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Jose Thayil

Honey Price Slumps on news

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We have'nt dropped the price in our shop. Honey is still $12/kg ..... you bring the pot .... which is $3/kg cheaper than a new operation that has opened up ten k's down the road.

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From the article - "Nelson's Mountain Valley Honey owner Murray Elwood said many honey producers were selling their honey at $3.50 to $4 a kilogram to packers while the "sustainable level" was between $8 and $10".

 

LoL if the "sustainable level" for some beekeepers is 8 - 10 dollars a kilo they may as well quit now. Can't see any reason for that to happen any time in the forseeable future.

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Why does Karin Kos keep underplaying the state of the industry right now.

25-50% drop in prices ?
it’s more like 70% if you can even sell it.

She also says it’s a temporary problem, I wonder what her idea of temporary is.

3 minutes ago, Alastair said:

From the article - "Nelson's Mountain Valley Honey owner Murray Elwood said many honey producers were selling their honey at $3.50 to $4 a kilogram to packers while the "sustainable level" was between $8 and $10".

 

LoL if the "sustainable level" for some beekeepers is 8 - 10 dollars a kilo they may as well quit now. Can't see any reason for that to happen any time in the forseeable future.


what would you put a sustainable level at ?

im sure it’s different for many beekeepers for all sorts of reasons 

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I think Karin kos needs to come down south and take a look from behind the manuka tree....by autumn this season there will be carnage. 

I'm 4th generation love bees and what I do but I can't work for nothing. 

Pre varroa /low prices I was able to leave a super on and get a winter job ,this time I walk away the bees die but as everybody realizes you walk away you give you neighbor a ####load of varroa and other nasties. This is happening ...

Once the bees are gone....?

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1 hour ago, frazzledfozzle said:

it’s more like 70% if you can even sell it.

 

Yup that's the truth.

 

1 hour ago, frazzledfozzle said:

what would you put a sustainable level at ?

 

For me, if I could get $7 i could live well. $5 + I would do OK. $4, struggle street.

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Agreed @Alastair anything less than 5$ will mean bye bye bees

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Outside of the honey price , debt loading and production per hive is a big issue , providing of course there is a market for said honey . I think debt is the biggest issue , especially when margins are tight .  Even at historically low interest rates ,  I wouldn’t be surprised if average debt servicing is sitting at plus $1/kg . Then you add overstocking/low yields without even talking about market conditions and the picture isn’t pretty . I think it was someone on here (maybe @john berry ) said something along the lines of a beekeeper needs to be able to survive at least a year without income . Loaded with debt that’s not possible .  @Nuc_man hit the nail on the head re the labour requirement . You just can’t pull back on labour and expect no negative impact . I’ve downsized enough so that I can essentially work full time to survive , but spare time is with the bees , so work life balance isn’t ideal at present. 

 

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In the great depression of the 1930's although farmers walked off their land and businesses folded, no beekeepers went bankrupt.

 

That was because some years earlier, banks had loaned money to beekeepers who then got AFB (which had been rampant), which along with some bad beekeeping meant the investment became worthless, and not recoverable. So leading up to the depression, banks had a policy of not lending on bees. If you had bees, you wouldn't have a debt against them.

 

That has been my policy all my life, don't borrow to get bees. When I started my own bee business i started small, and funded growth from the profits. Worked a day job also, never borrowed anything. That's because I had already worked for other commercial beekeepers a number of years and knew the financial story at the time. Didn't take that long to get established though, my view, if you cannot make enough money to fund decent growth, you probably can't make enough money to risk taking out a loan either.

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10 hours ago, Alastair said:

 

Yup that's the truth.

 

 

For me, if I could get $7 i could live well. $5 + I would do OK. $4, struggle street.


how do you even get your head around working it out ?

i have no clue how much we need to get to be sustainable I just blunder along and hope for the best.

not a very good one of running a business is it

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1 hour ago, frazzledfozzle said:


how do you even get your head around working it out ?

i have no clue how much we need to get to be sustainable I just blunder along and hope for the best.

not a very good one of running a business is it

Well, its a bit of a squint at your annual accounts and look at where the absolute expenses lie and what can be spent for a season and what can't.    After paring down to the nub, then compare against your average production I guess would be a starting point or something like that.  I reckon @Alastair has a fair handle on it. 

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12 hours ago, Alastair said:

 

Yup that's the truth.

 

 

For me, if I could get $7 i could live well. $5 + I would do OK. $4, struggle street.

