Matters of concern.

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southbee

Gold
314
264
Southland
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Commercial
I used to ride a 500cc yamaha, kick start and loved it. Would be cool to get back into it :cool: , one day maybe!
But seriously, you only need one person to think he/she can do it and take on your hives. Might not happen this month or this year, but eventually you'll find one. Without knowing all the details it seems a pretty good opportunity for someone to get into beekeeping, as you offer different styles of taking over. I would not give beekeeping in NZ the death nail yet, there's different situations for everyone and also I would and did advise my sons to learn a 'proper' job first, I would not be against them going into bees after that. Hard work and little money, that's true, but there's other rewards. I enjoy being self employed, getting outdoors and doing some physical workout. I do enjoy the work with the bees and also having a farming community around me which is pretty supportive and oh man, I do love the off season!!!! Which brings me back to that motorbike ride.....:ROFLMAO:
 
7
4
Springston
Experience
Hobbyist
Hmm .... Matters of concern ..... we been quite busy lately . What with the Big MAN truck being still out of action the little Beanie truck has been doing o vertime getting the last of the honey home ..... and then we got an invite to shake bees for packeages to Canada, so we cracked in and did that as it was quite a good way of shrinking the bee population rapidly so we did'nt have to feed the hives so much.....

And it got me thinkng. Live bees are worth $50/kg to us, and we shake about 750 gm per hive . They go into a package and get shipped over to the prairies where the Canadians pay $238 per package of 1kg bees plus a queen.
Old mate over there tells me that is goood value as hives with live bees in them are trading for between $350 and $400.

Meanwhile, down here I can't even give my hives away. Old mate suggested I book a refrigerated container and send them upto him .
Interesting.

But seriously .... if anyone wants 1300 colonies for next to nothing, give me a call.
I have a ticket outta God Z Own for begiining of May, and something needs to happen to them or they'll become another statistic.
I can't take 1300 but i could take a few
 
445
327
Mid Canterbury
Experience
Semi Commercial
I would not give beekeeping in NZ the death nail yet, there's different situations for everyone and also I would and did advise my sons to learn a 'proper' job first, I would not be against them going into bees after that.
I agree with both statements. Diversification and meeting others an excellent idea. I think there will be a beekeeping industry, but not as it has been historically.
 
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Alastair

Founder Member
Platinum
8,749
9,965
Auckland
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I think it will go back to how it was historically. For part of the history anyway.

Back when I started there were half a million less hives in NZ than more recently, manuka was not a thing (well it was a thing we avoided cos it was hard to extract, and worth less than other honeys).

Beekeepers worked very hard for modest returns, but you could reliably sell your crop with just a little bit of entrepreneurship mostly locally but some went overseas.

Corporates run from a boardroom did not exist, the beekeeper was the beekeeper.

When we eradicate another 1/2 million hives, things will return to historical norms. I'll be gone by then but it is pretty much inevitable this will happen. Or since manuka is still a (bit) of a thing, and still might surprise, maybe we just need to lose 1/4 of a million hives.
 
3,576
6,701
Hawkes Bay
Experience
Commercial
I agree with both statements. Diversification and meeting others an excellent idea. I think there will be a beekeeping industry, but not as it has been historically.
Historically beekeepers were dirt poor and had to run a thousand plus hives per person to survive using old and antiquated equipment and vehicles that was repaired rather than replaced. after a really good year you might have been able to replace something before it fell apart and in a bad year you could always sell your stockpile of wax or get another job for a while.
Financially they were certainly not the good old days but there was probably less stress and you certainly didn't have hives dumped on top of you and if someone needed a hand through illness or accident you just went out and help them whether you like them or not and no one ever thought to charge for this help. Knowledge was freely exchanged and there wasn't that fear that whatever someone learned from you would be used against you.
I'm afraid I agree with Alistair. You would have to be an idiot to get into beekeeping at the moment even if the hives were free. Even the best beekeepers at the moment are struggling to cover costs let alone make a profit. Yes you can diversify but there are already more than enough pollination hives. You can't give away propolis because of cheap imports which are on sold in packaging that makes it looked like it was produced in New Zealand , pollen becomes oversupplied if more than two beekeepers produce it at the same time and there are already enough Queen produces.
Long-term things will get better but at the moment being hard-working and skilled is not always enough to make a profit. We used to survive low prices on high production and low costs but with most areas grossly overstocked and extra costs like varoa and government regulations you now have to survive low prices on low production and high costs. The manuka bubble may not have burst but it is certainly losing pressure rapidly. Just because we want or need things to be better doesn't mean it will happen. Look at the wool industry.

