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Everything posted by Emissary

  1. We used to have a single desk seller. It was the NZ Honey Marketing Authority, formed in 1952 in the aftermath of WWII. The NZHMA finally turned into the NZ Honey Producer's Coop in 1982, but gave up single desk selling on a number of honey products before. Comb honey I think was never controlled, but honeydew was the first opened up in the '70s. All other export controls were lifted by 1982. This graph is a good indicator of the NZHMA's effectiveness - or rather lack it. The divergence of prices after the 70s was due to effective market diversification by many exporters exploring every available niche.
  2. Ahhhh.... "the palest ink is better that the best memory".... some Chinese dude But then I looked..... the 50 million spores per litre was from one of two papers to have researched this - from 1932. The other was from 1994 and came up with the 5 million figure but the level of detection available at the time using plating methods was 20 million. MAF used the 50 million figure when they did their Import Risk Assessment on the importation of Australian honey in 2005. In a practical sense these are semantics, but of historical interest. The take home message is - clinical symptoms of AFB mean there are enough spores to make all the honey on the hive infectious. The implication is that if you are extracting honey from such a hive, the combs will be infectious to any hive you put them back on. If AFB turns up sporadically in your outfit with no apparent source, then the most likely source is you having extracted from a hive with AFB. You should inspect the hive for AFB before removing any material that will end up in another hive. Honey, brood, pollen etc.
  3. From the memory banks..... Minimum infective dose is 50,000,000 AFB spores per litre of honey. Sounds a lot.... but one infected larvae is expected to produce 2-3 billion spores. Enough to infect 56 - 84 kilos of honey. A "light" AFB infection of "a few" cells of AFB diseased larvae has easily enough spores to contaminate an entire hive's honey crop.
  4. $2.85 was not a price you would have received for North Island honey from the Coop in 1999. For North Island suppliers, grades 3, 4, 7 and 10 was more the norm - $2.70, $2.45, $2.30 and $2.45 respectively. Average $2.48 per kilo. And then you only got 80% of that paid out over that year so $1.98 - the rest 5 years later - if you chose to not support the requests for further capital. Bottom line, $3.04 in today's money. And way better than $1.50 in the 1987 crash. But the 1987 crash was caused by the World market taking a huge correction as the USA dumped 100,000 tonnes (their total annual crop back then) onto the World market at US$0.39 cents per pound down from their US$0.67 per lb subsidy loan scheme price. Today our low prices are a reflection of a slightly reduced World price and our internal manuka bubble aftermath. Until the large surpluses of bulk honey start to move to the export market, there will be no significant improvement. As of the January export statistics, more than 87% of our honey exports are still being sold as manuka. If you're in it for the long haul, you can expect the World market to rise again to around $4-$5 returns. In the mean time honey that is in storage is aging, much "tempered" manuka honey has higher (and increasing) levels of HMF and there is no traditional market for these products against which advice based on history can be offered. We're in uncharted territory.
  5. A reality check for those with rose tinted memories. Here is the payout schedule of the NZHPCoop. Taking the reserve bank inflation calculator https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/monetary-policy/inflation-calculator for the top line 0-9mm clover price (Cat 1) and calculating it for today's value using Quarter 2 in the relevant year you get the following values. 1995 $3.39 1996 $4.19 1997 $4.38 1998 $4.60 1999 $4.38 Points also needing consideration: The 0-9mm price was usually paid to very little honey (sometimes none at all, but a "price" was listed), most was in the 2,3 and 4 categories. Retentions of 20% held for 5 years were usual, at which point producers were encouraged to convert the retentions into shares. At times of high interest rates this presented a huge effect. And in the big crash in 1987 prices fell from $1.90 to $0.70 per kilo or $4.06 down to $1.50 in today's money. By comparison, we are in much better shape today.
  6. An interesting piece of research. https://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/article/watch-the-use-of-certain-neonicotinoids-could-benefit-bumblebees-new-study-finds
  7. The US produces around 75,000 tonnes and imports nearly 200,000 tonnes annually. The Dakotas will often produce over half of the US honey crop, largely from "clover" (usually sweet clover) . So selecting an average of the Dakotas for domestic production would be a better figure to start with, but the US market is driven by the import price , and the numbers for total imports to YE September calculate to US$2.17/Kg or NZ$3.30/kg. Major supplying countries such as India, Ukraine and China are supplying at under US$2.00 per kilo (NZ$3.00)
  8. A very long time coming but finally a result. https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/man-fined-over-100-000-adding-chemicals-honey-in-bid-pass-off-m-nuka https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/112342524/mnuka-honey-fraud-evergreen-life-ltd-handed-260000-fine-for-adding-synthetics-to-its-product $372,500 in fines plus costs.
