|August 2008 Newsletter|
Voluntary Contributors to AHBIC
AHBIC acknowledges the beekeeper suppliers who contribute via their packer and queen bee supplier to AHBIC. We also urge beekeepers to support those packers/queen bee breeders who contribute to AHBIC.
Does your honey buyer’s or queen bee supplier’s name appear on this list?
If not, then ask ‘why not?’
SUPPORT THOSE WHO SUPPORT YOUR INDUSTRY!
The July 2008 AHBIC Annual General Meeting resolved that a review be undertaken of the peak body’s organisational structures. The review will also investigate and make recommendations about future funding of the organisation which has historically relied substantially on the subscription of voluntary levies by industry participants.
A discussion paper tabled at the AHBIC AGM by the Victorian Apiarists’ Association, dealing with the funding crisis and proposing a way forward through structural reform of the peak body has been provided to all editors of the Australian beekeeping media for the information of beekeeping industry stakeholders.
The Review Committee comprises: Mr Bill Weiss (Chairman), Mr Linton Briggs, Mr Stephen Fewster & Mr Ken Gell.
The Review Committee needs to know what you, as members, expect of AHBIC and FCAAA. If you consider we need both bodies. If you consider we need packers, pollinators and queen breeders as separate member bodies. What form the peak body should be that you would consider making contribution to for funding of that body.
Inquiry Terms of Reference:
Submissions from Australian honey bee industry stakeholders are invited to be lodged by the 30 November 2008. The review committee will publish its findings and recommendation by end of January, 2009. All replies to remain confidential. Submissions may be mailed or posted online to the following addresses:
Mr B Weiss
CALL FOR COMMENTS ON Draft Australian Standard Organic & Biodynamic Products
We have been advised by Standards Australia Technical Committee FT-032-Organic & Biodynamic Products that they have finalized the preparation of Draft Australian Standard Organic & Biodynamic Products for Public Comment.
The Committee FT-032 was constituted by taking into account the major stakeholder interests while maintaining the balance of interest, as well as keeping the committee size to a manageable size. The other interests will take part in the standards development process at the Public Comment period, when the Draft Standard is issued for public comment. The Drafts are now issued for Public Comment. During this period, the public could make submissions for consideration by the committee.
The details of the Public Comment Drafts are:
Start date for Comments: 21 July 2008 Closing date for Comments: 22 September 2008
The Drafts and the 'Public Comment Form' could be accessed by visiting Standards Australia website.
The details are:
RURAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT - CALL FOR APPLICATIONS
Please be advised that the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) are now calling for applications for preliminary research proposals to meet our program adjectives.
RIRDC invests in the knowledge needs of our three portfolio areas:
Our investments are driven by Five-Year R&D plans which address the needs of each industry and ensure our priorities are industry and government-driven. Overall, our aim is for a more profitable, dynamic and sustainable rural sector.
If you think you or your organisation can help address the needs of our programs as outlined in the current research priorities (listed on our website below), we would welcome your application for funding.
RIRDC welcomes proposals that will meet the specific objectives or a number of objectives, as outlined on our website and in more detail in program Five-Year Plans.
We also welcome and encourage your collaboration with other research providers to build the critical research mass necessary to meet our objectives.
Please go to http://www.rirdc.gov.au/business/ for more information.
If you have further questions or need further information, please contact:
Ms Margie Thomson, General Manager
MIXED RAINFALL ODDS FOR LATE WINTER TO MID SPRING
The national outlook for total August to October rainfall shows moderate swings in the odds towards below-normal rainfall in central WA and also in a band extending from northern Queensland through to central SA. In contrast, higher than average rainfall is favoured in the southwest of WA.
Over the rest of the nation, late-winter to mid-spring rainfall totals have a 40 to 60% chance of exceeding the three-month median. So the chances of being wetter than normal are about the same as the chances of being drier.
Outlook confidence is related to how consistently the Pacific and Indian Oceans affect Australian rainfall. During August to October, history shows this effect to be moderately consistent across most of Queensland, the east and north of the NT and the northern inland of NSW. Elsewhere, it is generally weakly consistent, reaching moderate only in patches, including Northern Tasmania (see background information).