Ok, if I didn't have pollination work, there is no way I could live on 5. Because I produce a box year. That's 100 bucks a hive. I don't carry a debt (well to myself I do, the business borrowed a bit of our personal dough). 

Mrs Koss has no idea...

Folk are driving bee loads to chase a crop of no certainly. 

 

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2 hours ago, frazzledfozzle said:


how do you even get your head around working it out ?

i have no clue how much we need to get to be sustainable I just blunder along and hope for the best.

not a very good one of running a business is it

Years ago when I was dairy farming ,they had mark and measure groups , where farmers essentially opened their books . The resulting data meant that  each farmer could measure not only their businesses productivity , but also financial performance relative to other similar businesses . 

 

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53 minutes ago, Gino de Graaf said:

Ok, if I didn't have pollination work, there is no way I could live on 5. Because I produce a box year. That's 100 bucks a hive.

 

Not really the right way of looking at it. When you don't do pollination your honey crop will go up. We are in the same area, I have done pollination for a long time but not anymore. Honey crop now is 50Kg + over the last four seasons.

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Hi Gerrit, that is good going.  Imagine half of that could be spring honey? 

I can't see getting 3 boxes in my area, 

Probably get Willow and buttercup. No buyer for that.

 

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7 hours ago, Alastair said:

In the great depression of the 1930's although farmers walked off their land and businesses folded, no beekeepers went bankrupt.

 

That was because some years earlier, banks had loaned money to beekeepers who then got AFB (which had been rampant), which along with some bad beekeeping meant the investment became worthless, and not recoverable. So leading up to the depression, banks had a policy of not lending on bees. If you had bees, you wouldn't have a debt against them.

 

That has been my policy all my life, don't borrow to get bees. When I started my own bee business i started small, and funded growth from the profits. Worked a day job also, never borrowed anything. That's because I had already worked for other commercial beekeepers a number of years and knew the financial story at the time. Didn't take that long to get established though, my view, if you cannot make enough money to fund decent growth, you probably can't make enough money to risk taking out a loan either.

 

sustainable growth vs a quick debt financed "gold rush" bubble. Not just in the beekeeping industry.

 

when the "crisis" is over there will be some buisnesses that have survived and others that have not...

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17 hours ago, frazzledfozzle said:

Why does Karin Kos keep underplaying the state of the industry right now.

25-50% drop in prices ?
it’s more like 70% if you can even sell it.

She also says it’s a temporary problem, I wonder what her idea of temporary is.


what would you put a sustainable level at ?

im sure it’s different for many beekeepers for all sorts of reasons 

may be its time she moves on, dose not seem to do much for us little chaps,

5 hours ago, frazzledfozzle said:


how do you even get your head around working it out ?

i have no clue how much we need to get to be sustainable I just blunder along and hope for the best.

not a very good one of running a business is it

reading some thing some where last night they say that our neighbors over the dich could be looking at 50 -75% down on there honey crop, i could be wrong i stand corrected, 

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3 hours ago, Jas said:

Years ago when I was dairy farming ,they had mark and measure groups , where farmers essentially opened their books . The resulting data meant that  each farmer could measure not only their businesses productivity , but also financial performance relative to other similar businesses . 

 

I wish it was that simple. At least with dairy cows know one is going to move their herd of cows into the same paddock as yours just because you're making more money. I can live with lower prices but I'm not sure about living with lower production and increased costs caused by overstocking. 

Disregarding prices beekeeping has actually been pretty easy for a long time. We have had good and bad seasons but it's a long time since we have had a real shocker and many new entrants have no idea just how bad a honey season can be.

On the plus side surely it can't be too long before shareholders and banks finally realise just what a money sink corporate beekeeping is and finally pull the plug on them.

Any shortfall in the Australian honey crop is made up by imported Chinese (honey) so doesn't really have any effect on New Zealand or world honey markets. Contrary to popular opinion Australian honeys can be exceptional and their varietal honey's should have a pride of place on the world market the same as ours should.

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4 hours ago, Gino de Graaf said:

Hi Gerrit, that is good going.  Imagine half of that could be spring honey? 

I can't see getting 3 boxes in my area, 

Probably get Willow and buttercup. No buyer for that.

 

do you think that a spring nectar flow into the hive would mean more of the later flows being stored as honey while the early flow was re-invested by the bees into new bees rather than ripened and capped?

the impact of early flows and extra boxes of honey overwintered on hives has been a question i've been wondering on for a while

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12 hours ago, Alastair said:

In the great depression of the 1930's although farmers walked off their land and businesses folded, no beekeepers went bankrupt.

