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Don Mac

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Don Mac last won the day on July 5

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  1. @ChrisM all sheep and goat milk is A2. These farms are supplying driers that convert the milk to powder and incorporate in infant formula.
  2. Hi Folks I am looking for beekeepers who have pollinated blueberry crops and have had problems when the grower has used SWITCH fungicide. If you have had this experience, you can contact me by email as below. SWITCH fungicide is a mixture of two fungicides and it is recommended for application at 'full bloom' of the crop. Factor 1; This would not be a problem if the bees were not in the crop at the same time. Factor 2; our research reveals that SWITCH fungicide contains a physical insecticide. It works by damaging the cuticle of the bee and absorbs the lipids. Not great for any insect pollinating the flower of the blueberry. I would therefore like to hear from beekeepers who have had problems pollinating blueberries and where the grower has used SWITCH fungicide. Email macleod2@xtra.co.nz regards Don
  3. There is a lot of money being invested in goat and sheeps milk. Local goat farm, milks 3000 will double production this spring - have built another 3000 goat operation almost next door to the first farm. And a friend is building a brand new dedicated sheep milking and plans on milking 800 ewes this spring, so long as he finishes the milking shed. It is his second year of operation and the returns out perform dairy cows....
  4. @Maggie James I do not have any data that suggests salt can influence honey production in bees. I do know that if you have excessive salt in the soil, plants and trees will die - so that may make a significant drop in production. Salt is one of those substances that have a dual edge - too much salt and you will die, but to survive mammals require salt. Traditional thought is that bees do not thrive well in strong wind conditions, they use more energy to forage. Manuka production often sees hives placed in sheltered spots amongst the manuka. It maybe blowing 120 km/hr above the manuka, but amongst the trees and close to ground level, wind strength will be considerably less. I speculate that the bees may forage the manuka more in these circumstances than fly across the valley to a paddock of clover. Please note that this hypothesis has not been tested.
  5. The West Coast is 15 km from my property, the Manukau Harbour is within 3 km (Tahiki River), 5 km to Clarks Beach. Whenever there is a good westerly blow we get a layer of salt on everything. I am not surprised that bees will collect salt especially from surface water supplies.
  6. @Otto I think one needs to read the Royal Society Te Aparangi report on the legal issues that beset Genetic development in NZ before stating research in containment is possible. The challenge is that working with bees in a containment facility is very difficult. I quote from their paper.' Furthermore, a High Court decision in 201416stated that the exemption list was an exclusive list, not a list of examples for guidance, and it could not be interpreted to include other techniques that were similar to chemical mutagenesis. https://www.royalsociety.org.nz/assets/Uploads/Gene-Editing-Legal-and-regulatory-implications-DIGITAL.pdf @OttoWhat I wish to understand are your ethical arguments against this research and or market development? That is why I support a return to this debate as we have a lot more techniques available that were not in our labs in 1998.
  7. Last summer, Royal Society Te Aparangi called for a new discussion on Gene Editing and other new genetic techniques. https://www.royalsociety.org.nz/major-issues-and-projects/gene-editing-in-aotearoa/ This paper on RNA interference by altering the RNA of the bacteria and feeding it to the bees demonstrates these new genetic techniques. At the moment in NZ this work cannot be undertaken and we cannot access it if it is developed commercially. Are the majority of NZ beekeepers ready to embrace these new genetic techniques? My concern is that we will all agree to disagree and we will get no where.
  8. I would like to see how we could create added value to our bee products. Experience to date is that this will not happen overnight, it will take time and it will take enlightened beekeepers, blenders, exporters etc. Now you might think Beef if beef, but two MPI funded Primary Growth Partnerships, both of which took 7 years to complete focussed on improving the quality awareness of their offering. https://farmersweekly.co.nz/section/beef/view/new-markets-for-new-products What interested me is that ANZCO a Japanese owned NZ meat company now has a Healthcare Business Manager. Does your honey buyer have a similar business manager? https://farmersweekly.co.nz/section/beef/view/wagyu-project-ends-with-success Wagyu is a beef breed from Japan, but secured Primary Growth Partnership money to help focus the market on quality product not quantity. Are you still a business focused on quantity, because that is what the NZ Supermarket buyers want you to think like. Can you increase direct sales? If you cannot last 5 years + to change your business model and customer demand, you might need a rethink of where you are now. Tough times are when you should be focusing on change, not doing the same old same old.....
  9. Seed coatings include many products that are not insecticides or fungicides - the main pesticides used. Most common are fertiliser coatings, but some seeds are coated in lubricants to ensure even sowing. Colours are often added to seed coatings to deter birds from eating the seeds and make the seed attractive to buyers - YES. Here is a sale brochure from a NZ seed coater. You will note there is no mention of any pesticide. http://www.seedinnovations.co.nz/assets/PRODUCTS/FILM COAT LIQUIDS WEB.pdf One discussion item I missed above about this research which sort of destroys this paper. Red clover is not honey bees favourite plant, they prefer white clover. Bumble bees feed of red clover much more efficiently. And we discussed this on a prior thread -
  10. Just saw this thread. This study may not apply to NZ. In NZ you cannot use a neonic seed treatment on clover. No treatment is registered. But farmers can sow grass seed treated with neonic chemicals, and mix this with untreated clover seed to establish a mixed ryegrass/clover crop. All the info I have seen suggests that the neonic will be absorbed through the soil into the clover. Thiacloprid is not registered as a seed treatment in NZ only as a foliar spray on kiwifruit, pip fruit, stone fruit, onions and potatoes. No application on clover is authorised.
