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About Emissary

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    Honey Marketer


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    New Zealand

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  1. I think there is more heat than light in this discussion. Some historical perspective might be useful - we've been here before!! We had an apiary levy that followed a hive levy (applied under The Hive Levy Act). The apiary levy was one of the first commodity levies under the new Commodity Levies act. We had many good things come from these levies including research, marketing initiatives and industry planning. Without a levy most of these would not have been done. "Manuka" was a significant initiative from the work funded by these levies. The AFB management programme was another. The NBA executive was taken over by a faction whose politics discouraged many from standing for election, so we ended up with appointed executive members (no elections) and the whole lot descended into a morass of nepotism and political infighting. The Apiary levy failed to be renewed at a vote of the levy payers. The vote against the levy mostly reflected the desire to get rid of the NBA incumbents and their appalling behaviour. Many of the names that were part of that NBA are now against the levy.... These divided politics today are likely to cause the levy vote to fail again. If you want good things to happen, you need money to do them. You need a levy. If you vote no for the levy, then another proposal and vote will be years away. If you think the industry is going well and doesn't have a need for collective action requiring funding, vote no. If you disagree with the politics, efficiency, application of the levy etc, stand for election and fix those issues. Disclaimer: As a marketer (no hives) I have no levy to pay, but will also have no decision over how one is applied. FWIW.
  2. https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/110554586/levy-on-beekeepers-uncertain-as-campaign-intensifies-to-oppose-it
  3. Emissary

    Nick Wallingford - The Way We Used to Bee

    Nick was the 3rd of 3 NBA presidents starting with Ian Berry followed by Allen McCaw, then Nick that embraced a "Management by Objective" (MBO) process of industry planning. The MAF pepole of the day; Murray Reid, Andrew Matheson and Ted Roberts (plus others I don't recall) presented the MBO process to industry with annual planning meetings and a published industry plan. That industry planning lead to supporting the work of Peter Molan and employing a marketing consultant (Bill Floyd) who had a profound effect on the uptake of "Manuka" by the media, in NZ and overseas. These presidents were followed by Francis Trewby and Dudley Ward who in turn carried on the good work. Without the foresight of these people and the path they put the industry on, the manuka phenomenom may never have happened.
  4. Emissary

    Honey Price Collapse

    This discussion started with me giving some data that gives many people on here a good idea of the scale of the problem facing us. You said that information was full of holes and supplied a statement from the MPI website to support your argument. However AsureQuality are the source of honey crop information information in New Zealand, not MPI. Using their data: This graph Times this graph gives you a very good idea of what the coming crop is likely to be. Quoting a bland statement from MPI's website ( out of date and does not look at the hive number trends) to downplay the crop potential is a poor and highly misleading argument. You also offer no information to support your contention that supermarket sales are not a meaningful amount of sales in the New Zealand domestic market. Perhaps you overlooked that I had quoted consumer surveys responding to the amount of honey they purchased and where they purchased it. To recap and elaborate.... Supermarket sales are 2,150 tonnes and that represents (lowest survey) 70% of consumer purchases, making 3,071 tonnes for total consumer purchases. Adding another 2,000 tonnes to our domestic consumption for other ("Adam") outlets is an optimistic amount. Domestic sales..... 5,000 tonnes, tops. And here's where context is important.... even if we double "Adam" sales to 4,000 tonnes, it does little to affect our current position.... A 27,000 tonne crop with 12,000 tonnes of domestic and export markets (or 14,000 if you prefer) on top of a very large surplus carryover. World markets for bulk honey ranging from US$2,000 to US$3,000 per tonne (NZ$2.90 - NZ$4.35/kg) landed in the buyer's market. Unsubstantiated quotes such as your poorly chosen MPI website quote are self refuting arguments and are not useful to people on this forum that need good information to make some very hard decisions. Some of us here have been through this before in 1987 when the World honey market last collapsed. Many went broke. Hive values collapsed as did the NZ domestic price. We are in for a very rough ride. Fortunately most good beekeepers have been extremely profitable, are cashed up with little or no debt, and will survive. But they need good information.
  5. Emissary

