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Gavin Smith

Manuka madness and the next snake oil

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I sometimes wonder fraz if you ever do any beekeeping

 

I'm very opinionated, what can I say :x3:

 

 

So there is the dilemma, and possible the reason why so many South Island bees are heading north - we've priced our selves out of the clover market.

 

I have no problem with beekeepers in the south selling bees to the north, we do it ourselves. What I am disappointed about is bees from the north, with attendant resistant mites, heading to the South :(

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I have just got back from visiting my son in Norway. I tried several local honeys but unfortunately couldn't meet up with any of the local beekeepers this time. Local honey was priced between 10 and $15 for a 250 g jar. People buy it because it's local and it tastes good. Their crops are variable but not too bad and if you have more than 20 hives you get a subsidy from the government and yet there is hardly a beehive to be seen. They also don't suffer from the endless regulation that we do plus varoa is a lot less of a problem with their long winters and large areas of Norway are so isolated that many of them are still varoa free and you get winter off to go skiing (and the winter is six months long). When the sun shines the bees work from before you get up to after you go to bed. There are very few commercial beekeepers and no corporate's.

 

Bye.

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Bye.

 

You are NOT immigrating! :cry: I still need you!

 

.....emigrating? :confused: whichever one applies.

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I'm very opinionated, what can I say :x3:

 

I have to say a lot of your opinions have been very useful to me in my quest to be a successfull bee keeper

:):)
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It would be nice if willow dew honey was good at healing cuts.

Wouldn't that be convenient?

Anyone tried it?

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We kinda hope it might be the next headache or migraine magic. Wouldn't that be grand;)

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We kinda hope it might be the next headache or migraine magic. Wouldn't that be grand;)

Find a good spin doctor and it might be a goer.

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Find a good spin doctor and it might be a goer.

 

Ummm, now, let me think, I know where all the spin doctors are, they just created a new bee industry thingy, you must have heard of it?

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Interesting comments here .... I sometimes wonder fraz if you ever do any bee keeping as you seem to spend so much time on this site !

Anyway, that aside, a few months ago we had a visit from our long time honey buyer. He's been taking our South island clover honey for almost twenty years. It was more of a social visit than anything as we had nothing of consequence to offer him. His outside

view of our industry was fascinating.

This year he wasn't terribly interested in clover. Yummy though it is he was concerned at the price he was going to have to pay .... $13.00 a kilo. He could source Canada No I at round about $3.00 a kg.

So there is the dilemma, and possible the reason why so many South Island bees are heading north - we've priced our selves out of the clover market.

He'll take the Dew, possibly because he can blend it with the Manuka, and he'll take the low grade Manuka up to a price of $20.00 a kilo.

When asked about the top end Manuka his comment was that he'd end up a nervous wreck if he had to sit on a stock pile of 14plus umf for too long.

I guess as producers we have to look at our markets. The new Manuka guidelines are apparently out which will quite possibly drop the tonnage considerably of high quality Manuka for sale, snowballing to a feeling of resistance by Beekeepers to pay humungous royalties to landowners for both summer and winter sites ....

Lets hope we don't price ourselves out of the Manuka market as well. That would be a shame as it has generated so much confidence in the industry and created so many little niche enterprises for families from raising cells and queens to selling nucs and hives (at exorbitant prices) that keep the fabric of this country in their little patches of paradise.

 

How does one price themselves off out of the market?

In theory its easy but in reality its almost impossible unless the customer proactively decides to screw you down.

 

I’m picking that in the case of Manuka Honey the costumer is making such a poultice that the thought of jeopardizing the supply is absurd.

This isn’t to suggest that one should be unreasonably greedy because that's not good business, but as long as everyone in the supply chain can make money off the end consumer and no one gets silly, then I wouldn’t take the opinion of one out classed Honey buyer very seriously.

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....This year he wasn't terribly interested in clover. Yummy though it is he was concerned at the price he was going to have to pay .... $13.00 a kilo. He could source Canada No I at round about $3.00 a kg.

 

 

I can't see the relevance of quoting over seas prices when we can't import honey?