  11. It maybe a race to the bottom, but it can get a lot worse than just low prices. I can remember when my father had to pay the freezing works to take and slaughter his cull ewes. It was the early 70s. Today fat ewes are worth more than new seasons lambs. As @kaihoka observes the price of food has always been cyclable - up and down. But today we face a single dominant buyer - China. They have always used their market clout to dominate the market and the price they pay. @Jamesc if no one even the local householder does not wish to buy your honey, we have a market acceptance problem in Canterbury and perhaps the rest of NZ.
  12. I would like to see this discussion get back to how we can improve our honey markets to make this business a long term sustainable proposition. So I am not going to mention any drinking. My aim is to see a 500 g jar of honey in every household in NZ - provided as a low cost option. The goal to get rid of the inventory overhang. I cannot believe it is to hard. Secondly I do not expect that the pariahs who run our supermarket industry will be interested in supporting it. This example has been published recently by the ABC. https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2018-01-18/generous-farmers-free-mangoes-and-war-on-waste/9339062 The guy gives away all his B Grade Mangos for free! Some good learning's here; There is a huge amount of waste in the retail supermarket trade in fresh vegetables and fruit. The elderly cannot afford a retailer selling the fruit for $3 each. The give away is gathering interest in others wishing to buy his crop. I am not suggesting that we give away our honey for free. But if a beekeeper is only getting $3 per kg, why not sell it at the door for that price if the customer brings a jar. I am not suggesting our quality honeys are sold at this price, just the large volume of mixed flora honey. Oh dear I have just upset the food police at MPI!
  13. It does not matter where you keep bees, NZ's problems are the same for beekeeper's overseas. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/07/honeybees-deaths-almonds-hives-aoe?CMP=share_btn_fb&fbclid=IwAR3hx5PwIUNtNFTQ8n16grm8gLR_u-Shb-2XM3ZEeG9jvRL5Zkzth1xSfAk This US Beekeeper has to compete with honey imports......we do not. What concerns me is this huge market overhang. NZ should have cheap honey if that volume of honey is sitting in storage waiting for rich customer. Many years ago the NZ Dairy Board bought up large volumes of butter in storage in Europe, processed it into dairy fats and resold it - just to get rid of the market overhang. The only guy making money out of this volume of stored honey is the storage company or the bank manager funding it. The best option is to sell it off, even at cheap prices. Remove the inventory overhang. The goal should be to have a 500 g pot of honey (the best in the world) in every household for a few dollars and another in the bag of every tourist leaving the country.
  14. @Pinnacle you are correct, but fortunately due to some major customers overseas for our fruit our growers have stopped using them. The major use for imidacloprid was for foliar spraying of kiwifruit and pip fruit (apples and pears). When the link between bee deaths and neonicotinoids was established in Europe the major supermarket buyers such as COSTCO, TESCO, Sainsbury, ALDI, etc (companies we love to hate and COSTCO are moving here soon) said they did not want the fruit they purchased sprayed with neonicotinoid chemistry. When you biggest buyer says do not spray these chemicals, growers in NZ stopped using them. They are still used on some minor crops. @M4tt Oh why did you mention 1080? Imidacloprid is much more soil and water persistent than 1080........The Wintermantel paper I copied above for you, noted that imidacloprid residues in soils 5 years after application. No one has detected residues of 1080 in NZ that are that old. Our EPA has set EELs (Environmental Exposure Limits) for 1080 and imidacloprid. The EPA only measures the residues of 1080 in application areas to check the EEL is not being exceeded. They have not detected it yet. My guess is that they will never find it! The EPA has never measured residues of imidacloprid in soils and waterways in application areas or checked to see if EELs are being exceeded. What we do know now as beekeepers is that it sticks around and is out there in larger amounts than we expected - large enough to kill a bee. @tristan You are correct that imidacloprid is very soluble in water. There was water in the soil sample. Wet areas are avoided because puddling can cause concentration of soluble chemicals. What you need to understand is that the research did not establish how the bees died as reported by Neil Mossop and Paul Badger. That is still to be determined. I walked for hours with Dr Chris Pook through harvested maize paddocks looking for bees - never spotted any. We placed some hives in maize paddocks to observe bee behaviour, they flew regularly out of the maize paddock - we expected the bees to die but our sample hives did not. We did have a Masters Student who was to study the relationship of the environment to the beehive in these areas in the Gisborne region, but they decided that they did not wish to do a Masters thesis and pulled the plug. So there is a lot more research to be undertaken on this project alone. My thoughts are this is the first testing to be done. Hopefully more researchers will follow this up in other areas and look more closely at what is happening in the environment. Neonicotinoids have been used in NZ for 30 years, seed treatments, general home garden insecticide, horticulture foliar insecticides and as a remedy for pet fleas and fly strike in sheep. We should not be waiting for 30 years for this environmental research to be undertaken - it is our environment and we should be doing more monitoring and measuring.
  15. @Sailabee @M4tt @ChrisM you raise some good points. My point is that with research funding beekeepers could do the research to show the chemical companies and regulators are wrong. The chemical companies and regulators are in close cooperation. Please review the application document for the EPA to simplify our hazard classification system which includes the removal of hazard classes for ecotoxicology. https://www.epa.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Documents/Hazardous-Substances/GHS_Consultation_Document_for_Public_Release.pdf Submissions are due 9/1/2020 @yesbut no bloody way - NO. I had to say it that way because of your nom de plume. Coromandel is not a major cropping area. What crop that are grown do not need seed treatment. Samples analysed from hives showed no chemical residues of concern. The sampling of surviving bees in hives were clear that two pathogens were present nosema ceranae and lotmaria passim.
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