Wednesday, 25 January 2017
How has the honey season been this year? Terrible!
The manuka has hardly flowered at all, around our place. And it looks like it is universal, across the country.
Comvita has come out and said that it expects their honey harvest to be only 40% of normal. Check out the article in the NZ Herald.
Why is the season so bad? Must be the weather. It has been quite cold for summer, for most of the season.
The season is not over yet, and I guess it could still surprise us. My apple tree has decided to blossom. Again. So it has blossoms AND apples on at the same time. And my magnolia is equally confused, it's doing a second round of flowers, after the normal October flowering. Almost like they think it is just spring now.
So what can you do when the weather wrecks your honey season?
Not a lot, but check out these suggestions at Business of Bees.
And may the force be with you. Everyone is in the same boat this year, it seems.
Wednesday, 18 January 2017
Are you making these 3 fatal mistakes in your planning for a new bee business?
You've decided that there is money to be made in the manuka honey industry. You've done the research on the interwebs and found a wealth of useful information. It all looks like a dream run. What could go wrong?
Well, that's all fine. And not.
Here are 3 fatal mistakes to avoid in your planning for a new bee business to take advantage of the burgeoning manuka honey industry.
1. Trying to do everything
Paying people to do some of the tasks is expensive, right? So, no problem, you'll do them all yourself.
Here are some things that are involved in creating honey and bee products and getting them to market:
- own your own hives
- be the beekeeper
- run all aspects of the business
- build boxes
- make queens
- extract honey
- package honey
- sell honey
- make other products, say hand cream or candles
- own the land the hives are on
- grow your own manuka
It also means you are very busy. And very busy translates to only being able to do so much. For a full description of what you are likely to achieve and what to do about it, read more here at businessofbees.com.
2. Not allowing for the weather
We have weather, pretty much guaranteed. And some weather is not ideal. You can bet your bottom dollar on this one too.
So does your financial and business plan allow for a bad season? Or bad parts of the season?
2015/16 was a poor season in parts of NZ, a storm stopped short the manuka honey flow. 2016/17 is not looking too grand either. Word is, it is not so flash in many parts of the country - it's not over yet, but not going good so far. Even though the weather has been pretty benign, you would think.
What if next year is poor? And the year after? Does your plan suggest you will survive? Or do you need a string of bumper crops to make it all work?
Which brings us to mistake no. 3:
3. Using the wrong numbers
The internet is a strange place. You can find just about anything you want. But finding the context is a bit harder.
So here are some numbers the internet might suggest are good for bee business planning:
- growing about 1000 hives in your first year
- getting 40 kg honey per hive
- making $40 / kg on your honey
That sounds great doesn't it? No problem with making a profit then. But there are a few traps using these numbers just straight. It's all a bit more nuanced than it might first seem.
And for some ideas on how to fix this, check out the full story in this blog post.
If you can avoid these 3 fatal mistakes and still make your financial and business plan look like it'll work, then you are ahead of the game, and have a good chance of having a business that will work.