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Research priorities - still valid ?

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The ApiNZ Science & Research group met up via Zoom recently (and will do so again next week). As mentioned in the weekly email that goes out, one of the topics discussed was research priorities in these times. These times meaning '2020' . . and the fact that there are limited funds available. However recent government announcements of more money to CRIs and universities would give us hope that some of this may flow to apiculture.

 

@Pike did an excellent job (many will remember him with a series of computers at conference a few years back) getting beekeepers' input. So the question is simple - have these priorities changed? Or are they still as valid today as they were a couple of years ago. If you have other thoughts then share them as well (as long as they're to the topic of science and research in apiculture ! )

We've attached just the top overview with the slides on the top 3 priorities due to space constraints (its a 5MB file) . . but if you want the whole file, please email ApiNZ and ask for the research priorities file [JM]

 

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I find this really telling, the four areas where beekeepers actually make their income from are the lowest in importance.

0.03 Pollination - 0.04 Marketing - 0.08 Manuka - 0.14 Other Honeys.

Goes to show most beekeepers don't understand the business they are in.

We are food producers and use bees to produce that food, honey, and we don't get paid until the lady in Spain buys our honey, not the packers, the lady in Spain.

Until this industry wakes and realize this, we won't make the gains in income and research we should.

We have a product the world loves, honey, produced clean and free from adulteration, the worlds crying out for clean food and we have it.

" The important gets in the way of the necessary" All the other areas of research are important, but selling our honey is necessary to be able to afford/do all that research.

As the Beatles sang we need to "Come Together" not "Yesterday" so I hope "We Can Work It Out" it may be "A Long And Winding Road"but I'm sure we can "Get Back" to where it will be "Strawberry Fields Forever", if we don't it will continue to be "Helter Skelter" "Here There And Everywhere"

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1 hour ago, Dennis Crowley said:

I find this really telling, the four areas where beekeepers actually make their income from are the lowest in importance.

0.03 Pollination - 0.04 Marketing - 0.08 Manuka - 0.14 Other Honeys.

Goes to show most beekeepers don't understand the business they are in.

i disagree on that.

its more about what things are already been done. pollination, marketing etc all have their own programs in place already and each beek can do their own. in fact many prefer to do their own.

what it shows is the things that beeks need support to do, because they can't do it on their own.

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1 hour ago, Dennis Crowley said:

I find this really telling, the four areas where beekeepers actually make their income from are the lowest in importance.

0.03 Pollination - 0.04 Marketing - 0.08 Manuka - 0.14 Other Honeys.

Goes to show most beekeepers don't understand the business they are in.

We are food producers and use bees to produce that food, honey, and we don't get paid until the lady in Spain buys our honey, not the packers, the lady in Spain.

Until this industry wakes and realize this, we won't make the gains in income and research we should.

We have a product the world loves, honey, produced clean and free from adulteration, the worlds crying out for clean food and we have it.

" The important gets in the way of the necessary" All the other areas of research are important, but selling our honey is necessary to be able to afford/do all that research.

As the Beatles sang we need to "Come Together" not "Yesterday" so I hope "We Can Work It Out" it may be "A Long And Winding Road"but I'm sure we can "Get Back" to where it will be "Strawberry Fields Forever", if we don't it will continue to be "Helter Skelter" "Here There And Everywhere"

You must love the Beatles. 

If the world's Crying out for our honey, 

Why can't I sell it? And if I do, at a low price. You don't make sense.

I depend on our Buyers\ Marketers to do their jobs well. For me and them.

Currently it's for them, as they look for big returns. They are failing.

It's probably why Egmont lost their access to Woolworths. Priced the product too high? Disappointing. 

The marketers are used to solid return on lowish volumes. Not narrower returns on higher volume.

 

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Given the current situation then research into honeys at this time could be expected to feature higher than a few years ago. For interest sake, here was the work detail on the other segments ('other honeys' and 'pollination') that Dennis mentions. So, should focus move more to these areas? When this was first posted, we noted that some said that varroa was no longer the issue it once was, thanks to ox/gly staples.