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I can't see the relevance of quoting over seas prices when we can't import honey?

 

Entirely relevant if your buyer is buying for an overseas market. They can readily replace our honey with honey from another country.

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Entirely relevant if your buyer is buying for an overseas market. They can readily replace our honey with honey from another country.

 

I do get that, though you will have to excuse me I am a little naive on the subject. So to be clear most of our clover honey is sold locally or mixed with Manuka right? Therefore the export market for pure Clover is not significant enough to effect local pricing?

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If we are producing 2,000 tonnes of manuka and exporting 9,000 tonnes, and the new manuka standard prevents the 7,000 non manuka from being sold as such, where do you think it will be sold?

 

On the domestic market? It's now reduced to only 3,000 tonnes because of the high price of honey. And it won't be sold under a floral moniker as all those markets have not been developed due to lack of supply (being sold as manuka up to now) and most is just a blended product.

 

So the export price of bulk honey becomes very real very quickly. Canadian prices are currently Can$1.00 per pound to the producer. That's NZ$2.31 per kilo.

 

The good news is that the World price has bottomed out i.e. has stopped falling. At prices from US$1,700 to 2,200 PMT CFR (Per metric tonne including freight to destination).

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If we are producing 2,000 tonnes of manuka and exporting 9,000 tonnes, and the new manuka standard prevents the 7,000 non manuka from being sold as such, where do you think it will be sold?

 

On the domestic market? It's now reduced to only 3,000 tonnes because of the high price of honey. And it won't be sold under a floral moniker as all those markets have not been developed due to lack of supply (being sold as manuka up to now) and most is just a blended product.

 

So the export price of bulk honey becomes very real very quickly. Canadian prices are currently Can$1.00 per pound to the producer. That's NZ$2.31 per kilo.

 

The good news is that the World price has bottomed out i.e. has stopped falling. At prices from US$1,700 to 2,200 PMT CFR (Per metric tonne including freight to destination).

 

Wrong.

There are many ways to skin a cat and your rationale is simplistic.

Im not going to give a detailed account of what makes the market go round.

But it doesnt operate like a corner Dairy.

More like a Pack n Save.

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Wrong.

There are many ways to skin a cat and your rationale is simplistic.

Im not going to give a detailed account of what makes the market go round.

But it doesnt operate like a corner Dairy.

More like a Pack n Save.

Posts like this really peeve me. They are a skin thickness away from straight flaming & serve up nothing constructive or informative.

@Philbee Can you please explain for the benefit of thickoes like me what is incorrect about emissarie's post ?:geek::geek::geek::geek:

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Since I'm also on the same boat as yesbut it would be quite helpful to elaborate and form a constructive argument.

 

 

............... where do you think it will be sold?

...............

So the export price of bulk honey becomes very real very quickly.

 

To bring more relevance to this I must ask, where was most of the clover sold pre high Manuka prices and what was the price per kilo to the beekeeper?

 

Also to sum up you are basically predicting the price of clover will severely plummet if i understand you correctly?

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The first shipment of clover we sold quite a few years ago we got $2.10/kg. When the price climbed to $3.00 we thought we were in heaven.

One year we held on to the crop as the price was so ridiculously low .... lower than production cost.

The last shipment we sold two and a half years ago we got a bit over $8.00/ kilo. Again, just marginally over production cost.

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We were in the same boat, payments under $3kg for our honey.

It doesn't take a lot of imagination to understand what would happen if Manuka tanks.

Even the Manuka standard could have a big impact if they make it too strict.

With some of the big players selling Manuka honey as low as UMF 2.5 there has been a need for bush honeys for blending, if the standard is set at UMF 10 the need for bush honey will dry up.

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where was most of the clover sold pre high Manuka prices and what was the price per kilo to the beekeeper?

Mostly to the UK, Germany and Japan. Europe was more interested in a clover spec and Japan wanted 0-9mm colour. There are still a few sales to these outlets but less than 200 tonnes. Prices were around $3.50 - $4.00 per kilo to the producer (inflation adjusted) before manuka really started to take off in price and volume - you have to have both to have a significant effect on the price of other honey types. NZ clover prices were usually around 30 - 40% higher than average World prices of similar light coloured pasture type honeys, notably Argentinean.