    Honey Price Collapse

    AsureQuality survey beekeepers throughout NZ and average their survey for each region. They then multiply the production per hive by the numbers on the apiary register for each region. So we are reliant on the honesty of beekeepers being surveyed for the production per hive. Being variable and somewhat suspicious characters with egos, large tax bills etc, one wonders if they will over or under state their production. Perhaps it averages out..... The apiary register is almost certainly understated. In Nelson during the EFB scare around 25% to 30% more hives were found that were not on the register. Similar numbers turned up when Varroa arrived, and apiary surveys by the NBA etc. using helicopters support that again. So how might these numbers pan out? The highest crop in the last 10 years was 39.4 kgs, the lowest was 18.7kgs. The lowest hive "estimate" is the register number of 879,578. The highest is that number plus 30% or 1,143,685 hives. So our likely crop range is between 16,451 and 45,061 tonnes. So how "accurate" are the AsureQuality figures? Over time, not too bad. Taking numbers between two years where there is a very low carryover, one can assume that all production disappears into the export or domestic market. Given the accuracy of the export stats and the local scan data, plus others, we can get a feel for how accurate the crop estimates are.
  6. Emissary

    Honey Price Collapse

    Today.... https://www.windy.com/-Temperature-temp?temp,-41.121,170.112,6,i:pressure,m:cpPakRy Tomorrow https://www.windy.com/-Temperature-temp?temp,2018-12-08-03,-41.121,170.112,6,i:pressure,m:cpPakRy Sunday https://www.windy.com/-Temperature-temp?temp,2018-12-09-03,-41.121,170.112,6,i:pressure,m:cpPakRy Monday https://www.windy.com/-Temperature-temp?temp,2018-12-10-03,-41.121,170.112,6,i:pressure,m:cpPakRy Then cooler mid week and good again Friday, Saturday, Sunday..... With half of December and January to go.....
  7. Emissary

    Honey Price Collapse

    Unfortunately this makes things worse for the "stock" position. Supermarket sales of product including pallet lots across the dock are counted in the scan data. They then get counted again as an export when the export entry is created. Unless someone is fraudulently declaring goods at export (why would they?) i.e. sumuggling, we now have two sales entered from the same honey, once in the scan data and again as an export.
  8. Emissary

    Honey Price Collapse

    In a decreasing value market, decreasing volume creates a decreasing total value. All are going down. Unless you provide some data and its source, you are simply provding annecdotes supporting your preferred belief system. This does not help us. In the past supermarket sales have been surveyed (3 that I know of) to be 77-88% of consumers' purchases of honey. The data is what is available. I used simple arithmetic to process it. The data and I have no "opinion". It is what it is. You on the other hand provide no source data, and no calculations... yet say this information is "full of holes". If honey in jars is not the largest volume, then something else is larger. Care to share and substantiate that claim with some data? The 2019 crop is predicted by multiplying the hive numbers by the average production per hive. MPI don't "suggest" anything. The data is derived from the apiary register, and are understated ( hands up those that are declaring more hives than they have) and AsureQuality's annual crop assessments. The trouble with now stating that these "aren't right" is that in the past the numbers would have put us into negative stock.... an impossibility. Quoting "some packers" as though this will make the surplus go away overlooks the whole picture. The exports this year are down 20% on last year. The domestic packed honey sales in supermarkets are down on last year. The biggest issue is our hive numbers and the crop they now produce. We have produced over 30 kgs/hive in 12 out of the last 16 years with a high of 40.7 kg/hive in 2003 (and 40.8 in 1994) Conditions are now looking excellent across the country.
  9. Emissary