So if you have ideas around honeys, varroa, AFB then please sing out [JM]

 

Research priorities V.PNG

Research priorities VI.PNG

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I like this Topic .

 

It's the nitty gritty of the forum .... about getting information out there and getting feedback.   

One question to @Dennis Crowley is .....'who is the lady in Spain ?' 

 

But seriously .....  there are probably three dilemma's facing commercial beekeepers right now.

 

One is selling our Non Manuka  to the Lady in Spain.

Second is varroa

Third is AFB.

Manuka is a poor fourth .... it sells itself so very little funding needs to be thrown at that.

 

If we can get the Lady in Spain to take all our honey , that will give us discretionary income to sort  out the next two.

O/A shows great potential, and has the ability to save beekeepers thousands  of dollars , which they can then go spend elsewhere and crank the economy.

AFB .....  we have the tools to limit the spread ..... I'm not sure we'll ever eradicate it as we don't have a cohesiveness in the industry to conform to the protocols .... but the potential is there .... 

Perhaps a local APINZ person would like to come to the Dog Day next Sunday and talk to the Bitch in charge ......

 

Just some thoughts on a chilly evening .

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8 hours ago, tristan said:

i disagree on that.

its more about what things are already been done. pollination, marketing etc all have their own programs in place already and each beek can do their own. in fact many prefer to do their own.

what it shows is the things that beeks need support to do, because they can't do it on their own.

It shows what beek's want help with, but dont pay for, as they got very little money or don't care.

How many years have we been trying to get things done in this industry and gone cap in hand to a few to get help.

There is no shortage of money for industries for research, there is millions of dollars out there, each industry just got to have some seed money, the bee industry has never had the seed since it lost its levy.

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10 minutes ago, jamesc said:

'who is the lady in Spain ?

I think she lives mainly on the plains

 

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21 minutes ago, Dennis Crowley said:

I think she lives mainly on the plains

 

Now you got me thinking ..... movie lyrics ..... the rain in Spain ...... crikey, that was an old one ......

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23 hours ago, Gino de Graaf said:

You must love the Beatles. 

Really enjoying Spotify where I can listen to all the music I cant find on normal radio station

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14 hours ago, jamesc said:

Now you got me thinking ..... movie lyrics ..... the rain in Spain ...... crikey, that was an old one ......

She is just a figure head if you like for all the end buyers of nz honey across the world, when i went to type, she just popped into my head, random thoughts that lie in wait until needed.

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22 hours ago, jamesc said:

there are probably three dilemma's facing commercial beekeepers right now.

One is selling our Non Manuka  to the Lady in Spain.

Second is varroa

Third is AFB.

 

Any thoughts on the various suggested projects under these 3 areas? And the breakdown of efforts?

e.g. should all efforts go into the 'marketing of monofloral NZ honeys', at the cost of any varroa/AFB research?  There is another meeting of the Science & Research group coming up (you can see more on the group here) and research areas are a leading topic currently. 

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Posted (edited)

Good question .

 

I think in reality marketing is a personal thing . We have seen the lack of interest in supporting Bruce Clowe's co op ideas.... so lets put that on the back burner and rely on market force sorting the situation.

AFB ..... The agency is in charge, for better or for worse, and again, the final outcome is upto the diligence of every beekeeper.

 

I would suggest that the biggest issue facing Beekeepers at the moment is Varroa Destructor.

 

The research project that might  have the most benefit is O/A and following up on all the work that Philbee has put in.  

We sort of know that at some stage we are all going to have to face the reality of synthetic resistant varroa.

If we can fine tune  the O/A process  and make the back shed manufacture  of staples foolproof , that would be a game changer for many business's.

Forewarned is fore armed.

I know for a fact that I would be smiling if I could confidently use a treatment that would save me many thousands of dollars.