 

 

Even the Manuka standard could have a big impact if they make it too strict.

 

The World honey standard says "Wholly or Mainly". This is interpreted by Europe (50% of World imports of honey) as being "almost entirely".

 

While DHA is variable in manuka nectar, the average level in New Zealand is 5,000 ppm with very few samples below 2,000ppm (UMFHA figures - see table below). Australian levels are around 3,000 for L. scoparium (possibly a small number of samples - RIRDC presentation.)

upload_2016-8-12_11-20-24.png.8b7419f0b447ce48d262a7fd1cf1b855.png

Karyne Rogers in a paper titled " The Unique Manuka Effect: Why New Zealand Manuka Honey Fails the AOAC 998.12 C‑4 Sugar Method added DHA to honey and produced the following results (in ppm)

 

upload_2016-8-12_11-4-46.png.f958b55895d26fd3d0788e49551d7cce.png

 

As you can see, 250ppm of DHA in the nectar is enough to produce a UMF5 (83ppm MG) and 1,000 ppm of DHA is close to producing a UMF10 (262ppm). So on these numbers an average manuka with 5,000ppm DHA can be diluted by 20 times and still produce UMF5 and 4-5 times and still produce UMF10. A UMF2.5 (26.33ppm MG) is getting down to the levels of MG found in many other honeys and could be produced by a blend with just 0.53% of an average manuka.

 

MPI has indicated going for the bare minimum of "Wholly or Mainly" i.e. 50%. And while the export targets are tempting, our trading partners are not going to accept a standard that is blatantly defrauding their consumers.

 

A manuka standard that is watered down to 50% manuka nectar source will have a substantial reduction in the current supply of manuka.

upload_2016-8-12_11-4-46.png.f958b55895d26fd3d0788e49551d7cce.png

upload_2016-8-12_11-20-24.png.8b7419f0b447ce48d262a7fd1cf1b855.png

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@Emissary Does that mean as it stands today a UMF 5 could in fact have a very small amount of manuka nectar in the honey and in reality be a bush honey that happens to have a UMF reading of 5.

If the standard is set at 50% of actual manuka nectar ignoring the UMF/MGO number it would mean a large amount of honey sold today as manuka will no longer be allowed to be labelled as such?

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Mostly to the UK, Germany and Japan. Europe was more interested in a clover spec and Japan wanted 0-9mm colour. There are still a few sales to these outlets but less than 200 tonnes. Prices were around $3.50 - $4.00 per kilo to the producer (inflation adjusted) before manuka really started to take off in price and volume - you have to have both to have a significant effect on the price of other honey types. NZ clover prices were usually around 30 - 40% higher than average World prices of similar light coloured pasture type honeys, notably Argentinean.

 

 

 

The World honey standard says "Wholly or Mainly". This is interpreted by Europe (50% of World imports of honey) as being "almost entirely".

 

While DHA is variable in manuka nectar, the average level in New Zealand is 5,000 ppm with very few samples below 2,000ppm (UMFHA figures - see table below). Australian levels are around 3,000 for L. scoparium (possibly a small number of samples - RIRDC presentation.)

[ATTACH=full]14373[/ATTACH]

Karyne Rogers in a paper titled " The Unique Manuka Effect: Why New Zealand Manuka Honey Fails the AOAC 998.12 C‑4 Sugar Method added DHA to honey and produced the following results (in ppm)

 

[ATTACH=full]14372[/ATTACH]

 

As you can see, 250ppm of DHA in the nectar is enough to produce a UMF5 (83ppm MG) and 1,000 ppm of DHA is close to producing a UMF10 (262ppm). So on these numbers an average manuka with 5,000ppm DHA can be diluted by 20 times and still produce UMF5 and 4-5 times and still produce UMF10. A UMF2.5 (26.33ppm MG) is getting down to the levels of MG found in many other honeys and could be produced by a blend with just 0.53% of an average manuka.

