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Pasture/clover honey prices

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Is there some reason you guys cannot sell straight to the consumer?

 

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Posted (edited)

No reason, we do. 

 

But after we sold 2 or 3 tons straight to the consumer, tell us how to sell the other 100 tons straight to the consumer.

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 Commercial beekeeping different to 1 hive hobby beekeeping. 😉

Edited by Alastair
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6 minutes ago, Bron said:

I’m gonna start having a spoon a honey regular thru the day.

 

I have been doing that for years.  Any honey is good.

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I have sometimes thought that if I was stranded on an island with no tools, If i had a couple of beehives with pollen traps, and a source of fresh water, that, and a little fossicking at the beach, i could probably live pretty healthy.

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18 minutes ago, Alastair said:

we sold 2 or 3 tons straight to the consumer, tell us how to sell the other 100 tons 

fair enough.

Please can I ask how did you sell those 2 to 3 tonnes? Do you have a website, trademe, farmer market, sign at the end of the drive, all of the above?

Sorry for being nosy.

I see some beek's have a website they list the shops where you can purchase their honey, but you can't actually buy any honey on their website.

My view is that weebly and others are dirt cheap, easy to operate and paypal is zero cost unless you make a sale and easy to print packing slips from.

A further opinion is that NZBeekeeping or a co-op or other could set up a webpage relatively easily and could sell honey in much the same way as booking.com does for B&B, motel, accommodation providers. I would pay for some honey and then the packing slip would go to the beekeeper from that website and he would send it out. It is a very low overhead way of working IMO as proven by aliexpress. It will not shift 100 tonnes overnight but a decent investment in google adwords and so on will generate traffic and prices could be high enough to be postage included for all NZ. With minimal fees for the website it would be a way of all working together to expand your markets. 

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Posted (edited)

 

16 minutes ago, ChrisM said:

Please can I ask how did you sell those 2 to 3 tonnes? Do you have a website, trademe, farmer market, sign at the end of the drive, all of the above?

Sorry for being nosy.

 

Of last seasons crop I have sold the manuka to a packer which was just over a ton, the rest was bush, all was direct sold to the public or shops and have sold around 7 tons thus far, still got a bit to go but because this seasons crop has all been manuka I'll be glad of some last seasons bush to keep the customers happy till i see what i get next season.

 

How I sold it? Wasn't greedy, gave lots away free to get shops etc started, and have some wonderful friends who have helped out massively, distributing it to their own networks of friends. A bunch of people who sell at markets have topped up their own supplies with honey from me also.

 

I don't have a website or any way to advertise other than word of mouth.

 

Something i believe about marketing is never negative advertise, ie, don't run down someone else in the same industry to plug your own sales. Such advertising is always bad for an industry as a whole, it creates public awareness that all may not be right and that rubs off on the whole industry, good and bad players alike. That, and strong personal relationships, which I try to have with both customers, and landowners.

 

 

 

 

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I only have at this time 320 hives as a retirement hobby, so do not have the big tonnages of honey that the bigger beekeepers do, which would be impossible to sell direct to the consumer, unless some marketing system is set up such as online sales, etc. Even then, it's just not possible for the bigger guys.

Edited by Alastair
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51 minutes ago, mischief said:

Is there some reason you guys cannot sell straight to the consumer?

Hi Mischief - It's a bit difficult for a sole operator to do everything in the business.  The outfits I know that are very good at selling direct to the consumer, the markets were developed decades ago and those markets need a lot of attention, and those outfits still sell a lot of bulk to packers.  Some have to bring in other family to help direct sales, others contract other aspects of the beekeeping business out.  Many beekeepers, just focus on producing product to sell in bulk to packers - that's what they know and that's what they are comfortable with.  Marketing, packing ,website, bureaucracy, beekeeping etc are totally different ball games.  Hope that helps answer your question.  

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9 minutes ago, Alastair said:

I only have at this time 320 hives as a retirement hobby

a ratio of 320 hives per worker doesn't sound like a hobby to me; sounds like hard work and I'd suggest that every beekeeping company should employ people at that ratio or more.