 

We are told that the o/A thread has gone underground . There is probably a lot of experience and knowledge out there that can be tapped into for the benefit of the wider community.... right ?

Edited by jamesc
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On 6/6/2020 at 7:05 PM, jamesc said:

I like this Topic .

 

It's the nitty gritty of the forum .... about getting information out there and getting feedback.   

One question to @Dennis Crowley is .....'who is the lady in Spain ?' 

 

But seriously .....  there are probably three dilemma's facing commercial beekeepers right now.

 

One is selling our Non Manuka  to the Lady in Spain.

Second is varroa

Third is AFB.

Manuka is a poor fourth .... it sells itself so very little funding needs to be thrown at that.

 

 

For the sake of debate it could be argued that seen as a major part of the bee Industary is based on Manuka honey protecting its position should be high on the list.

I realise that those who are producing other honeys and are not able to sell it at a price that covers costs may disagree.

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9 hours ago, Jamo said:

For the sake of debate it could be argued that seen as a major part of the bee Industary is based on Manuka honey protecting its position should be high on the list.

I realise that those who are producing other honeys and are not able to sell it at a price that covers costs may disagree.

If you can sell your M at 50 a kilo do your own protection.  

M is the wedge prying apart beekeeping, by creating many negative outcomes. 

 

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3 hours ago, Gino de Graaf said:

If you can sell your M at 50 a kilo do your own protection.  

M is the wedge prying apart beekeeping, by creating many negative outcomes. 

 

I think that is what is happening through the umf group and it's levy system but it needs the support of the Industary bodies.

I Agree that Manuka has created a number of negative outcomes but there have been positives as well.

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19 hours ago, jamesc said:

Good question .

 

I think in reality marketing is a personal thing . We have seen the lack of interest in supporting Bruce Clowe's co op ideas.... so lets put that on the back burner and rely on market force sorting the situation.

AFB ..... The agency is in charge, for better or for worse, and again, the final outcome is upto the diligence of every beekeeper.

 

I would suggest that the biggest issue facing Beekeepers at the moment is Varroa Destructor.

 

The research project that might  have the most benefit is O/A and following up on all the work that Philbee has put in.  

We sort of know that at some stage we are all going to have to face the reality of synthetic resistant varroa.

If we can fine tune  the O/A process  and make the back shed manufacture  of staples foolproof , that would be a game changer for many business's.

Forewarned is fore armed.

I know for a fact that I would be smiling if I could confidently use a treatment that would save me many thousands of dollars.

 

We are told that the o/A thread has gone underground . There is probably a lot of experience and knowledge out there that can be tapped into for the benefit of the wider community.... right ?

 

I guess if Phil has patented this work James, then there is little incentive for other NZ researchers to work on it . . .unless it was using another matrix other than staples.

So putting aside the other honeys, then this gives similar priorities as previously - namely varroa and AFB. For AFB:

19 hours ago, jamesc said:

the final outcome is upto the diligence of every beekeeper

 

. . .yes, but some are more diligent than others. And knowledgeable. As we see from samples into the lab which are open fed comb. Or deadout hive material

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1 hour ago, JohnF said:

 

I guess if Phil has patented this work James, then there is little incentive for other NZ researchers to work on it . . .unless it was using another matrix other than staples.

So putting aside the other honeys, then this gives similar priorities as previously - namely varroa and AFB. For AFB:

My understanding is that Philbee's patent is quite specific for edge-protected staples. 

I think there is still plenty of scope to do work here. I hope to have a little more time to actually start collecting some data from my own hives from this coming Spring onwards. I predominantly used staples in autumn last year and this season they are all I have used. I am completely comfortable that they are giving me adequate varroa control but at the moment I don't have field data to back that up...

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Otto said:

My understanding is that Philbee's patent is quite specific for edge-protected staples. 