  9. There is no problem selling honey at the moment. There is a problem with the price. Before the manuka bubble, the one where people were selling all honey as manuka and frantically stockpilling (removing from the market) honey to increase its activity, New Zealand produced a surplus to the local market which consumed about 1.3 kilos per person per year. Since the export market was the only outlet for this surplus honey, it set the price. Why? Because who would choose to sell on the export market when the local market was better, but in order to get a share of that, one had to....... reduce the price..... and the incumbents on the local market would reduce their price to match.... so a sprial down until..... the export market was a viable alternative. Ergo, the export market sets the price. A review of the export statistics shows that over 90% of the honey leaving the country is sold as manuka. Less than 10% is non manuka. We used to have export markets for things like clover and honeydew and occasionally other named sources that would maximise the opportunites available. These would return 20-30% above generic prices on the World market and specific honeys such as Clover and Honeydew would return prices similar to competing countries with similar honeys such as Canada, Argentina and Turkey. However now we have 3 times the number of hives, an annual surplus of production over markets of 100,000+ tonnes, a current surplus of somewhere between 30 and 40,000 tonnes of honey that has been produced hoping it is (once "was") manuka with the result it is a multitude of blended honeys with no traditional export market. So we can sell this surplus. But the price is not good. Ukraine produced approx 70,000 tonnes last year, as of January had 45,000 tonnes in stock and has reduced this to 10,000 tonnes with the new crop about to start. The price? 1,800 Euros delivered to Europe with duty (17.3% into the EU) to be paid, and US$1,900 CIF USA destinations. This is around NZ$3.00 and NZ $2.85 respectively. Canada is selling at US$2,800 delivered US destinations (drive it across the border) or NZ$ 4.20 landed there. Turkey is selling into EU destinations at NZ$4.45 delivered. Usually these transacations have a few percent commission along the way, plus freight and you lose your drums. Take around 50c off these prices. Until we have a shortage of supply in the country, there will be no change to this outcome where the World price sets the price paid to producers. If a new entrant were to come into the market, and focused on the local market (usually because it's easier than exporting and marketing overseas), this would simply ensure that the price locally collapsed to the World level more quickly as the incumbents locally defended the attack on their markets, and the $4.00-$5.00 per kilo plus prices being paid would reduce closer to the World market. The only way out of our present situation (one that we have always dealt with except during the manuka bubble) is to sell at higher prices on the export market. Around 20 new packing plants (with 100 tonnes or more capacity, some with 1,000+ tonnes) have gone into NZ in the last 15 years. All of these have been trying to create export markets for their products and most have considerable expertise in doing this. A History Lesson In 1982 the New Zealand Honey Marketing Authority (a producer board) had total right of export for all honey from New Zealand (except for honeydew and comb honey). They had the market leader (Hollands) on the local market plus numerous other brands. Because government was no longer prepared to fund their activities (they had close to $1 million of reserve bank funds at 1% interest), a proposal was put forward to create a cooperative. This cooperative was sold all the assets of the HMA including 3 factories and all their stocks at a significant undervaluing, and then $600,000 (2.4 million in today's value) of the sale monies were lent back to them, 300,000 at 9% and 300,000 at 3% (interest rates at the time were over 15%). The model included beekeepers additioanlly buying $1 shares (for each kilo of supply) and then having retentions (20% and sometimes 30% or their "sales" to the Coop) held back for 5 years - at 15% interest rates your money halves in value in 5 years. After 5 years they were asked to turn those into "Capital" i.e. pay for more shares. So they had the factories, the brands, the suppliers, the infrastructure, the NZ market leading products on the domestic market and the entire history of export markets from NZ. There were many capable people employed by the coop along the way and on the board. Some went on to have extremely successful businesses of their own. Laid out like this, one would think there was no way they could fail. After 30 years they were sold to Comvita for pretty much the value of their honey stocks. Comvita attempted to sell Hollands honey on the local market, and even after rebranding and applying their marketing expertise, finally withdrew from the domestic market. It is tough out there. Sorry, typo that I missed. "an annual surplus of production over markets of 100,000+ tonnes" should read 10,000 tonnes.
  10. Hong Kong's poplulation is 7.5 million. https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/china-hong-kong-sar-population/ Per capita consumption is about 50g per person for 3,750 tonnes annual consumption.