 

That was because some years earlier, banks had loaned money to beekeepers who then got AFB (which had been rampant), which along with some bad beekeeping meant the investment became worthless, and not recoverable. So leading up to the depression, banks had a policy of not lending on bees. If you had bees, you wouldn't have a debt against them.

 

That has been my policy all my life, don't borrow to get bees. When I started my own bee business i started small, and funded growth from the profits. Worked a day job also, never borrowed anything. That's because I had already worked for other commercial beekeepers a number of years and knew the financial story at the time. Didn't take that long to get established though, my view, if you cannot make enough money to fund decent growth, you probably can't make enough money to risk taking out a loan either.

I'm debt free and own everything outwrigh but only have enough money to get my honey off, treatments in and cover probly half of the extraction costs at $15 a box then testing. 

This seasons going to be pretty tight, I don't think I would last one more season if there wasn't a crop. 

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Couldn't really give that post a like Maru, I wanted to give it something, but like is not the right thing when somebody is in desperate circumstances. 

 

You are certainly not alone, probably most of us are between a rock and a hard place.

 

The temptation is to borrow money to get through but to me, that's the slippery slope to hell. Me, not quite sure what I'm going to do, but if I go under, I'll go under without going into debt first. One way or another life will go on, and it will be better debt free.

 

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4 hours ago, john berry said:

Any shortfall in the Australian honey crop is made up by imported Chinese (honey) so doesn't really have any effect on New Zealand or world honey markets. Contrary to popular opinion Australian honeys can be exceptional and their varietal honey's should have a pride of place on the world market the same as ours should.

The above accepted, I wonder what price(s) the beeks have been getting for their honey over the ditch?

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2 hours ago, tommy dave said:

do you think that a spring nectar flow into the hive would mean more of the later flows being stored as honey while the early flow was re-invested by the bees into new bees rather than ripened and capped?

the impact of early flows and extra boxes of honey overwintered on hives has been a question i've been wondering on for a while

The bees get a good head of steam, uninterrupted growth if wanted. We pull bees/brood to slow growth, or limit the growth. Honey producers do as well though probably not to same degree.

Early flow allows you to put a third on earlier, where bees can store spring feed. 

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14 hours ago, john berry said:

I wish it was that simple. At least with dairy cows know one is going to move their herd of cows into the same paddock as yours just because you're making more money. I can live with lower prices but I'm not sure about living with lower production and increased costs caused by overstocking. 

Disregarding prices beekeeping has actually been pretty easy for a long time. We have had good and bad seasons but it's a long time since we have had a real shocker and many new entrants have no idea just how bad a honey season can be.

On the plus side surely it can't be too long before shareholders and banks finally realise just what a money sink corporate beekeeping is and finally pull the plug on them.

Any shortfall in the Australian honey crop is made up by imported Chinese (honey) so doesn't really have any effect on New Zealand or world honey markets. Contrary to popular opinion Australian honeys can be exceptional and their varietal honey's should have a pride of place on the world market the same as ours should.

Fair enough @john berry .  Areas where forming a group like that could be good would be for benchmarking costs around vehicle use/types , and extracting honey yourself ,  compared with contracting that out . There used to be a comment made that the farmer that owned a truck spent more money (and time ) keeping it on the road than the farmer who got the local firm to do his  cartage . Those are the kind of expenses that are hard to know if you are doing it as efficiently as possible without comparing with similar outfits . 

 

 

 

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Six months ago The Bank would'nt carry us any more. The credit crunch had arrived in reality. And I mean Big Time. We lightened the load.  Did'nt hire any extra casual labour, which was quite easy with over half the operation dead.

We sold anything that was'nt nailed down.  The Bach up north, cows, deer, machinery  and then restructured. 

The bank kept telling us to sell land, but we were adamant that that would not happen ..... so Nana  said she'd come and live with us and we put her house in the pot too.

 

Pgg Wrightson came to the party with their cattle plan and the place is getting restocked under  GO Beef  .... financing us through a cattle grazing scheme .....

 

We are almost there.... out of debt .... but at this state of play cash flow is non existent until well into the winter.

And that is the scary part.

 There is no doubt the industry is in an absolute shambles and Karin needs to speak the truth and  in a very blunt fashion as when the chips are down  sometimes the workers feel a bit of enthusiasm when word comes down  that we have a problem.

Not that anyone is going to bail us out . That is upto our own ingenuity and creativity. 

 

And that is a very down to earth state of affairs of our operation.

 

The only positive thing is that we have almost 100 tonnes of honey sitting in the shed...... and that's what gets me out of bed every morning .

 

 

 

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