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Kiwifruit Pollination


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@tony can you elaborate on what you see as cut throat?

what I mean buy that, there is a lot of promises with high payment percentages which will make business run on a fine line, along with overcrowding and low crop yields, maybe drop in price, producing Manuka may not be the best business plan. And especially if you have borrowed money to do it. I've been in it for a while and wondering how some are even making money:unsure:

 

didn't want to hijack thread with another Manuka story, but what I was getting at is, doing pollination as much work as it is and dealing with some difficult people at times, is starting to be more attractive than chasing Manuka.

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you dont need nucs on an open sided orchard, the nucs were looked at for orchards with sides, either fully or partly enclosed. If you think two nucs are the same as 1 hive u are mistaken it would be c

The only thing is you need a heck of a lot of them, to even get close to doing the job of a strong hive

We've been using nucs in a covered orchard it has some open sides so not fully enclosed, one thing I noticed is they are slow on eating the sugar I been using two box nucs so 9 frames and a inside fee

what I mean buy that, there is a lot of promises with high payment percentages which will make business run on a fine line, along with overcrowding and low crop yields, maybe drop in price, producing Manuka may not be the best business plan. And especially if you have borrowed money to do it. I've been in it for a while and wondering how some are even making money:unsure:

 

didn't want to hijack thread with another Manuka story, but what I was getting at is, doing pollination as much work as it is and dealing with some difficult people at times, is starting to be more attractive than chasing Manuka.

At the risk of a thread split I agree. While we all fantasize about hitting it big on manuka, I think if you could average 1.25 pollination jobs per hive per year and some good clover sites you would have as much money in the bank after 5 years and a lot less grey hair.......

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At the risk of a thread split I agree. While we all fantasize about hitting it big on manuka, I think if you could average 1.25 pollination jobs per hive per year and some good clover sites you would have as much money in the bank after 5 years and a lot less grey hair.......

Or $450/ hive gross on Bush and clover as well as breeding for the market.

At least the bees are on good pollen and relatively isolated in their work.

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  • 3 months later...
thats always been a concern.

non-beeks trying to run beehives on the cheap, even worse when it needs a fair bit of skill in the case of fruit under mesh.

I can't see it.

I don't think many growers would take that kind of a risk with their pollination, it's worth a lot more to them than a hive rental.

But there is no amount anyone could pay me to put hives in one of those cages of death.

 

Basically with honey prices the way they are you're losing money now to have hives in the kiwifruit, even if all you miss out on is multi floral.

But if you get no honey you'll be pretty happy about that pollination fee just before Christmas.

 

I will still do my pollination this year for my people at the same price as last year mostly because I value their custom, it's guaranteed income and I think they're really nice people.

I don't feel the need to continue to bump up the price just because everyone else is, it seems greedy.

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Don't get to complacent though Dale, theres still orchidest out there that couldn't give a dam about your bees, At the moment mezzarol is being sprayed on and I am hearing some scary stories, spraying in day in un-mown orchards some with willow shelters, basicly killings bees in there path, there has been a bit of a shake up over here in light of a couple of instances (when will they learn), I bet they are the first to complain when price's go up. Also I don't think any price rise is being greedy theres some simple math to work out what it costs to do.

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Don't get to complacent though Dale, theres still orchidest out there that couldn't give a dam about your bees, At the moment mezzarol is being sprayed on and I am hearing some scary stories, spraying in day in un-mown orchards some with willow shelters, basicly killings bees in there path, there has been a bit of a shake up over here in light of a couple of instances (when will they learn), I bet they are the first to complain when price's go up. Also I don't think any price rise is being greedy theres some simple math to work out what it costs to do.

I wouldnt be surprised to see Mesurol under the JA framework next year-Zespri see that there is too much to lose out there and that there are too many kiwifruit growers who are thick as pig muck.

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Don't get to complacent though Dale, theres still orchidest out there that couldn't give a dam about your bees, At the moment mezzarol is being sprayed on and I am hearing some scary stories, spraying in day in un-mown orchards some with willow shelters, basicly killings bees in there path, there has been a bit of a shake up over here in light of a couple of instances (when will they learn), I bet they are the first to complain when price's go up. Also I don't think any price rise is being greedy theres some simple math to work out what it costs to do.

I only have one grower so I'm small potatoes.

Pollination was never really something that I wanted to do.

But it makes good sense to have a little bit, I had about 60 in last year. I think it will only be 30-40 this year.

For the short time that the hives are in I think I am charging enough, but my overheads are very low compared to everyone else, it costs me only my time and a little diesel, also their orchard is a bit further from the bulk of the orchards here so the bees do ok.

And it's only a short move down the road from their permanent sites.

My most hated part of it is having to feed syrup.

 

The sprays have always been a bit of a concern but these people love the bees, I would be super surprised if anything bad were to happen to them. But your right Tony, complacency is never good.

 

I know your not greedy Tony, you're good peeps.

I think there are a few people who are though and a few who are also trying to put their prices up just to see how much people will pay, and I think that is sad.

