The Mid Canterbury honey season is off to a slow start in Mid Canterbury due to the inclement weather over the last month.
Ali Bell of Mackenzie Country Honey said they had pushed the start of their season back a week due to the mud and the inability to get their trucks into their hives.
“We need the ground to dry out before we can get going,” she said.
Barry Hantz of Hantz Honey, Lakeside, said the same. The weather has curtailed the start of their season
As for last season, it was pretty poor, he said. “Below an average crop. That was on the clover. We had all the right weather conditions up until Christmas then it kept on raining throughout January.
“We fared a little bit better than the cropping farmers, but not by much,” Hantz said.
Hantz said he produced mainly clover although the last couple of years had done a bit of manuka up in Kaikoura.
“This did quite well and was pleasing compared to how they went the year before. I think there was a pocket of manuka around Kaikoura that seemed to do quite well, but in other places like the West Coast manuka was pretty poorly,” Hantz said.
He said his operation runs about 4000 hives. This makes his one of the larger operations in Canterbury.
“We sell nationwide in Countdown supermarkets.
“We export a bit – probably not as much as we used to. We have a market in America, one in Malaysia, a small one in Switzerland which used to be quite big, and a bit in Singapore and a little bit in Canada. Just bits and pieces everywhere really.
“Prices for clover honey are ok, but overall they are still pretty poor. What we are getting now is what we were getting 15 to 20 years ago.
“The price of clover has gone up over the last season but it is not relative to what our costs have gone up – diesel and wages – so it’s still a struggle
“But at least with clover you can ring someone and make a sale as with 18 months ago you couldn’t sell anything.”
Hantz said the Covid outbreak hadn’t done the honey industry much good.
The domestic sales at supermarkets went pretty well during Covid because everyone was shopping up a storm but then it went dead,” Hantz said.
“However we have 12 staff and we still have two staff who have hadn’t had it so we have managed to get through.”
- By Pat Deavoll