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What do beekeepers do with huge losses year after year


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13 hours ago, Stoney said:

unfortunately It doesn’t feel right to share those details @frazzledfozzle

as a manuka “chaser” and one of the “bad guys” who must be “only in it for the money” etc etc .. sticking ya skull up above the  honey drums ready to be sliced and diced is how commenting feels. 

Talking about earning money or having a reasonable return from beehives when so many are struggling just don’t feel right. 
im suggesting that’s possibly why things are fairly quiet in this subject. 
 


 I think it would give the rest of us some hope !

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Last night I was talking to my mate over in Canada. Sold his crop of Canola honey to the Co-op for $6.21/kg.. NZD.   So when a local packer offers me $3.00/kg for clover with no Terramy

Last season I got lucky and produced some mono manuka. Just recieved a 1/2 payment for it and discovered there is still heaps of money in beekeeping, if you are making the right stuff. But yes, those

This past year I have watched local commercial beekeepers adding value to their honey and marketing it with skill - facebook pages, great websites, offering attractive packages online, etc.  I al

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14 hours ago, frazzledfozzle said:

Being anonymous I’m surprised there aren’t more people contributing on the forum. 
I’m a very opinionated person so find it hard to keep my big mouth shut :)

 

even though I have a ( what’s it called when you have a name that’s not your own ? ) pretty much everyone who knows me knows that frazz is me so I have tamed it down a little !! 

Alias..... Like Wildflower. Everyone who knows me knows me as a Wildflower and I can't keep my mouth shut either. 

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We are hanging in there too. This year! I’m writing a letter at the moment about things that have happened, not sure who I’m writing it to.  It was kinda sparked by watching the Sunday programme on strong wool. I see parallel problems with them & us with the multi floral (non Manuka) out there pollinating our farmers clover. 
 

So if the Manuka price is down yet sales are up (or are they?) where’s the money going?

 

It would be nice if everyone just stuck to their own jobs. Beekeepers look after the bees, packers pack the honey, marketers look after the market. When everyone did their own jobs we had a good viable industry. When everyone started to do everything was when the waters got muddy. 
 

More of everything seems to be less for everyone.

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10 hours ago, Bighands said:

I heard rumours that the shareholders at the AGM of Ngai Tahu asked questions last year as to the profitability of the honey business.It was suggested that the hives be sold.Can you imagine what 30,000 hives on the market will do to the price of beehives.

i doubt they could even sell them. not many companies would be buying in hives.

 

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Home sweet home .....

We chucked on over 600 boxes in the last day and a half, and most hives needed a couple more. But I'm rationed on both boxes and money to buy more, so it is what it is.

And as we tootled home, and stopped for a pie and iced coffee a smiling lady walked past me out of the gas station.

It was one of those chance encounters , where you briefly meet and smile ....

She had seen the branding on the truck ...... and with the smile came the comment 'Nice branding' ....

'Yeah' I said, and we were gone.

Us heading home with a tail wind, and she in her Reps car selling water.

 

And that chance encounter got me thinking ..... ' Nice branding ....'

I need to employ someone like her...... but I got no money.

The industry needs to employ someone like her..... but they got no money ......

 

And as the wind and the rain chased us home up braided  rivers and over mountain passes I mulled away .....

We are the lucky country. 

We have food and water, we have semi dry homes and peace .....

We have what many in the world want .....

 

And we have honey ..... tonnes of the stuff, and tonnes more coming in as I write ......

 

We have what  90% of the world wants ....... food .

 

So I'll cracka cold one and split open a can of beans .... and maybe the thought will get some traction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

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20 hours ago, mischief said:

Seems to me that you guys need to get together, cut out the middle man and start marketing your products yourselves.

What do you have to lose?

 

It's a weird sector. Plenty of complaining and to a certain extent apathy.

 

Innovation and tall poppies get chopped down or become so ultra protective about their idea that it doesn't take off.

 

There is little interest in using tech or marketing from the older stalwarts that have done it like this for years and no interest in the product or the process unless it's making money from the new investors.