beekeeping is still a wonderful life but you need to be an optimist to be a beekeeper. To be a successful beekeeper you need to carefully balance that optimism with realism.
I am still optimistic about beekeeping and I do get the feeling that things have improved in the last 12 months. There are opportunities out there for the young and the keen and I wish them good luck. They are going to need it
 
445
327
Mid Canterbury
Experience
Semi Commercial
beekeeping is still a wonderful life but you need to be an optimist to be a beekeeper. To be a successful beekeeper you need to carefully balance that optimism with realism.
I am still optimistic about beekeeping and I do get the feeling that things have improved in the last 12 months. There are opportunities out there for the young and the keen and I wish them good luck. They are going to need it
My thoughts are that beekeeping is now on a precipice as to which way the scales will tip, and those that will survive are keen, hardworking, practical, analytical and into diversification. In some geographic areas, honey may not be the main income earner. It could be services offered or other products.
On chatting to beekeepers, costs and often the reasoning of bureaucracy, time and time again, is seen as sole destroying and a financial burden.
 
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southbee

Gold
314
264
Southland
Experience
Commercial
Historically beekeepers were dirt poor and had to run a thousand plus hives per person to survive using old and antiquated equipment and vehicles that was repaired rather than replaced. after a really good year you might have been able to replace something before it fell apart and in a bad year you could always sell your stockpile of wax or get another job for a while.
Financially they were certainly not the good old days but there was probably less stress and you certainly didn't have hives dumped on top of you and if someone needed a hand through illness or accident you just went out and help them whether you like them or not and no one ever thought to charge for this help. Knowledge was freely exchanged and there wasn't that fear that whatever someone learned from you would be used against you.
I'm afraid I agree with Alistair. You would have to be an idiot to get into beekeeping at the moment even if the hives were free. Even the best beekeepers at the moment are struggling to cover costs let alone make a profit. Yes you can diversify but there are already more than enough pollination hives. You can't give away propolis because of cheap imports which are on sold in packaging that makes it looked like it was produced in New Zealand , pollen becomes oversupplied if more than two beekeepers produce it at the same time and there are already enough Queen produces.
Long-term things will get better but at the moment being hard-working and skilled is not always enough to make a profit. We used to survive low prices on high production and low costs but with most areas grossly overstocked and extra costs like varoa and government regulations you now have to survive low prices on low production and high costs. The manuka bubble may not have burst but it is certainly losing pressure rapidly. Just because we want or need things to be better doesn't mean it will happen. Look at the wool industry.

beekeeping is still a wonderful life but you need to be an optimist to be a beekeeper. To be a successful beekeeper you need to carefully balance that optimism with realism.
I am still optimistic about beekeeping and I do get the feeling that things have improved in the last 12 months. There are opportunities out there for the young and the keen and I wish them good luck. They are going to need it
 

southbee

Gold
314
264
Southland
Experience
Commercial
Just because we want or need things to be better doesn't mean it will happen. Look at the wool industry.
Very well said! Just wishing things doesn't make them happen, I've tried - with no luck! And so many things are out of our control to make a change, like honey prices, varroa problems, rising costs, compliance fees.....or do we just get tired and think they are out of our control? How many have read the article about the MPI export levy in the latest Apiarist magazine and have contacted the person who's put a complaint to the ombudsman?
 
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445
327
Mid Canterbury
Experience
Semi Commercial
Very well said! Just wishing things doesn't make them happen, I've tried - with no luck! And so many things are out of our control to make a change, like honey prices, varroa problems, rising costs, compliance fees.....or do we just get tired and think they are out of our control? How many have read the article about the MPI export levy in the latest Apiarist magazine and have contacted the person who's put a complaint to the ombudsman?
 
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72
42
Katikati
Experience
Commercial
Compliance.... It's government generated.
I sometimes think the system is geared towards big business. You notice the large businesses are cosy with the decision makers. They have the resources to do so. They can lobby for what's in their interest. That's what I don't much like about APinz. It's got some small business representation tho really big business domant.

Government prefer to deal with influential groups, small one person operations are not going to make much difference.
And if these smaller ones shut down all the better aye, thru compliance.