  11. For you that follow the neonic story, and the science rather than the rhetoric, this is a good read. https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2019/06/05/how-npr-washington-post-bloomberg-and-other-media-botched-reporting-on-epas-ban-of-12-bee-killing-neonicotinoid-insecticides/?mc_cid=8a9a6d5d02&mc_eid=ae5a80e8bc
  12. Karyne Rogers tested over 700 samples of "pasture" honey and virtually none failed the C4 test. The circumstance of feeding right up to the flow waiting for the hive to become self sufficient is common or routine, and certainly not peculiar to manuka production. Strong hives quickly starve without feed, and broken weather can cause that in less time than it takes to get round your operation. So why do only manuka samples fail? This quote from the orignal paper "Honey Protein as Internal Standard for Stable Carbon Isotope Ratio Detection of Adulteration of Honey" JONATHANW. WHITE, KENNETH WINTERS is perhaps an explanation as to why all those pasture samples passed. "Before a honey flow, particularly in early spring, it is common practice to built up colony strength by feeding sugar syrup; HFCS as well as sucrose or invert sugar is used. The protein (enzymes) added by the bees to stores during this period would reflect the isotopic composition of that feed." (sic) This implies that the C13 signature of the bees and their protein moves to that of the carbohydrate feed (in this case C4 sugars) and thus not produce a "fail". I have some question about this hypothesis because the protein from bees is mostly produced from their pollen source and not the carbohydrate source. Perhaps in metabolising the protein, they are incorporating C13 from the supplemenatry feed. Another consideration is the dilution effect. Bees consume 90-95% of the carbohydrates they collect annually. So a hive producing 30kgs of honey (national average) will have collected and consumed an additional 270-570 kgs of carbohydrate - including sugar fed syrup. 5 - 10 kilos of sugar is a small proportion of that amount. It would seem that non manuka honey has always passed and manuka routinely fails. And the manuka is known to fail from the DHA/MG mechanism. I'm not saying you couldn't do something to make non manuka fail with prodigious amounts of sugar feeding on a flow, but the question here is about fails with "normal" beekeeping practises. If you feed your bees with a safety margin of sugar right up to a flow like most all do in the country (and the US), then for non manuka you are very unlikely to have a problem. For manuka you will have a problem regardless of your sugar feeding regime. And likely more of a problem with more sugar feeding, but why this is exactly is not well understood.
  13. Actually the original research on this by Johnathon White determined this relationship by blending known concentrations of C3 and C4 sugars and measuring the differences between the protein C13 levels and the blended honey and C4 sugar values. The calculations in the current method are based on this calibration work and are not a result of the actual measurements. In the real World there is some significant difference at times between the protein C13 and total honey C13 ratios, the most obvious is when the measurements deliver a negative value for C4 sugars. Different C3 plants can have a wide range of C13 values and this is enough of a range for the single C13 measurement to be of little value for spotting adulteration. e.g. a 50:50 blend of some C3 and C4 sugars could pass as a C3 signature. Hence the development of using the protein as an internal standard. The original paper posits that the protein in honey is mostly enzymes from the bees, and the bees have fed on the same source material that the nectar is produced from, so this protein should have the same C13 signature as the nectar/honey. Over a whole season of honey production this is likely to be mostly true, but for crops in the early spring like manuka, the bees have fed and grown on pollen prior to the manuka nectar flow that may have a different C13 signature. And Karyne Rogers showed (The Unique Manuka Effect: Why New Zealand Manuka Honey Fails the AOAC 998.12 C‑4 Sugar Method) that when you added DHA to clover honey, the C13 signature of the protein (the internal standard) changed with time. It is probable that the MG in the resulting mix chopped up some of the protein. This meant that the apparent C4 sugars increased, i.e. an impossibility and thus an artifact and failure of the test. But because economic adulteration of honey by other syrups is (in some quarters) considered the number one problem causing an oversupply of honey in the World, don't expect the C4 sugar test (SCIRA - Stable Carbon Isotope Ratio Analysis) to be cast on the scrap heap any time soon.
