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Slicing up the pie


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Things are tight in the industry and people are looking to cut costs and generate income from sources that they hadn't previously. That all makes sense but rather than looking to grow the pie it seems

Yes it's possible and has been done. By human intervention, and by nature.   In nature, swarminess can be a good or bad thing for the species, depending on conditions, and conditions have pr

Once when I was a lot younger I caught a swarm and put it into a box of foundation. That hive produced over 100 kg that year and was beautiful and quiet so I did some grafts from it. The next year the

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3 hours ago, BSB said:

Things are tight in the industry and people are looking to cut costs and generate income from sources that they hadn't previously. That all makes sense but rather than looking to grow the pie it seems that everyone is looking to get their bit of other people's slice. In the past week I have heard of 2 overseas clients being poached from those who developed them by other NZ beekeepers who are selling honey at well below cost. Similarly everyone seems to be attaching 'queen breeder' to their company name in the hope that the queens that they have carried through from last spring can be sold as 'overwintered' and that their beekeepers ( who arent breeders) can produce quality, consistent queens to sell to others. I guess this is what the industry has become at least for the short term until a few beekeepers and companies are shaken out but geez it is depressing. 

 

Honey is not really my game but queens are, and in my mind an effective breeding program is much more than just throwing some cells into a nuc. There are a lot of things that we do, developed over years that increase our productivity, quality and consistency that someone playing af queens wont have a clue about. I just hope that the $10 or $15 some people save on queens from fly by nighters at the front end doesn't cost them $100's in lost production at the back end. 

Similarly, pollination. Beefolk from far afield are chasing pollination. Adds appearing in the local rag. 

Comvita has grown into this game also. 

Good thing kiwifruit is booming. 

These beeks will shoot the gap as soon as honey pays more. Or die trying. Though us reliable local businesses might suffer in the chase. 

 

 

 

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The way I see it, it's just like any other business. Relationships are everything. How well do you really know your customer? What do you do for your customer that delivers extra value? Do you always do what you promise? Can you help add more value to their business than anyone else?

 

If you can truly tick all those boxes you'll be fine.  And if the customer doesn't see value in what you're offering, you either need to lift your game so they do, or forget them and move on.

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13 minutes ago, Pinnacle said:

If you can truly tick all those boxes you'll be fine.

Just like the building game................................................................................................................................................. then some pratt undercuts you. 

Edited by yesbut
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38 minutes ago, Pinnacle said:

The way I see it, it's just like any other business. Relationships are everything. How well do you really know your customer? What do you do for your customer that delivers extra value? Do you always do what you promise? Can you help add more value to their business than anyone else?

 

If you can truly tick all those boxes you'll be fine.  And if the customer doesn't see value in what you're offering, you either need to lift your game so they do, or forget them and move on.

You can do all that, and then a change of management. See you later, they use their other supplier. 

The shear amount of compliance now.. Makes it hard on smaller beekeepers

And some growers/packers love the glitz and glamor of big suppliers. 

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4 hours ago, Gino de Graaf said:

Similarly, pollination. Beefolk from far afield are chasing pollination. Adds appearing in the local rag. 

Comvita has grown into this game also. 

Good thing kiwifruit is booming. 

These beeks will shoot the gap as soon as honey pays more. Or die trying. Though us reliable local businesses might suffer in the chase. 

 

 

 

 

Funny you should say that, I was busy doing cell work when I happened to look up at the sound of a truck driving up the valley and blow me if it was a truck and trailer unit with midlands and bees all over the sides. Seemed to be loaded and was up the valley for over an hour before so saw it heading out.

Thinking maybe they’ve scored some pollination and ousted some of the local beekeepers but only guessing.

hopefully they aren’t too close to any of our mating yards I would be pretty annoyed to have all those unknown drones flooding our area :( 

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10 minutes ago, frazzledfozzle said:

 

Funny you should say that, I was busy doing cell work when I happened to look up at the sound of a truck driving up the valley and blow me if it was a truck and trailer unit with midlands and bees all over the sides. Seemed to be loaded and was up the valley for over an hour before so saw it heading out.

Thinking maybe they’ve scored some pollination and ousted some of the local beekeepers but only guessing.

hopefully they aren’t too close to any of our mating yards I would be pretty annoyed to have all those unknown drones flooding our area :( 

You'll soon find out and report. Long drive for them. 

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7 hours ago, Sailabee said:

will proudly tell you how agro they are, which they read as a positive characteristic, as if nice bees are inferior.

Fact is some agro Hive swill be very good and some Nice hives will be very poor both in diverse regards.
That's the nature of genetics and thank goodness for that.

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I watched the program on tv 3 on cannabis and it reminded me of the bee keeping industry .

A narrowly very usefull product hyped into a magic cure all .

Weasle words like , quality control, regulation , standardisation,  all  shorthand for corporate take over .

People who have never had any interest in the product or the industry jumping in for the money .

I hope the bubble bursts and they loose their millions .

It would serve them right .

 

 

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1 hour ago, kaihoka said:

I watched the program on tv 3 on cannabis and it reminded me of the bee keeping industry .

A narrowly very usefull product hyped into a magic cure all .

Weasle words like , quality control, regulation , standardisation,  all  shorthand for corporate take over .

People who have never had any interest in the product or the industry jumping in for the money .

I hope the bubble bursts and they loose their millions .

It would serve them right .