I'm on the pessimistic side. Or maybe on the fence.
It annoys me that propolis is now hardly worth gathering, partly because comvita (APinz rep) imports it cheap from their south American company.
I fill re used drums. Sugar cost is rising.
Wax, scrape that onto the ground.
I don't want to invest too much. Or be innovative, because why?
Varroa... Talk about anxiety!

I like beekeeping tho, enjoy my work.
It's the looking ahead that's difficult.
 
72
42
Katikati
Experience
Commercial
I sent Chris my supporting letter...
Did anyone else?
 
445
327
Mid Canterbury
Experience
Semi Commercial
Compliance.... It's government generated.
Unfortunately when you have other people spending other peoples' money there will always be major wastage, invariably ending in increased costs. We see it time and time again with local bodies and government departments. The reality is that these people are the employees of NZ, and it is the people of NZ who get taxed in a multitude of ways that pay their salaries. Unfortunately NZers are like sheep, they appear to easily roll over, pay, get stressed and complain to their mates.

Many whom would like to complain are scared of being targeted or ostracised. Interesting article on last night's news about freedom of speech and government PC control.

Then when you do send in a written query or complaint, it is sent from one official, then to another and so on. No one official seems to be able to make a decision by themselves. I guess that's one way to say that you are busy in your job, and as an official it's also a way of ensuring that you will never be held individually responsible for any decision, and you will be able to stay on the gravy train.

Recently I challenged a decision, and the replies certainly did not come back in the stated official time frames, and the decision was not in my favour. There seems to be one law for beekeepers, and another for officials. I was fairly certain I was right, but it transpired in the end, after me wasting time with multiple emails that this official website was out of date, therefore I was incorrect, and I was politely thanked for bringing it to the Chair's attention. Seriously! If there's one thing that should be correct it should be an official website of a well funded outfit.

We are heading for major food shortages, and assistance to food producers in the primary sector with a supportive industry community should be government priority.

If anyone wants to support Chris, they need to contact him ASAP, because submission date closure is 24 April.

 
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Alastair

Founder Member
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When I started in beekeeping there was no RMP, and in fact no nothing..

Best I remember the industry was entirely unregulated far as honey processing went. The extracting and packing room had to be set up according to the general food hygiene requirements of the day, but there was nothing specific just for beekeepers.

Nobody died.

I don't have an RMP, as a very small beekeeper it is entirely uneconomic, I outsource my extracting, packing, and storage to someone who has all that in place. They charge me plenty for the privilege but in my situation it's still less cost and drama than doing it myself.

But one thing bugs me, I see beekeepers with RMP's storing drums outside, a common practice. How could any way I could store them possibly be any worse than that? The law can be an ass.

Also, as I understand but correct me if I'm wrong, I'm supposed to have an RMP even just to store honey after it has been packed into jars which are in sealed cartons ready for sale? If the supermarket storage area does not have an RMP, why should I have to?
 
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242
252
Katikati
Experience
Commercial
When I started in beekeeping there was no RMP, and in fact no nothing..

Best I remember the industry was entirely unregulated far as honey processing went. The extracting and packing room had to be set up according to the general food hygiene requirements of the day, but there was nothing specific just for beekeepers.

Nobody died.

I don't have an RMP, as a very small beekeeper it is entirely uneconomic, I outsource my extracting, packing, and storage to someone who has all that in place. They charge me plenty for the privilege but in my situation it's still less cost and drama than doing it myself.

But one thing bugs me, I see beekeepers with RMP's storing drums outside, a common practice. How could any way I could store them possibly be any worse than that? The law can be an ass.

Also, as I understand but correct me if I'm wrong, I'm supposed to have an RMP even just to store honey after it has been packed into jars which are in sealed cartons ready for sale? If the supermarket storage area does not have an RMP, why should I have to?

Storage RMP compliant is a requirement for export, not for domestic.
 

Alastair

Founder Member
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Auckland
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Oh thanks Gerrit (y). I don't even know all the rules so that information is appreciated.

Some of my honey is exported so I guess that's why I have to do that, I just do what they tell me.

So anyhow, that means I can store jars destined for local supermarkets at home in the garage?
 
242
252
Katikati
Experience
Commercial
Oh thanks Gerrit (y). I don't even know all the rules so that information is appreciated.

Some of my honey is exported so I guess that's why I have to do that, I just do what they tell me.

So anyhow, that means I can store jars destined for local supermarkets at home in the garage?
As long as that is compliant under the Food Act 2014
 
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