 

I think a retail website that any beekeeper with paperwork could join (free) and sell at low overhead costs would be a good thing if the entity running the website was a neutral entity that doesn't sell honey itself or have any other interest or agenda.  aliexpress/booking.com show it can work and each facilitates quite a lot of business.

 

But meanwhile even as an internet amateur it is possible to set up a cheap website and make sales of your own honey and I have visited the websites of NZ Bee forum members who have taken that step without being large or huge beekeeping organisations and with no link or relation to me. I very much doubt that they all regret it or they would have closed their websites long ago. I guess anyone who wants to have a website already does (?), but in general it is far far easier to create a website with (say) weebly and to use (say) paypal buy buttons than it used to be. Practically anyone can do it now whereas 10 years ago I think you would have needed a propellor hat. If you set up your own website you'll need to spend of order $200 per annum for basic domain name email and website, aside from that you will burn some hours setting it up. But rather than a proliferation of tiny obscure websites, it would be better if we all asked NZ Beekeeping to consider a platform for this to help provide a recognised retail outlet on the net.

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25 minutes ago, ChrisM said:

a ratio of 320 hives per worker doesn't sound like a hobby to me; sounds like hard work and I'd suggest that every beekeeping company should employ people at that ratio or more.

 

To be honest i do get that reaction. But when i started most bee outfits were running around 1,000 hives per man. Second place I worked for had 2,700 hives and 2 workers. That's about the staffing ratio many could afford back then. No varroa though which has added work, been good and bad. Years ago after varroa started to take hold, there was an article in the NZ Beekeeper lamenting that the once 1,000 hives per man ratio had been reduced to 700 per man by varroa.

 

I'm old and nowhere near as fit as I used to be, but have no issues running 320 hives. But it's no frills I don't do pollination and don't migrate much. Don't extract either. So i have time to idle away on chat sites 😄, and follow other interests also. What's happened is probably more than 1/2 the commercial NZ beekeepers who exist now have started since boom honey prices, which has enabled inefficiency. I recall a commercial beekeeper on this site maybe a couple of years ago saying it would be impossible to run more than 250 hives per man. Most of the longer established beekeepers are running 500 hives per man or more, they will be the ones more likely to still be here in 5 years.

 

Now the financial screws are going on, people are going to find ways to manage with less staff, necessity is the mother of invention.

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3 hours ago, ChrisM said:
3 hours ago, Alastair said:

I only have at this time 320 hives as a retirement hobby

a ratio of 320 hives per worker doesn't sound like a hobby to me; sounds like hard work and I'd suggest that every beekeeping company should employ people at that ratio or more

I have 600 plus. Mainly myself. Dad helps occasionally. I work in with brother and dad to harvest. It's a big workload over spring till boxes go on in dec\jan.  Probably shift hives 3 to 4 times for pollination. We extract our own as well. 

When flat out I cut some corners. Do things in a rush or not at all. Seems to work out. Running 600 on honey only would be no issue   But I would be broke.

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5 hours ago, mischief said:

Is there some reason you guys cannot sell straight to the consumer?

 

one of the simple issues is that we make more honey than we could possibly ever sell locally. any decent local market that has good sales typically has beeks fighting over spots in it to sell.

really if your going to do any decent quantity its going to be overseas and thats a whole different ball game.

 

i used to sell at the market many years ago, one of the other issues is it another working day to fit into your week. to do more volume you need to sell at different markets, then when do you fit the bee work in? you really need to have someone else do it, then they need paying,  then you need to run more hives to pay for it, and it can snowball.

 

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3 hours ago, Alastair said:

 😄I recall a commercial beekeeper on this site maybe a couple of years ago saying it would be impossible to run more than 250 hives per man.

Wonder what they're managing/doing now

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Since you ask, I'm not saying who it was, however they still have hives but make their money from something else.

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1 hour ago, Alastair said:

Since you ask, I'm not ssaying who it was, however they still have hives but make their money from something else.

sorry, wasn't asking you to know names. hadn't really expected you'd know - Impressed by your approach to your answer. thank you

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I run 360 hives and agree with Alistair. It's a bit of a hobby.