US HONEY UPDATE
The USA honey crop is just coming in. Although it doesn't appear to be anything close to a bumper crop, it looks to be better than last year's crop. Reduced bee populations due to Colony Collapse Disorder should have minimal impact on the size of the honey crop as some beekeepers have been able to increase their colonies. Reduced forage area probably will play a bigger role in lost honey production as more acres are turned over to cropland or are lost to urbanization. Many prime honey producing areas are seeing excellent crop conditions with heavy honey flow, while other prime areas are still struggling with weather extremes, either continued drought conditions, or the other extreme where the weather has been too cool and too wet for good honey production.
We expect to have better indications of the size of the crop by the end of August or early September. Prices for new crop honey are 50% to 70% higher than last year at this time, depending on the type of honey. White honey prices are still about 25 % higher than light amber honey prices. Prices should remain strong as demand for this honey will be heavy.
AUSTRALIAN PLAGUE LOCUST REPORT
General situation in autumn 2008 and outlook to spring 2008
The adult locust population increased to high densities in the eastern Riverina of New South Wales during March. This was primarily the result of the aggregation of locusts that fledged in this region in late February and early March, but some migration from the Central West in early March may have contributed to the increase. Concentration and swarm density adults with developed eggs were widespread in Murray, Wagga and the western part of Hume Rural Lands Protection Board (RLPB) districts, but numbers had declined to medium densities by the end of April. Egg laying began in the Riverina in late March and continued during April and into early May. A potentially serious nymphal infestation with many bands is therefore expected to develop in the Riverina in October and November.
Locust densities in most regions of Queensland and northern South Australia declined to very low levels during April apart from some low density adults and occasional nymphs near Cunnamulla in Paroo Shire, South Central Queensland.
YOU KNOW YOU’RE A BEEKEEPER WHEN ….
YOU NEVER STOP MARVELLING AT THESE WONDERFUL CREATURES!
YOU KNOW YOU’RE MARRIED TO A BEEKEEPER WHEN ….
YOU NEVER STOP MARVELLING AT THESE WONDERFUL CREATURES!
Re-printed with permission from The Buzz! - SAAA Newsletter
CROP & STOCK REPORTS
NEW SOUTH WALES
Cold weather over the past few weeks has inhibited hive progress. Inland NSW is getting dry again with 66% of the state again drought declared, with extensive hard frosts affecting growth of most plants.
Canola has started bees breeding, however without rain may be short lived. Curse has germinated in some areas where autumn rain was sufficient but needs good rains to promote a crop of honey.
Some coastal areas are producing a little honey with patchy prospects for spring and summer. Grey Ironbark has some bud in patches, depends on pollen support to coincide with flowering.
Other than what bud is left on Yellow Box, there does not appear to be a major species budded well enough to produce a crop of any significance.
Overall crop prospects for NSW is diminishing every day without rain.
Honey production over recent weeks has been severely restricted by very cold weather that has restricted bees flying time to under 3 hours on the Darling Downs. As the weather warms Narrow Leaved Ironbark and Blue Top Ironbark will finish their flowering cycle with another super of honey. Most honey producers have moved away, either travelling South to Canola or North to Macadamia Nuts. Warmer days in the Channel Country will also see production on Yapunyah. The nectar has been in the cups but the bees have not been flying is a common story.
There are varied reports on Yellow Box but it is expected to yield a crop this season, it will be well supported by a good budding on Hill Gum.
For the most part Queensland remains dry and beekeepers are looking forward to spring rains to produce ground flora pollen sources and stimulate eucalypts.
Queen bee producers are reporting heavy bookings with order books close to full. This indicates a renewed optimism in Queensland.
Coastal regions that have received rain may well yield an average crop in the coming season. Wattle in the South East has flowered brilliantly this year and bees were observed to be working it in numbers.
As in past years rain will determine the crop but more importantly rain at the right time will be the determining factor. Many areas of the Darling Downs need a good flood to really get things back on track. An average crop is anticipated in Queensland.
It appears that few honey producers are carrying stocks of honey. Honey that is being produced is usually shipped to packers immediately.
Most bees are on almonds and in reasonably good condition.
The whole State could do with good rains.
Early signs of spring are only just appearing in Tasmania after a return of a normal winter weather pattern. Far too early to give any meaningful spring honey forecast.