  14. " A market downturn has had a significant impact on the profitability of many beekeeping businesses and some rationalisation is expected over the next year, Apiculture New Zealand chief executive Karin Kos says. " https://www.odt.co.nz/rural-life/rural-life-other/volumes-rise-price-honey-drops
  15. The problem the new standard is trying to solve, is that the research found that there is a much larger amount of unmeasured tutin bound up in an oligosaccharide than the free tutin that is measured by the current test method. The current regulation is on the free tutin, there is no calculation for the bound tutin in the current reg. On ingestion the free tutin contributes to a rise in serum levels in a few hours, whereas the bound tutin only starts to cause a [much larger] rise after digestion of the oligosaccharides in the lower intestine 18 or more hours after ingestion. The ratio of these two sources of tutin in the honey also varies and may change over time. So testing for free tutin (as happens now) does not give an accurate value for the bound and thus total tutin. Since the testing for both sources would significantly increase the cost of testing, and not necessarily significantly reduce the uncertainty in a very complex system of dose rate, body weights, time of absorbtion, metabolism rates etc., MPI opted for a reduced limit. Perhaps in the future, methodology could be developed that measures both sources of tutin and a new limit expressing total tutin (bound and free) could established. This would be a considerable expense that may not be warranted if the current method/systes working. In the history of recorded tutin poisonings, bulk honey has only contributed to one significant poisoning. All the rest have been caused by comb honey. Since comb honey is completely non homogenous, it is arguable that even testing for levels at the limit of detection in one part of a comb may give little assurance that another part of the comb has been filled with tutu honeydew. In a World that requires near absolute safety of food, the uncertainty and risk of tutin in comb honey is "problematic".
  16. We have now had 3 iterations of the standard. The interpretation around the 3-PLA changed with the change from the second to the 3rd. Before that being over 400 had no adverse implications. However the last iteration meand that the 2-MAP had differing levels and suddenly being over 400ppm 3-PLA and below 5ppm 2-MAP meant a non manuka. The first iteration was "scientific", "statistically robust" etc. and portrayed as completely fit for purpose in a country wide road show. The second iteration was because "we've got more data". So just how robust were those first statistics really? - and if any other shortcuts were taken/hidden from view. The third iteration, which caused the over 3-PLA anomaly, was a direct result of threated court action on the standard. The choice of chemical markers to say a honey is or isn't predominantly from a named plant source is problematic. In the case of manuka we have 4 markers, and two of them are used to determine the difference between mono and multi manuka. i.e. more 2-MAP drives a multi into a mono and the same with 3-PLA. So one would expect if this belief system is correct, that as the 2-MAP goes up, so must the 3-PLA... at least kind of.... mostly..... . Since we have nectar data we can eliminate any contributions from other unknown sources for these compounds and can test the theory that an increase in one substance is (at least partly) supported by an increase in the other substance Using a correlation coefficient we can test this statistically. A correlation coefficient has a result from negative 1 to positive 1. A positive 1 inidicates that they are related in lock step. An exact increase or decrease in both. A negative 1 indicates that the relationship is the exact opposite and a zero indicates there is absolutely no correlation. So what does the nectar data say in each of the two seasons? 14/15 season Correlation coefficient -0.10382 16/16 season Correlation coefficient 0.19814 These two numbers (both close to zero) show there is virtually NO correlation between 3-PLA and 2-MAP in the nectar. Pick a value of one marker in the nectar, and you can make no related prediction for the other. And for people who like to see it visually..... hint, for there to be a correlation you need to be able to draw a line close to or through most of the dots! Because of this huge variability in the levels of these two substances, both in seasons and between seasons, there is a fundamental flaw in the reasoning behind using these markers as the basis of the manuka standard - and particularly these two because of they determine proportionality for the purposes of defining mono and multi manuka.
  17. The markers were chosen by looking in the nectar. The levels of the markers were derived from a CART statistical analysis (the review of the analysis was not very complementary) of honeys sumbitted as manuka. There was no correlation drawn between the levels found in the nectar data and the levels found in the honey. Bit of pulling ones self up by one's bootlaces. Looking at the nectar data taken of two subsequent seasons, the mean of the 3-PLA varied by 5.6 times and the 2-MAP varied by 13.3 times. "Scientific" is a bit of a stretch.
  18. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12207556 "The company's stock closed $1.03, or 20 per cent, lower at $4.14 after Te Puke based Comvita announced a $2.7 million loss for the first half to December 31 compared.... "
  19. Some older data from the Sunshine Coast Uni. Interesting to note their levels for L. scoparium at 3,000 ppm when work published by UMFHA show 5,000 ppm here in NZ. L. polygalifolium is widespread and a great coloniser of significant areas of sand mined country along the Australian coast. It seems they took a reasonable number of samples and think genetics is a big driver of variability.
  20. 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.
  21. https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/110554586/levy-on-beekeepers-uncertain-as-campaign-intensifies-to-oppose-it
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.....
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