 

You can offer solutions, alternatives, guidance and support but noone will make the jump, even when it's free. There's just this mental block that noone seems to want to push through

 

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2 hours ago, Grant said:

It's a weird sector. Plenty of complaining and to a certain extent apathy.

 

Innovation and tall poppies get chopped down or become so ultra protective about their idea that it doesn't take off.

 

There is little interest in using tech or marketing from the older stalwarts that have done it like this for years and no interest in the product or the process unless it's making money from the new investors.

 

You can offer solutions, alternatives, guidance and support but noone will make the jump, even when it's free. There's just this mental block that noone seems to want to push through

 

Hardly fair boss. We have been researching and exploring a bunch of options. 

How innovative does one need to be? How much resource and thought do we put into moving 10ton.

Honey is marketed to death. Everyone is trying it. A Story to share. Special honey, better than others...blah 

I am no stuck in the mud guy. Willing to try, and share. Beekeepers on the whole are. 

Solutions bring it on. Just don't pitch marketing to the small beekeeper. 

 

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On 16/11/2020 at 9:53 PM, Maru Hoani said:

Tell manuka health that? they come through putting mega hives in my area, sites of 24 hives not very far apart and I'm wondering how they can operate when I'm struggling to get a box every second hive off absolutely pumping hives?

They must be next on the massive loss.

And they have sites of 24 only 1-2 hundred meters apart?

I heard today that manuka health has moved in to our area and causeing problems for local beeks.

They are overcrowding the area with hives and its been a very wet spring and all the hives are weak in west of golden bay .

400mls rain in 4 weeks and no flying weather . Despite everything flowering well .

 

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23 hours ago, Bron said:

We are hanging in there too. This year! I’m writing a letter at the moment about things that have happened, not sure who I’m writing it to.  It was kinda sparked by watching the Sunday programme on strong wool. I see parallel problems with them & us with the multi floral (non Manuka) out there pollinating our farmers clover. 
 

So if the Manuka price is down yet sales are up (or are they?) where’s the money going?

 

It would be nice if everyone just stuck to their own jobs. Beekeepers look after the bees, packers pack the honey, marketers look after the market. When everyone did their own jobs we had a good viable industry. When everyone started to do everything was when the waters got muddy. 
 

More of everything seems to be less for everyone.

Having spent more time than most involved in the manufacturing sector, I see it the opposite way. I think the insane regulations for honey extraction and packing has racked up the overheads so that hive to jar operations are few and far between, so two new levels have developed - extraction and marketing so there is are now three segments of the pie, each trying to make a profit, and carry two extra levels of overheads and outgoings.

The corporates are a whole different load of stupidity, unprofitable, but seriously impacting everyone, from the hobbyists up.

 

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Apathy, shrivelled cojones, fear, mental block ....... its not for trying that honey is slow to move .... we can move certain honeys, albeit at a dismal price .

The way I see it is that there is no structure within the industry , there is no Big picture business plan that shows the way to  the end point of sale for producers and gives confidence to new producers wanting to step up and grasp the hive tool and smoker and make a go of it.

Its every man for himself.

 

If you look at sheep, beef, venison, milk there is a structure of production and processing and a definite path for product to consumer. Each step on the path is run by people who are good at what they do, and it works.   Prices for product may not be great some years , but I don't see cockies building freezers to store steak and mince pies, or cow cockies building tanks for three years worth of milk.

We see research and innovation  in farming with good ideas and hair brained ideas. 

Look at the products extracted from milk ..... I never knew some parts went into plastic.

 

I wonder what we'd find if we broke down the componentry in honey .... the building blocks for a bendable cellphone or maybe the life extender for a venison steak that didn't need to be frozen ?

 

 

At this time of year we should be buzzing with optimism.

We are on the cusp of a honey flow and all I am getting from the Misso at the moment is grief  about the diesel that is getting burnt and the extra slaves I have hired. 

I'm too scared  to  even mention the bar tab.

 

I think I'll put that down as Dog Biscuits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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33 minutes ago, jamesc said:

Apathy, shrivelled cojones, fear, mental block ....... its not for trying that honey is slow to move .... we can move certain honeys, albeit at a dismal price .

