream.

The important thing is not to be scared of  the change.  To quote the truck sign I saw when on a pushbike safari of  the Sub Continent a while ago ....' Bread is life, and life is a journey. Travel it.'

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, jamesc said:

The important thing is not to be scared of  the change.  To quote the truck sign I saw when on a pushbike safari of  the Sub Continent a while ago ....' Bread is life, and life is a journey. Travel it.'

So you're going to become a baker ?

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Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, yesbut said:

So you're going to become a baker ?

Nah .....  I'm gonna retire and ride a motor sycle  on the nice days ! Fancy a latte in Murch ?

Edited by jamesc
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2 hours ago, jamesc said:

Nah .....  I'm gonna retire and ride a motor sycle  on the nice days ! Fancy a latte in Murch ?

Any time !  Bike # 3 arrived on the wharf last week, going up to get it soon.

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Reducing hive numbers within an operation could be as simple as combining colonies. Removing one of the queens or run them as 2 queen hives, why not you have half the number of hives now.

Unfortunately auditing of extraction sheds won’t reduce in cost or frequency. Running a vehicle won’t get any cheaper.

 

Spend a day with staff or the other half to find where you can save time and money within your businesses. “Lean Manufacturing”, look in to it, it really works and it’s amazing how and where you can save time and money.

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14 hours ago, jamesc said:

Not sure what the answer is Mr NucMan.   I have been mulling over the concept of mothballing hives, but I'm not sure how to do that .....   perhaps by  not making up the deads in the spring and melting out combs, but while the price of wax is up there, after this morning conversation  the buyers are getting reluctant to buy, prefering to trade to settle accounts and leave the balance on tick to to cover spring varroa treatements.

My crystal ball tells me not to panic..... too much.   

Bees don't only make honey. they produce health giving substances like venom, royal jelly, pollen, propolis. ..... alter the angle of vision into the crystal ball ..... in a world of health nuts and eco living ..... remember the village in China where the average age of the inhabitants was about 120.... they had lotsa bees and sold the good honey and ate the garbage stuff full of pollen and bees legs ..... if you wanta live to 120 yo. 

Our own plan B involves scaling the bees back, reducing the energy that goes into running them and putting more time into other options. Beekeepers always need options for times like these.   .... whether that be a farm, a rental property, or a skill that is in high demand .....  truck driving, fixing stuff that always breaks , or being a dreamer and  following that dream.

The important thing is not to be scared of  the change.  To quote the truck sign I saw when on a pushbike safari of  the Sub Continent a while ago ....' Bread is life, and life is a journey. Travel it.'

 

 

 

Wish I had your crystal ball mines foggy as. Can't see into it...

Accountant and bank manager wish to look at crystal ball to ....

But the knife came out and cuts have been made in every corner...

Now it's time to strap in hold on for the ride.

Good luck everybody ,may the force be with you.

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On 20/05/2019 at 8:59 AM, Sailabee said:

Yes, similar situation with the urban sprawl in what was rural Auckland, the hive carrying capacity is dropping all the time,

a lot of the urban sprawl into rural areas is lifestyle blocks and the amount of hives has increased massively as everyone has become a beekeeper to write off their tax to the "farm".

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Are producers of Manuka honey feeling any kind of financial pinch is it only those that are producing multi Manuka , Bush and low marker mono that are having problems ?

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3 hours ago, Nuc_man said:

Wish I had your crystal ball mines foggy as. Can't see into it...

Accountant and bank manager wish to look at crystal ball to ....

But the knife came out and cuts have been made in every corner...

Now it's time to strap in hold on for the ride.

Good luck everybody ,may the force be with you.

yep .... you got the bungy cord secure around your ankles ..... the drop looks scarier than heck .... but the rebound is the exhilarating part !

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On 20/05/2019 at 3:01 PM, frazzledfozzle said:

Are producers of Manuka honey feeling any kind of financial pinch is it only those that are producing multi Manuka , Bush and low marker mono that are having problems ?

I think the pinch is across the industry to greater or lesser extents. The Manuka producers do not only produce Manuka and they are not guaranteed to always produce mono and or low c4. 

For most the percentage of Multi they produce will have increased. The value of the grades varies dramatically. 

If you can guarantee production on Mono then you are definitely doing ok. Anything outside of this is taking now has a reduced value. 

 

I also believe that there will be a tightening of rules around Multi Floral labelling over the next 12 months and this will nock Multi back again. Many countries are waking up to the fact that the way some brands label (legally allowed) is tantamount to misrepresentation of ingredients. 

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6 minutes ago, Adam Boot said:

I think the pinch is across the industry to greater or lesser extents. The Manuka producers do not only produce Manuka and they are not guaranteed to always produce mono and or low c4. 

For most the percentage of Multi they produce will have increased. The value of the grades varies dramatically. 

If you can guarantee production on Mono then you are definitely doing ok. Anything outside of this is taking now has a reduced value. 

 

I also believe that there will be a tightening of rules around Multi Floral labelling over the next 12 months and this will nock Multi back again. Many countries are waking up to the fact that the way some brands label (legally allowed) is tantamount to misrepresentation of ingredients. 

The low c4 things a big load of sxxt I was getting 7-9% c4s and I was getting starvation in almost every Manuka site so I now add a frame of Bush honey when supering instead of a last 2L feed just incase it doesnt happen 

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12 minutes ago, Maru Hoani said:

The low c4 things a big load of sxxt I was getting 7-9% c4s and I was getting starvation in almost every Manuka site so I now add a frame of Bush honey when supering instead of a last 2L feed just incase it doesnt happen 

It might be load of sh1T. I do not disagree. I do not make the Chinese import rules. If you want to sell Manuka to China it has to be low C4. 

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27 minutes ago, Adam Boot said:

Many countries are waking up to the fact that the way some brands label (legally allowed) is tantamount to misrepresentation of ingredients. 

Are they waking up as you put it or are there good old kiwis running around stabbing their peers in the back.
 

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1 minute ago, Philbee said:

Are they waking up as you put it or are there good old kiwis running around stabbing their peers in the back.
 

An odd turn of phrase when we are talking about the long term protection of an industry here. I do not believe there is backstabbing involved when retailers and importers have concerns over consumer protection and honesty of labelling. It does not then take long for standards authorities and press to wake up. It may not be a big deal here or to you or us. In other countries though the largest descriptive word on the front of a food label has to represent the largest ingredient. If not it is considered false or misleading. 

Manuka Blend or Manuka Multifloral (especially when blend and multifloral are smaller text) suggests that the largest ingredient is Manuka honey. It did not take a PHD to realise this could cause a problem. Is it waking up or is it an inevitable consequence? Do we as an industry actually want to condone deliberate misleading of the consumer? I would hope not. I would hope that for the longterm prospects of the NZ honey industry, that trust, honesty and ethics would be up there with quality in the New Zealand marketing story and value proposition. 

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