I think there is still plenty of scope to do work here. I hope to have a little more time to actually start collecting some data from my own hives from this coming Spring onwards. I predominantly used staples in autumn last year and this season they are all I have used. I am completely comfortable that they are giving me adequate varroa control but at the moment I don't have field data to back that up...

Agree, it is only a patent for a certain delivery method, if there's a better system lets find it, if not he deserves the kudos.

Edited by Dennis Crowley
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Hmm ... point taken @JohnF ... @Otto .....  so perhaps we need to hear from Philbee again ...... bring him in from the wilderness. 

 

From my point of view I am really hesitant to use O/A again until all the wrinkles have been ironed out..... and I'd like someone else do the ground work for me, because to be honest, I just don't have the time or the frame of mind to do it.

 

So ... what other research projects  are there that would benefit my business.  

I've got the AFB covered.  

Varroa is sorted  at the moment but is a  Genie waiting to be unleashed again.

The marketing of honey is a big one, but again  ..... it is not a part of our core skills ..... again, we are too busy at the coalface, and in reality,  we should be hiring a marketing person .....

 

The world knows NZ produces a quality product  ..... we know we can produce a quality product .....  I know I can sell it if I hire a marketing person to do the hard yards, but I'd have to expand bee numbers to get an economy of scale to pay  their salary,  and to be quite honest, I'm happy with the amount of bees we have at the moment.....

 

So.... Back to the Co-op which  comes down to industry unity and  public spiritedness ..... everyone chipping  in to float the ideal ..... and would APINZ become a stake holder and back that ...?

 

In these tight times, precious and limited funds don't need to be squandered on  esoteric ideas.

 

 

 

 

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15 minutes ago, jamesc said:

From my point of view I am really hesitant to use O/A again until all the wrinkles have been ironed out.....

I'm the same. I put a half site with Phil's staples. And checked lately, they look fine compared to the other half.

Haven't mite sampled, so that's later.

It was the hard hit hives got September and October that got me worried. As bees need going to orchards that time. 

I reckon if I hadn't gone to check on them within the week of placement, it could have worked out. Similarly, my late summer requeen had dismal results. 

 

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45 minutes ago, Dennis Crowley said:

Agree, it is only a patent for a certain delivery method, if there's a better system lets find it, if not he deserves the kudos.

I've struggled a bit with this patent. I wasn't a big contributor to that thread but I am of the opinion that discussions and brain-storming ideas on a public forum shouldn't lead to a product patent for one of the people contributing ideas. Then again, maybe Philbee was up front about his desire to get a saleable product out of it... I never did exhaustively read through the thread.

 

I think there is lots of information to generate and share regarding treatment timing, where and how many staples to put into a colony, side-effects of the treatment on the bees, effects of the treatment on other hive pathogens etc... None of these have much to do with a specific delivery system.

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49 minutes ago, jamesc said:

.  I know I can sell it if I hire a marketing person to do the hard yards,

How do you know??  Plenty of others are trying and failing @Boot

 

51 minutes ago, jamesc said:

So.... Back to the Co-op which  comes down to industry unity and  public spiritedness ..... everyone chipping  in to float the ideal ..... and would APINZ become a stake holder and back that ...?

Not this again???  Why would a co-op be any more successful than any of the other companies currently trying to achieve higher than international prices.

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Posted (edited)

Oh crap....

Here we go again.  

Because I am an optimist  not answerable to a board of overseas directors who are focused on return on capital yesterday ....and am prepared to wait patiently .

Because there is strength in numbers and strength in economies of scale .....

Because the present system is not working in the Beekeepers favour ...... and ..... wait for it ...... JimmyC's Coup de Graz ....

Desperate times call for innovative  measures .  

Thats why.

Edited by jamesc
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12 hours ago, Ted said:

How do you know??  Plenty of others are trying and failing @Boot

 

Not this again???  Why would a co-op be any more successful than any of the other companies currently trying to achieve higher than international prices.

Ted - Why bring me into this one?

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