The way I see it is that there is no structure within the industry , there is no Big picture business plan that shows the way to  the end point of sale for producers and gives confidence to new producers wanting to step up and grasp the hive tool and smoker and make a go of it.

Its every man for himself.

 

If you look at sheep, beef, venison, milk there is a structure of production and processing and a definite path for product to consumer. Each step on the path is run by people who are good at what they do, and it works.   Prices for product may not be great some years , but I don't see cockies building freezers to store steak and mince pies, or cow cockies building tanks for three years worth of milk.

We see research and innovation  in farming with good ideas and hair brained ideas. 

Look at the products extracted from milk ..... I never knew some parts went into plastic.

 

I wonder what we'd find if we broke down the componentry in honey .... the building blocks for a bendable cellphone or maybe the life extender for a venison steak that didn't need to be frozen ?

 

 

At this time of year we should be buzzing with optimism.

We are on the cusp of a honey flow and all I am getting from the Misso at the moment is grief  about the diesel that is getting burnt and the extra slaves I have hired. 

I'm too scared  to  even mention the bar tab.

 

I think I'll put that down as Dog Biscuits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

James, The industry has always been disruptive or should I say disjointed.The only way I can see the way out is for the government to legislate like they have with the milk and kiwifruit industry. I spoke at length with the minister about this. He told me the industry have to want it first. No I am not talking about a Honey Marketing Authority but something along those lines other wise we will still compete with each other in the same market

  Now think about  the 500gm of butter getting $10usd in the market place in the US. We could do the same but we have to be more sustainable in our production of our product. i could go on but will leave it there.

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12 hours ago, Gino de Graaf said:

Hardly fair boss. We have been researching and exploring a bunch of options. 

How innovative does one need to be? How much resource and thought do we put into moving 10ton.

Honey is marketed to death. Everyone is trying it. A Story to share. Special honey, better than others...blah 

I am no stuck in the mud guy. Willing to try, and share. Beekeepers on the whole are. 

Solutions bring it on. Just don't pitch marketing to the small beekeeper. 

 

 

I think beekeepers need to stick to the basics and common sense. No need for fancy options or fancy marketing.

 

1. go to the supermarket nearly all the jam is in glass jars. Look to the bonne mamon jams from france, wide mouth jar 350ml or 500g. No corner for the jam to get stuck in at the top, smooth taper inside all the way down. A whole pile of money has been invested in market research and common sense, just copy it.

 

2. Same supermarket, check out all the honey, in cheap nasty plastic containers. What is that about? I see the cardboard/paper being tested out, but I rate that as a fail too.

 

From the size of jar, $$ for 500g, shape of jar, use of jar, it has all been done before. Why not follow the industry leaders instead of making the product look cheap? Encourage refills with a vending machine or honey gate as some shops already do, notably Bin Inn stores.

 

A really basic website combined with paypal is basically free or very low cost these days. The forum and local fb pages provide beekeepers with avenues to explore. I'm not saying it will shift 29 tonnes of bush clover blend in a week, but when I go to the supermarket it makes no sense to me what is happening. It also makes no sense to me that the same beekeepers who ditched a few drums at $3/kg are selling jarred honey for $20/kg or more that is more expensive than the supermarket. At the very least you need to undercut the local supermarket to provide 'deal' whereas selling for $3/kg is just as silly.

 

glass jars cost a bomb here, but strangely they are about 50c each on Aliexpress. Maybe some beekepers in the local area/club/group could pool to buy in 10,000 jars and share costs?

 

In many cases there isn't the will to really follow through with any of these ideas and the pricing of the honey is all over the show. Where is the common sense from these supposedly practical people? The collapse of tourism is going to be a major problem for domestic beekeepers, but I don't think many have their house in order, before looking to sell wholesale with the remainder of their crop. So I think Grant and Mischief make fair points. Rather than marketing I think packaging and pricing needs to be right for things to sell themselves to get that repeat custom going in the local catchment and that is then followed by loyalty.

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3 hours ago, frazzledfozzle said:

These blimmen corporates they are spread right throughout NZ ####ting in everyone’s nest....when will they have enough area ?