    Honey Price Collapse

    This statement is not supported by the data. Scandata - Total supermarket sales..... Moving Annual Total (MAT) July 2018 volume sales of honey were down 7.1% on a year ago. MAT to November 2018 volume sales of honey are down 5.8% on a year ago. Last quarter sales to November are down 0.5% on same quarter a year ago - the decline appears to be slowing... maybe due to the lower pricing starting to show up in supermarkets. Total annual honey sales in supermarkets - 2,154 tonnes (MAT to November 2018) Per capita consumptionm of honey sold in supermarkets is 450gms. 10 years ago this was 900gms and 20 years ago 1.5kgs. Total Exports this year will be around 7,900 tonnes ( 6,573.4 tonnes to October) Last year 9,635 tonnes. Total production less exports for last 5 years - 65,839 tonnes (2013 - 2018 AsureQuality report and export statistics). Total domestic markets?? I'm going to be really optimistic here and say 5,000 tonnes/yr, leaving a 40,000 tonne surplus from the 66,000 tonnes. 879,758 registered hives (August). 10 year average crop 30.5 kg/hive. Expected average crop for 2019 - 26,800 tonnes. Total supply 40,000 tonnes plus new crop - 67,000 tonnes. Doubling supermarket sales will have a negligible impact on this situation.
  10. Emissary

    Honey Price Collapse

    Someone's going to get some honey...... https://www.windy.com/-Show-add-more-layers/overlays?rain,-38.048,167.651,5,i:pressure
  11. Emissary

    Honey not a gold rush for all

    Overstocking..... From "Honey" by Eva Crane..... "In providing one kilogram of surplus honey for market, the colony has had to consume something like a further 8 kg to keep itself going......" With a 30 kgs per hive average crop then a further 240 kgs (8x30) for hive "fuel" has been used by the hive to create the surplus crop. In the same book, clover is listed with a potential 100-200 kgs of of honey production per hectare given perfect conditions. In the best of the best conditions, 0.83 hives per hectare is enough. The "hive fuel" portion of the nectar resource collected by bees rapidly consumes all surplus honey in a poor season. Likewise high stocking rates in a good season means all are likely to fail for the same reason. A staggering 89% of the nectar resource is consumed by the hive. I wonder if the people promoting manuka plantings have considered any of these factors when predicting theoretical yields?
  12. Emissary

    Honey not a gold rush for all

    A very good article from someone who has been around long enough to have a good overview. Page 23 Opinion Honey not a gold rush for all "IT SEEMS that nowadays, every few weeks, there is reference in the news media to honey as ‘liquid gold’, creating the impression that anybody with a few beehives is making a fortune. However, you don’t have to scratch the surface much to find this is not all true. Much of this is due to the manuka honey ‘gold rush’. Why is this? Originally, New Zealand top-grade honey was based on South Island clover. The country’s bee population was about 300,000 hives spread proportionally 50/50 between the North and South Islands. NZ produced about 1000 tons more than we consumed and this 1000-odd tons was exported at international prices, which also set the price that NZ packers paid local producers. Ten or more years ago, Professor Peter Molan of Waikato University was researching natural medicines and found that a small percentage of pure manuka honey had medicinal properties. This started a frenzy and – with good marketing – it seemed all the world wanted manuka honey. Suddenly honey (manuka) that was once low-priced was commanding prices of $20 - $200/kg. Our pasture honey, which was selling at $4 - $5/kg climbed to $12 - $14/kg in 2016, mainly owing to the practice of mixing it with manuka honey and selling it as manuka-blend Then NZ’s hive numbers climbed to almost 1 million – many owned by international companies. Competition for sites became intense with many local beekeepers being overwhelmed by large numbers of other hives, or by dirty tricks such as having their hives poisoned, burnt or stolen. Overseas buyers became disillusioned at the quality of the manuka honey they were receiving, to the point where they started to withdraw it from their shelves. This prompted MPI to develop a scientific test to define the purity of manuka. Now any honey exported from NZ, labelled as ‘manuka’, must be stamped on the label or drum as complying with the MPI test. This means that only pure, certified manuka can command a premium price and non-pure manuka is rated along with all other honeys as table-grade honey. This honey, which until the new MPI testing regime sold at $10-$14/kg, is virtually unsaleable. Prices now are $5-$7/kg, but the packers are not buying. I have even heard of sales at $3/kg by desperate beekeepers. There would be thousands of tons of last season’s crop sitting in beekeepers’ honey houses unsold and we are now at the start of the new season’s production. There are beekeepers who will only place hives to get rated manuka honey and will not place hives for pasture honey, as the prices offered make it unsustainable. The sad thing about this is that farmers are now encouraging beekeepers to place hives on their farms as they realise the importance of clover in view of the nitrogen caps being placed on them. I believe the future of beekeeping will go back to pre-manuka days, when surplus honey will be purchased by overseas buyers at international prices and will set the price paid for table grade honeys. While this will clear NZ stocks, it will not be at a price many producers today – particularly those who have recently come into the industry – will be happy with. • John Wright is a beekeeper with 65 years’ experience, including 56 years exporting comb honey." Caption on the photo: "In the past decade or so, NZ’s beehive numbers have jumped from 300,000 to over a million on the back of the manuka honey hype, but many of the country’s beekeepers are now struggling to make any money."
  13. Emissary

