Matters of concern.

Welcome to NZ Beekeepers+
Would you like to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.
Sign up
5,764
6,323
canterbury
Experience
Commercial
I've been quiet on the forum for a few months now..... mainly because I returned from my motorcycle safari a month late and have been in catch up mode ever since.
Any way .... we seem to have caught up .
I vowed to work my Ass off this season, seven days a week to get the bees up to speed and crack a 100 tonne harvest that would fund another motor cycle safari into S America.
And so I have ..... worked my ass off .... seven days a week .... sort of.....
Only my plans have been thwarted at the last minute by an email from the guys we have been selling honey to for the last couple years ..... a two liner saying no contracts will be issued this year for the purchase of honey.

Hot damn.
How am I gonna get to S. America ? I had hoped it would be the same way as I got to Tennesse.


But more importantly , how am I gonna keep the enthusiasm running for the younger generation to pick up the hive tool and work my bees while i am away, because the way the industry is at the momment...... there is no enthusiasm.... and no market for selling Beehives.

We Beekeepers are so dumb.

Bruce Clowe offered us a lifeline a few years ago to put into place a marketing company that we would have a share in and give us a peace of mind to work seven day weeks with confidence knowing we would have an outlet for what we produced..... and be able to enjoy the fruits of our labour.

We hummed and Haahed and fiddled around and let the opportunity slide ....
And here we are, a few years older, same old same old .... looking at the prospect of selling our into a buyers market at a below production price.
 
3,575
6,699
Hawkes Bay
Experience
Commercial
Here in sunny Hawke's Bay we don't have to worry about selling this seasons Honey crop because there isn't any. It hasn't stopped raining for six months and a lot of hives are still being fed. That of course doesn't help us out of the current situation but a really bad crop throughout the whole country would at least use up some of the honey stocks.
Hard times for beekeepers were normal when I was growing up but it doesn't mean I like them. I am more concerned about the future of beekeeping because of varoa than economics but both of them are bad enough that I struggle to see things getting better for some time.
Co-op's might be the answer. They weren't in the past. Who knows they may be in the future.
It wasn't that many years ago that we were getting two dollars for clover and four dollars for manuka and we thought all our Christmases had come at once. Yes there has been a lot of inflation since then but increased costs coupled with lower production caused by overstocking and increasingly also by varoa damage mean that even if you adjusted those prices for inflation you probably couldn't live on it anymore. Expenses for honey packers have also increased astronomically most notably with all the stupid requirements MPI place on everybody .

A united industry body that fights back against stupid regulation would help as would a return to the days of owner operated producer\packers who actually have some knowledge about the beekeeping industry as well as some skin in the game and don't benefit from low honey prices.
There are lots of small things we could do in New Zealand to improve things but the reality is something needs to change overseas to make a big difference and that will probably happen at some stage but I don't know when. Taking fake honey out of the world market would instantly increase both prices and sales .
My advice to anybody either in beekeeping or wanting to get involved would be to go for it if you love bees and the lifestyle but for the next few years at least don't expect to become rich from it . If you want to get rich then find another job.
 
347
449
Bay of Plenty
Experience
Commercial
offered us a lifeline a few years ago to put into place a marketing company
That's not what he offered, he only had a well-intentioned idea of the co-op to buy the honey from beekeepers, he didn't have the other half of the equation, the bit that makes the money, the selling part.
We don't need a co-op, we all know where the honey is and what sort. If I said, I need 10 tons of this type of honey id get emails saying I got that.
We need marketing people on the ground to open up new markets around the world.
 

Alastair

Founder Member
Platinum
8,747
9,962
Auckland
Experience
Semi Commercial
Here in sunny Hawke's Bay we don't have to worry about selling this seasons Honey crop because there isn't any. It hasn't stopped raining for six months and a lot of hives are still being fed. That of course doesn't help us out of the current situation but a really bad crop throughout the whole country would at least use up some of the honey stocks.

Same here John, the rain just never stops. Several beekeeper buddies have been in touch asking how things are, because their hives have just no honey.

My own hives because it is such a weird season and impossible to make a proper prediction I have just dumped supers on all of them and wait and see what happens, I won't be looking at them much until harvest in February. What I've seen so far there are still some sites on the brink of starvation, but others with 4 boxes choc full and could be harvested now. Most of my sites are bush and it depends what is in that particular bush, and how that works in constant rain.
Wait and see what miracles may yet happen, this season may be a disaster, or, could be a boomer. We'll see.

Due to the last few years of having to work hard to sell honey I have gradually developed several niche markets which work because I only have a small number of hives now. Selling is no longer an issue for me, but price, well, more would be better.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CHCHPaul

Alastair

Founder Member
Platinum
8,747
9,962
Auckland
Experience
Semi Commercial
Be interesting to hear from others around the country how you think your season will turn out in terms of production.
 
5,764
6,323
canterbury
Experience
Commercial
That's not what he offered, he only had a well-intentioned idea of the co-op to buy the honey from beekeepers, he didn't have the other half of the equation, the bit that makes the money, the selling part.
We don't need a co-op, we all know where the honey is and what sort. If I said, I need 10 tons of this type of honey id get emails saying I got that.
We need marketing people on the ground to open up new markets around the world.
Jesus…. It’s christmas right… I give up …
APINZ is a toothless feel good organisation that promotes bees to save the planet.
Forgive me Father, for I have sinned in thiught and word and deed….
But Holy Christ…. The industry is collapsing … and a man comes along and throws you an idea in a life jacket … and you say…’yeah nah…. It’s the wrong size’
Frkk….
I guess thats why I’m digging a burning hole for my bees in February and disappearing in S . America.
 