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Fruit pollination has been under valued for years.

Back in the day before Manuka beekeepers would vie for pollination by trying to price lower than the next beekeeper which kept prices artificially low.

Before Manuka pollination was better money than honey.

 

It's about time beekeepers charged what a pollination hive is actually worth, it's not greedy it's reality.

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The vines dont seem to mind ;)

I should've said bee cages of death :confused:

My old boss had a couple of cages he pollinated.. they were my least favourite.

The hives got smashed in them every year didn't seem to matter what we tried, keeping the bees in and trying to block any little holes was the best solution.

If they had a removable top for during the day, now that would be the one, but it's a rather fanciful notion.

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I should've said bee cages of death :confused:

My old boss had a couple of cages he pollinated.. they were my least favourite.

The hives got smashed in them every year didn't seem to matter what we tried, keeping the bees in and trying to block any little holes was the best solution.

If they had a removable top for during the day, now that would be the one, but it's a rather fanciful notion.

We moniter hive damage while they are in. We are not seeing the damage that other people see... We do do some things differently tho....

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Fruit pollination has been under valued for years.

Back in the day before Manuka beekeepers would vie for pollination by trying to price lower than the next beekeeper which kept prices artificially low.

Before Manuka pollination was better money than honey.

 

It's about time beekeepers charged what a pollination hive is actually worth, it's not greedy it's reality.

The thing is what is a pollination hive worth?

To me, it depends what else the hive could've done during the time it is in pollination, if the answer is the same thing it did during pollination then I haven't lost anything.

Most of the hives I put in pollination are coming up to strength still, not very much chance I'll miss out on a box of honey.

If my hives are coming back in the same condition or better than they went in I don't see any reason to put my price up.

Maybe that's just me.

 

There's still plenty of competition amongst beekeepers for pollination I'm sure, I'm not going to risk losing mine if I can help it because if honey prices drop thank goodness for pollination.

 

 

We moniter hive damage while they are in. We are not seeing the damage that other people see... We do do some things differently tho....

Tell me your secrets then go on..:P

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The thing is what is a pollination hive worth?

 

It's about what it's worth to you and the orchardist.

That hive you put into pollination could have been used to make up 4 Nucs.

3 to sell at $350 = $1050 and one to keep and grow into a hive that's pumping come the honey flow.

Much better return and no possibility of spray damage.

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I don't sell nucs, I think it's cutting off your nose to spite your face in some cases.

I don't care if it's money I miss out on at least I'm not contributing to hive numbers when there's not really any room in my area for them to go.

I know that everyone has to make a living so I'm not judging.

I try not to worry what everyone else is doing I just do what I think is right and what makes me feel good.

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I don't think many growers would take that kind of a risk with their pollination, it's worth a lot more to them than a hive rental.

 

Don't get to complacent though Dale, theres still orchidest out there that couldn't give a dam about your bees,

theres an interesting mix out there.

theres always one orchard down the road that doesn't get bees in. they spray in the middle of flowering. they survive on the bees coming in over the fence from the neighbors.

then theres the total opposite, who are super keen.

 

however it almost always comes down to budgets. they tend to have set budgets. if price goes up the amount of hives they get in goes down.

 

the interesting issue at the moment in my area is supply. with good honey prices not many are willing to do extra work and loose money doing pollination.

granted in other areas pollination and honey flows are separate and its not a big issue.

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You'd definitely lose money in pollination putting in full strength hives, but that's not what they want anyway.

That's mostly my logic as to why I think it pays well, those hives are just sitting in the paddock anyway may as well sit them in an orchard and give them a job to do while they're building up.

Don't get me wrong, they are good hives and above the minimum standard, but they're certainly not the best ones.

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90% of our hives would be getting honey if I didn't do pollination, I reckon I could average say 20kg/hive of spring honey if I didn't do pollination, so at say $8/kg that's $160/hive for doing half the work and those are low figures.

Plus double pollination on the hives that do that are slightly damaged for Manuka, Manuka landowners don't like that idea loss of income, working long hours during pollination require another staff unit to keep staff safe and fresh another cost. there's more costs but you get the point.

However I'm not giving up pollination its a small community and the kiwifruit is huge to the local economy it's something I support. I just charge according to what it cost me and what I could make not doing it.

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90% of our hives would be getting honey if I didn't do pollination, I reckon I could average say 20kg/hive of spring honey if I didn't do pollination, so at say $8/kg that's $160/hive for doing half the work and those are low figures.

Plus double pollination on the hives that do that are slightly damaged for Manuka, Manuka landowners don't like that idea loss of income, working long hours during pollination require another staff unit to keep staff safe and fresh another cost. there's more costs but you get the point.

However I'm not giving up pollination its a small community and the kiwifruit is huge to the local economy it's something I support. I just charge according to what it cost me and what I could make not doing it.

Your my idol Tony you run a tight ship.

I have enough hives getting honey, I don't mind if some go on a working holiday, spreads my eggs out.

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