    Varroa carrying bacteria. See link

    Some more research on this Bacteria..... https://mbio.asm.org/content/9/5/e01649-18 ABSTRACT Although few honey bee diseases are known to be caused by bacteria, pathogens of adult worker bees may be underrecognized due to social immunity mechanisms. Specifically, infected adult bees typically abandon the hive or are removed by guards. Serratia marcescens, an opportunistic pathogen of many plants and animals, is often present at low abundance in the guts of honey bee workers and has recently been isolated from Varroa mites and from the hemolymph of dead and dying honey bees. However, the severity and prevalence of S. marcescens pathogenicity in honey bees have not been fully investigated. Here we characterized three S. marcescens strains isolated from the guts of honey bees and one previously isolated from hemolymph. In vivo tests confirmed that S. marcescens is pathogenic in workers. All strains caused mortality when a few cells were injected into the hemocoel, and the gut-isolated strains caused mortality when administered orally. In vitro assays and comparative genomics identified possible mechanisms of virulence of gut-associated strains. Expression of antimicrobial peptide and phenoloxidase genes was not elevated following infection, suggesting that these S. marcescens strains derived from honey bees can evade the immune response in their hosts. Finally, surveys from four locations in the United States indicated the presence of S. marcescens in the guts of over 60% of the worker bees evaluated. Taken together, these results suggest that S. marcescens is a widespread opportunistic pathogen of adult honey bees and that it may be highly virulent under some conditions such as perturbation of the normal gut microbiota or the presence of Varroa mites that puncture the integument, thereby enabling entry of bacterial cells. IMPORTANCE Recently, it has become apparent that multiple factors are responsible for honey bee decline, including climate change, pests and pathogens, pesticides, and loss of foraging habitat. Of the large number of pathogens known to infect honey bees, very few are bacteria. Because adult workers abandon hives when diseased, many of their pathogens may go unnoticed. Here we characterized the virulence of Serratia marcescens strains isolated from honey bee guts and hemolymph. Our results indicate that S. marcescens, an opportunistic pathogen of many plants and animals, including humans, is a virulent opportunistic pathogen of honey bees, which could contribute to bee decline. Aside from the implications for honey bee health, the discovery of pathogenic S. marcescens strains in honey bees presents an opportunity to better understand how opportunistic pathogens infect and invade hosts.
  14. Emissary

    Australian honey and peroxide activity.

    The hydrogen peroxide in honey is produced by an enzyme - glucose oxidase (GOX) Methylglyoxal (MG) is a highly reactive compound that chops up, cross links and destroys things like proteins and DNA. This "feature" of MG causes the C4 sugar test to fail (chopped proteins) and the manuka standard's DNA test to fail. And when the MG in manuka honey gets over 100ppm, it starts to chop up the GOX and this stops hydrogen peroxide being produced - making it rare for honeys with a significant amount of MG to have any hydrogen peroxide activity. There is also probably a time element in this as well. i.e. it will take time for MG to destroy the GOX activty - much like it takes time for the DNA in manuka pollen to be destroyed by MG.