  • Sad
Reactions: NickWallingford
5,764
6,323
canterbury
Experience
Commercial
Be interesting to hear from others around the country how you think your season will turn out in terms of production.
Production is looking good…. Clover is fliwering, rain is falling…. I ‘aint got enough boxes…. But with no forseeable market … there’s no point in creating work snd supering up.
 
  • Good Info
Reactions: Alastair
347
449
Bay of Plenty
Experience
Commercial
and a man comes along and throws you an idea in a life jacket
It wasn't a life jacket, it was lead weight with deep pockets but no payout.
Where do u think your $$ from the 100 ton you hoped to produce comes from, it sure ain't the NZ consumer.
Market access still is in the bottom quarter of all beekeepers' list of things that they have concerns about, yet it is the only one on the list that will pay all the bills and enable the beekeeper to deal with all the other issues.
Until the industry recognizes this with the importance, it deserves, we will keep on going as we go.
Be careful when you dig that hole that you don't fall in, life is more than bees.
 
5,764
6,323
canterbury
Experience
Commercial
Of course…. You are right Dennis …. An industry full if lone operators is a recipe for disaster….. divided we fall.
And yes …. There is more to life than bees….. one just need the bees to generate a bit if surplus to allow ones soul to get outside the square.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Manz
1,150
1,076
great barrier island
Experience
Semi Commercial
Be interesting to hear from others around the country how you think your season will turn out in terms of production.
Our season is pretty much a washout. We had a great October and the hives were looking good. Since then we haven’t had 3 days in a row without rain. Our Manuka is 1/2 way through its season and most hives have zero honey in the supers. We put them on mostly to remind the bees what manuka tastes like.
We’re lucky we have another business to fall back on, I really feel for those worse off.
 
347
449
Bay of Plenty
Experience
Commercial
Of course…. You are right Dennis …. An industry full if lone operators is a recipe for disaster….. divided we fall.
And yes …. There is more to life than bees….. one just need the bees to generate a bit if surplus to allow ones soul to get outside the square.
James, you could always plant your farm in the 'pyramid scheme' called carbon credits, and ride off into the sunset on your fossil fuel stead.
 

Alastair

Founder Member
Platinum
8,747
9,962
Auckland
Experience
Semi Commercial
Despite the honey mountain I am seeing bush and other honey prices steadily going up on the supermarket shelf.

Little while ago a 500 g jar was usually 5 bucks and some change, sometimes even less than 5 bucks. Which means that after packing costs of around $2 per jar, plus freight, plus the supermarkets profit, the beekeeper was getting peanuts, definitely less than cost of production. Now, mostly a 500 g jar is $8 or thereabouts. At least where I shop.
 

southbee

Gold
314
264
Southland
Experience
Commercial
Our season is pretty much a washout. We had a great October and the hives were looking good. Since then we haven’t had 3 days in a row without rain. Our Manuka is 1/2 way through its season and most hives have zero honey in the supers. We put them on mostly to remind the bees what manuka tastes like.
We’re lucky we have another business to fall back on, I really feel for those worse off.
Sounds dreadful and frustrating! Our spring was great and the start of the summer was awesome, but lately we had a drop in temperature, cold wind and grey sky, typical for Southland. The season has been a bit weird, some sites doing far better than normal and some far worse, but all in all not our worst season by a long way. Hoping for some Rata to flower and I've seen a few trees starting but I don't think it'll come to much.
 
  • Good Info
Reactions: Alastair
175
116
West Coast
Experience
Hobbyist
Sounds dreadful and frustrating! Our spring was great and the start of the summer was awesome, but lately we had a drop in temperature, cold wind and grey sky, typical for Southland. The season has been a bit weird, some sites doing far better than normal and some far worse, but all in all not our worst season by a long way. Hoping for some Rata to flower and I've seen a few trees starting but I don't think it'll come to much.
I agree I do not think the Rata will come to much this year no sign of it yet
 
5,764
6,323
canterbury
Experience
Commercial
Well there ya go…
Not sure if this is the place, but whatever….
We got there…. Made up the duds, moved bees to sites… soaked our hands in O/A …. Cursed and swore as the cold spring gave us dud and drone layer splits…
Slaved in the rain, got bogged, bitched at, ran out of boxes… bought more sugar…
And all of a sudden the days came hot and humid and the nectar was running…
And crappy little nucs made up six weeks ago to cover next winters losses needed a second box.
We’ll take a day off for christmas to reflect on a virgin birth…. Than crack back into it …. Trev.
Happy christ-mas to yah.
83C33DB8-A589-47E5-9629-C50DC03FDB3A.jpeg
 
5,764
6,323
canterbury
Experience
Commercial
Matters of concern ....ish.

I put our bees up for sale last year and got no replies. I put 'em up for sale this month and got two replies, so things are lookng up. One man wanted to buy an extractor. Another wanted to buy twenty hives and a honey dew site .... leaving me with 1280 hives to sort out.
Oh well.

Which brings into question this whole succession thing about what the heck do you do with an asset that a few years ago was my kiwi saver worth over a million bucks, and now is gonna cost me a coiple of bucks to hire a digger to scoop out a big hole and bury 'em.

In my life I've had two incurable diseases ...... Beefever and Wanderlust.
Both are apparently not terminal, but are unfortunately incurable.

What to do.

It seems a waste and a shame to bury 1280 hives in a big hole.
One mans junk is another man's treasure ....
So here is the perfect opportunity for some keen gun to give me a call and strike a deal, peppercorn lease, profit share, luv 'em while I seek healing from the terrible condition of Wanderlust !
 
  • Sad
Reactions: Goran


Top