Cool summer hits honey harvest hard
Wet and windy conditions have affected the production of all types of honey and would mean a poor harvest if the weather pattern continued into February, Apiculture NZ chief executive Karin Kos said.
Strong winds were bad for honey production because it discouraged bees from collecting plant nectar.
It was too early to know its effect on yields and on the market as some regions had fared better than others for honey collection.
‘‘It’s too early to say and it’s been variable across the country,’’ Kos said.
‘‘It’s the unfavorable conditions and the unseasonable conditions across the country. It’s been very up and down.’’
It had resulted in low nectar levels in the trees and plants used by bees to collect for honey, Kos said. ‘‘That’s reflective again of the weather.’’ The honey collecting season was about three-quarters through, running from October-november to the end of February. This year, it could run later as a result of poor weather.
Comvita chief executive Scott Coulter said it was likely there would be a 60 per cent shortfall in harvest expectations for the 2017 honey season because of the unfavourable weather conditions.
‘‘The majority of the country has seen cold, wet and windy conditions over the optimal nectar flow period. There is still some time in certain areas of the country, subject to a sustained period of fine weather, to see some form of recovery. However it appears the whole industry is experiencing one of the most difficult honey production seasons for many years.’’
The budget for Comvita’s apiary business is based on an average harvest year