 

 

Its crazy, however NZ is a peasant country and we will likely cave to the corporate pressure.
Consider also that we are only one rung up the ladder from the likes of the Solomon Islands who have just swapped Taiwan for China.

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Using my 20 years experience, this winter I ran one off four hour tutorials for experienced people to run a grafting yard, stock selection, nuc yards, basic bee biology etc.  Many attendees had kept bees all their working lives.  I was extremely pleased with attendances and feedback. 

 

I met some very interesting people, and heard about different beekeeping practises throughout the country.  Quite a number have kept in touch with me. 

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11 hours ago, yesbut said:

Just like the building game................................................................................................................................................. then some pratt undercuts you. 

Ain't that the truth....

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15 hours ago, Gino de Graaf said:

 

Comvita has grown into this game also. 

 

 

 

 

 

If Comvita are chasing pollination for the first time ever what does that say about the state of the honey market ?

Karin Koss in every media release talks about NZ  still having a strong active Manuka market, if that’s the case why is Comvita looking to do pollination and why is there so much active honey sitting in sheds with no buyer interest ?

 Every man and his dog are now calling themselves queen breeders I see this lasting a couple of seasons before they give it up and As  @BSBsaid why would a beekeeper take a chance on saving $20 on an unproven queen rearer at the front end to lose $200 in the back end at harvest time.

Edited by frazzledfozzle
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Exactly @frazzledfozzle, why would someone pay stupid money for a queen on Trademe, buying from someone with half a dozen hives calling themselves a queen breeder? I remember a top ayrshire breeder and judge saying that from a herd of 200 cows, no matter how good they are, there should not be more than 10 cows max that you should keep a bull from if you wish to maintain the standard, or better still improve it, and that does not take into account that many of that ten will have heifers.

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On the other side of the ledger, the stock response to almost any fluctuation in hive dynamics is to requeen. Who started that nonsense? And my least favourite the queens that have a 'tendency to swarm', well if they didn't we'd all be in trouble.

 

Obviously a commercial beekeeper is going to need commercial quantities of queens under some circumstances but they aren't going to be buying $10 queens from nigelgoodbuzz123 at trade me, they will be using established sources.

 

As a hobbyist I vote for superceedure, swarming and good hive management.

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5 hours ago, frazzledfozzle said:

 

If Comvita are chasing pollination for the first time ever what does that say about the state of the honey market ?

Karin Koss in every media release talks about NZ  still having a strong active Manuka market, if that’s the case why is Comvita looking to do pollination and why is there so much active honey sitting in sheds with no buyer interest ?

 Every man and his dog are now calling themselves queen breeders I see this lasting a couple of seasons before they give it up and As  @BSBsaid why would a beekeeper take a chance on saving $20 on an unproven queen rearer at the front end to lose $200 in the back end at harvest time.

Comvita had been pollinating a few years. Big company Seeka takes thousands.... I imagine it's a bit of cash flow. I think they are pushing it

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3 hours ago, Maggie James said:

 

I don't want any swarms near me thanks.  I'm in a high density AFB area!  Currently all clear for me

 

Swarm cells make new queens and if managed don't spray bees around the neighbourhood . If you are in a high AFB area the worry is an AFB weakened hive being robbed by your own bees.

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9 hours ago, frazzledfozzle said:

Karin Koss in every media release talks about NZ  still having a strong active Manuka market, if that’s the case why is Comvita looking to do pollination and why is there so much active honey sitting in sheds with no buyer interest ?

The Manuka market is strong, it is just different to how it was, now buyers are being very picky on quality, and quality does not only mean activity. Comvita are not immune from producing honey that does not meet their market conditions, and yes their beekeeping operations losing money so do what every one else in business does, look for other opportunities. they are not the only big beekeepers looking to do pollination, some under cutting of prices happening, last time that happen in kiwifruit pollination was in the late 80s early 90s when arataki honey came and undercut everyone with 1000s of hives, so history just repeating itself.

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33 minutes ago, Apihappy said:

 

Swarm cells make new queens and if managed don't spray bees around the neighbourhood . If you are in a high AFB area the worry is an AFB weakened hive being robbed by your own bees.

 

I am just a beekeeper who admits to not knowing everything about honey bees. 

 

Have you ever read "Elimination of AFB Disease Without the Use of Drugs" by M Goodwin (revised edition 2018).  It is highly recommended for those sitting their DECA

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18 minutes ago, Dennis Crowley said:

The Manuka market is strong, it is just different to how it was, now buyers are being very picky on quality, and quality does not only mean activity. Comvita are not immune from producing honey that does not meet their market conditions, and yes their beekeeping operations losing money so do what every one else in business does, look for other opportunities. they are not the only big beekeepers looking to do pollination, some under cutting of prices happening, last time that happen in kiwifruit pollination was in the late 80s early 90s when arataki honey came and undercut everyone with 1000s of hives, so history just repeating itself.

Hey Dennis is Comvita taking contracts? 

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Funny that. Manuka producers used to avoid pollination like the plague. 😉

 

Few years ago i heard Comvita were testing the waters for pollination, but then last few years things haven't been working out for them, share price sliding and all.

 

And now, I'm listening to the radio, and hear an advertisement for a seminar where you can pay good money to go and listen to the former CEO of Manuka Health, telling you how to run an innovative and successful business. 🤔 :35_thinking:

Edited by Alastair
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