Rainfall has been patchy South East very good falls last week. Blue Gums in that area well budded. Fruit trees advancing with good pollination prospects.
East Coast and Midlands still in need of good rains, although the Midlands has had a couple of good snowfalls. Pollination in that area will depend on rains in the next month or so. Peppermints budded in parts of this area.
West Coast has received good rains and snowfalls which should give the Leatherwoods a healthy boost as we haven’t had such good falls for many years.
North and North West very good early August precipitation and snow falls on higher peaks. Country side looking good but needs some warmer days. Most of the dams in this area are full. More rain is needed for a run off as soil was very dry coming into July.
Hives are generally in good order with sugar feeding necessary as weather has been too inclement for Bees to fly.
A wet July has brought the late autumn/winter rains of May, June, July and into August up to a reasonable level. May & June rains generally were enough to sow crops, strike weeds etc, and keep them alive. Except for the North West Mallee most of the State received average to above average rains during July. This rainfall being spread out over three weeks, and the days have been quite cold with very few frosts, so the moisture will stay in the ground.
All of Victoria will be looking for Canola for spring breeding conditions and hopefully, some surplus honey.
North West Mallee – There is still a good budding with some flowering on White Mallee (Euc. gracilis) in patches. However, the Mallee badly needs rain, and pollen is and will be short with poor germination of Wild Turnip, Onion Weed. The extensive cropping that now takes place is not helping.
There is also a little budding on Giant Angular Mallee (Euc. incrassata var. costata) but mainly around the edges and along the roads and is doubtful as a spring prospect.
The other spring prospect is Citrus. The huge question here is irrigation water.
Box-Iron Bark Forest Belt – Yellow Gum (Euc. leucoxylon) and winter flowering Iron Bark (Euc. tricarpa) have continued flowering throughout the winter and it is very doubtful that any blossom will last past September.
To come back to my earlier statement, Canola will be a major prospect that beekeepers will be relying on for the spring. There has been wide-spread planting across the State, with crops in northern Victoria and the Riverina (NSW) already starting to flower.
There is a general movement of bee hives into almond orchards at the moment. At the end of August the movement will be east and north to early Canola and hopefully, some Paterson’s Curse - if the rains continue into the spring; and south and south west to Cape Weed and the tail-end of the Yellow Gum.
Later prospects are: A reasonable budding on Yellow Box (Euc. melliodora). The budding is generally not as heavy as in past years, but it will produce honey in favoured locations.
River Red Gum (Euc. camaldulensis) is showing signs of Leaf-Lerp attack in small areas, but the general heavy budding across the State is not being adversely affected.
Mountain Blue Gum (Euc. stjohnii) is carrying a good crop of buds for January/February flowering in north eastern Victoria, the Pyrenees and Mount Cole forests in north central Victoria. There was a considerable bud-drop in the latter forests during the March heat wave, but the north east was not as badly effected.
Other summer prospects are Acorn Mallee (Euc. oleosa) for January/February flowering in the North West Mallee.
Prospects for autumn at the moment are not good.
Grey Box (Euc. microcarpa) trees are very healthy and are tending to show the spur growth that can indicate a possibility of budding at a later date.
The possibilities of producing a reasonable crop of honey in Victoria this coming season are only average, but at the same time, considerably better than last season. Many beekeepers have bee hives in very poor condition and will need to spend a great deal of time and effort in breeding bees well into the spring.
Above average rainfall in April in most of the agricultural areas saw the planting of record canola crops and a good start for the Salvation Jane. Most beekeepers are reporting between 20% and 30% loss in hive numbers due to the very poor season just gone. Good wintering conditions have hives coming into spring with one or two more frames of brood than past years, July was very cold and wet. Salvation Jane along with the Canola has hives breeding well and moving up. The Hakea looks a lot better than last year on the coast; Parrot Bush has benefited from the good rain in July but still appears to be suffering from the drought over the past 2 years.
Most beekeepers will be concentrating on getting hive numbers back this spring in preparation for Jarrah, which after dropping it bud last year in most areas has decided to have another go this year. At this stage it looks healthy in most areas.
With improved honey prices and better crop expectations for this season WA beekeepers are glad we don’t have many seasons like the past.