 

MPI has indicated going for the bare minimum of "Wholly or Mainly" i.e. 50%. And while the export targets are tempting, our trading partners are not going to accept a standard that is blatantly defrauding their consumers.

 

A manuka standard that is watered down to 50% manuka nectar source will have a substantial reduction in the current supply of manuka.

I find this very hard to believe!! I have seen 100's of tons of honey produced in very remote areas with access only to Manuka (no Kanuka either) producing test results of 5 umf straight after extraction. It is not possible that those honey crops contained anything but Manuka. If you are suggesting an average Manuka nectar sample contains 5000ppm dha what umf result would that equate to???

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A UMF 5..... Assuming that the producer or the processor has grown the level of MG in their honey (more and more is being traded on the DHA and predicted MG) using the latest best practises and temperature etc, then a UMF 5 can be created from honey starting with 250ppm of DHA. 250ppm of DHA is 5% of the 5,000 ppm of DHA recorded as the average value for DHA in manuka nectar by the UMFHA's graph.

 

If the standard is set in a way that means 50% manuka nectar contribution from an average manuka, then the starting point is 2,500 ppm of DHA. This will produce over 500 ppm of MG or a UMF 15. But..... some manuka nectar has as low as 2,000 ppm of DHA, and a high result of 13,800 has been published. So each case turns on its merits.

 

However well over half the domestic market has been UMF 5 when the low end of DHA in manuka nectar (2,000 ppm) would produce 477 ppm of MG (UMF 14.3) and half that to comply with "wholly or mainly" would be 1,000 ppm DHA and produce 249 ppm of MG for a UMF 9.7. On these numbers most of the manuka sold with a UMF rating on the domestic market is unlikely to be "Wholly or Mainly" manuka in source. Unless of course they are selling a UMF 15 as a UMF 5.

 

There are no sources of data on the export grades of manuka or volumes sold. If UMF 5 is the main line of product on the domestic market, that doesn't necessarily follow that the bulk of the sales in the export market are in that grade. However of the local market, most, if not all the UMF 5 product would be unlikely to meet the 50% threshold and likewise a large portion of the UMF 10. There's little else from the UMF branded product doing any volume domestically (tourist shops notwithstanding).

 

My earlier post reflected on some numbers that may not be that hypothetical.

 

 

If you are suggesting an average Manuka nectar sample contains 5000ppm dha what umf result would that equate to???

I'm not suggesting it. The UMFHA published a graph showing that to the government Primary Production Select Committee. (Page 8)

https://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwjkjpLz8brOAhWIipQKHfiCAGIQFggaMAA&url=https://www.parliament.nz/resource/en-nz/51SCPP_EVI_00DBSCH_INQ_64740_1_A448906/f54bc5f35553bd7774146a9628e6a49040f1fe98&usg=AFQjCNF3gnsQ7uT76gdLukhLFtXHUYa3ow&sig2=uOylQ47ZI7P8sZWWK4LE2Q&bvm=bv.129422649,d.dGo&cad=rja

From the published data quoted above a DHA of 4,000 has the potential to produce 893.4 ppm of MG or a UMF 20.92. So a DHA 5000 has to be a bit more. Remember that this is pure nectar taken from flowers. It is rare to get a honey that is 100% single source.

 

I appreciate that some of these figures may not be received well by people that derive a substantial portion of their income from the status quo, however ignoring the situation presented may not be the best course of action. I'm also open to other data (as opposed to passionately presented annecdotes) that may show a different interpretation.

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There are no sources of data on the export grades of manuka or volumes sold. If UMF 5 is the main line of product on the domestic market, that doesn't necessarily follow that the bulk of the sales in the export market are in that grade. However of the local market, most, if not all the UMF 5 product would be unlikely to meet the 50% threshold and likewise a large portion of the UMF 10. There's little else from the UMF branded product doing any volume domestically (tourist shops notwithstanding).

The future of our Primary Produce is in export,

Lets see you read that market

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MPI are in a sticky spot aren't they.

if they set the standard high it will bankrupt more than a few honey producers, it will also put a serious dampener on the amount of "Manuka" honey exported which in turn will hamper the aim of increasing export value for "NZinc"

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