When I started we would run at least 1000 hives per man and that included pollination, comb honey and doing a fair bit of the extraction.The odd day off was spent tramping.

Varoa has increased the Workload a bit, but the main change it has caused is the need to get jobs done in a more timely manner. I was helping a friend on the weekend. Here's a part-time beekeeper with a full-time job and sometimes is a week or two late with things like varoa treatment.. Sometimes he gets away with it and sometimes like this year you can see the consequences of not being able to do a job when it needs doing.

 

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21 minutes ago, john berry said:

When I started we would run at least 1000 hives per man 

 

My understanding from way back (second hand info i will admit), was that Arataki were quite often running 2,000 hives per man.

 

I did find that a little scary and decided I was never going to apply for a job at Arataki. 😮 😄

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17 hours ago, tristan said:

we make more honey than we could possibly ever sell locally

 

yes this is true. However as discussed by people more experienced than me in other threads. NZ does already buy far more than it eats. Where does it go? What has been highlighted is that the tourists and daigou trade purchase about 2/3 of domestic honey sold and they export it home in their suitcases without any RMP nor MPI standard required for that. They also would have been laughing about how cheap it was. So those people selling locally will likely see a 67% reduction in their sales; regardless of price. That is pretty bad news for anyone depending on it!

 

Brief summation of the other thread was that figures for annual consumption per capita for NZ are way higher than other countries and tourists was the reason given. So, I can only expect domestic sales to plummet badly.

 

For RMP export beekeepers it is likely demand will go up accordingly, assuming a zero sum game and that the supply chain is working and high quality honey is seen as beneficial. So that's good news for anyone depending on export. Distribution is however a big "if" at the moment.

 

Meanwhile, I believe a retail website run by a recognised institution and supported by a variety of different beekeepers could help the situation. 

 

I don't know what the legality is of posting a single 500g container of honey overseas, but presumably each country has their own rules and most commercial beekeepers do already have RMP and so there might be an entirely legal way for consumers overseas to buy some of this honey retail and in doing so cut out nearly all of the ticket clippers (?). This might provide some competitive pressure on some packers to up their game.

 

This might provide a win for beekeepers and for end consumers that is entirely above board. DHL and others would be interested in such a contract.

A co-op doesn't have to buy your honey, but everyone could still co-operate aliexpress style.

 

By the way, I am not registered for NP1 nor RMP and I have never sold a drop of honey. I have no agenda on this, I'm just saying that is how I see it as an interested observer...

 

 

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I have known beekeepers that ran 2000 hives by themselves but I was not one of them. Arataki like a lot of other beekeepers at the time had beekeepers that mostly kept bees but they also helped out with other work around the place and likewise some of the other staff helped out with beekeeping  during busy times.

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On 29/02/2020 at 11:06 AM, Ted said:

Yes that’s a great price but going back to your comment about clover and the world market price - is $14 relative to what the world market price was at the time??

Ok so what market is currently saying it’s worth $8?

None - there is no volume market at $8

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3 hours ago, Boot said:

None - there is no volume market at $8

Yes exactly - that’s why I was questioning James as to how he had arrived at $8 as the minimum price he would accept for his white honey.

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52 minutes ago, Ted said:

Yes exactly - that’s why I was questioning James as to how he had arrived at $8 as the minimum price he would accept for his white honey.

Agreed - No point having a minimum at less that it will sell for. 

 

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Can NZ even have a volume market ?

We wouldn’t produce enough honey either white or non white to supply it in any world volume.

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9 minutes ago, frazzledfozzle said:

Can NZ even have a volume market ?

We wouldn’t produce enough honey either white or non white to supply it in any world volume.

Your right.  I’m guessing our relatively small volume would be thrown into the mix with other countries production hence the low price.  

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Ok so the next logical question is can we combine cutting any costs in the businesses and any upside in the honey being from NZ to get to a price that works for volume? ie is there any additional value in bulk honey being from NZ? Can we get costs low enough to meet this price? 

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