 

Greedy so and so’s

I have been told some hives are on DOC land which surprised me cause I thought only one outfit out here had all the DOC concessions.

I shall have to go into the local DOC office and gives them all a bit of a talk too .

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29 minutes ago, ChrisM said:

Rather than marketing I think packaging and pricing needs to be right for things to sell themselves to get that repeat custom going in the local catchment and that is then followed by loyalty.

More so now than ever. You mentioned tourism collapse, but remember when they come back they can no longer take honey home with them. So all your 'over the counter' sales will be made to locals with repeat business or to someone with a sweet tooth that can eat it quickly.

 

On that note I was at a local farmers market the other week. I took an interest and asked a beekeeper on this forum "what can you tell me about your honey". All he gave was that a dark jar was a spring honey and a light jar was a summer honey. That's was it. End of conversation, while I picked up a couple of jars and looked at the products.

 

It wasn't creamed, it wasn't blended, in some cases there were separated layers in the jars. It was labelled 'honey' got the impression - rightly or wrongly - that it was strained and jarred dregs of leftovers with no attempt to decipher location, flower type area or even season.

 

When I asked again what type of honey it was, I was told "a blend".

 

So with an interested party, how's that going to attract local repeat business?

 

Interestingly I note their website does the same thing, but at $20 kg. A gift box mentions single source honeys, but doesn't specify what. So what's that all about? Is it really that hard to engage the customer base?

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18 minutes ago, kaihoka said:

I have been told some hives are on DOC land which surprised me cause I thought only one outfit out here had all the DOC concessions.

I shall have to go into the local DOC office and gives them all a bit of a talk too .

As far as i know as long as you pay the fee and agree to the conditions you cannot oppose the concession. The place to oppose it is if it is publically notified in the local paper.Ask DOC which paper the notification was in.Most of the beekeeping concessions are now dealt with in Wanganui I think, not the local office

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48 minutes ago, Bighands said:

Grant you are correct. You have to tell a story about your honey, either by talking about it or on the label and you have to be committed. I sit outside the Greymouth Library every Friday and sell my honey, rain, hail or sunshine.Sometimes i make money other times I don't but my customers know nI will be there and i can tell them what is flowering and when up and down the coast. They appreciate that.


which is really great but in reality that’s not going to work for commercial beekeepers who have tons of the stuff to shift.

one of the problems we have right now is too many men and their dogs packing and selling their honey locally driving the price down for all beekeepers and saturating the market so that no ones making any money or shifting much product.

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2 hours ago, Gino de Graaf said:

I was very surprised at the cost of fill your own at bin in. Was more than many potted on shelve options. Does it sell? 

good questions. I don't actually know. I must go and look at see what current prices are in Papamoa Plaza. So far as I can tell each Bin Inn uses entirely its own pricing plans and so may not relate to your one. Seems a little illogical to price the jars on the shelf to be cheaper (?). I think the bulk foods and whole foods area has had good growth in this covid era once they were allowed to trade again.

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On 17/11/2020 at 7:00 AM, Bighands said:

I heard rumours that the shareholders at the AGM of Ngai Tahu asked questions last year as to the profitability of the honey business.It was suggested that the hives be sold.Can you imagine what 30,000 hives on the market will do to the price of beehives.

Isn't a problem that they have some 10 year contracts with landowners that result in big outgoings even if the hives weren't there?

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On 17/11/2020 at 7:00 AM, Bighands said:

I heard rumours that the shareholders at the AGM of Ngai Tahu asked questions last year as to the profitability of the honey business.It was suggested that the hives be sold.Can you imagine what 30,000 hives on the market will do to the price of beehives.

Isn't a problem that they have some 10 year contracts with landowners that result in big outgoings even if the hives weren't there?

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4 hours ago, Grant said:

but remember when they come back they can no longer take honey home with them

So far as I know outbound tourists heading home on a cruise liner or an aeroplane do not have their baggage searched, nor do they need to make any declaration to NZ Customs on exit. So if tourism does restart, what will actually be done to prevent them taking home goods that they purchased legally in NZ along with their other belongings, souvenirs etc?

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