Honey - Australia's Liquid Gold
AUSTRALIAN HONEY INDUSTRY MONTHLY REVIEW
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Australian Rain Forest Honey
Australian Honey Bee Improvement Programme
Australian Sungold Queen Bees
Capilano Honey Limited
Coopers Fine Foods
Hunter Valley Apiaries
R & E McDonald
RC & DJ Phillips Pty Ltd
T & M Weatherhead
Windsor Farm Foods Pty Limited
Fungus to Kill Locusts
Scientists will use a fungus to kill record locust plagues which are threatening crops all over the country.
Australia is being hit with locust plagues in both the east and the west for the first time in living memory, according to the Australian Plague Locust Commission.
The CSIRO – developed biopesticide, made from the fungus metarhizium anisopliae, breaks down quickly and only infects locusts and grasshoppers, according to researchers.
Farmers ‘Not Alone’
Australia’s farmers should remember rising fuel prices were hitting farmers worldwide and not just them, according to Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson. He said he understood people’s concerns about fuel prices and the Government had not been inactive on the issue. Mr Anderson stated that he understood people’s concerns but it was the Government who actually, for the first time ever, significantly reduced excise only a few months ago on transport diesel.
Apiarists Against NZ Apples
Apiarists have emerged as the latest allies of apple and pear growers, trying to fight a decision to allow New Zealand apples into the country.
AHBIC is, and encourages its members to lodge submissions on the issue with the authority responsible, Biosecurity Australia.
The Association’s vice president Ray Phillips says they are concerned the import protocols won’t protect orchardists from the disease, fireblight, and will have a detrimental on bee keepers. He is most concerned by the fifty-metre buffer zones set out in the draft risk analysis, to segregate fireblight-infected blocks in New Zealand.
“Bees are one of the main vectors that once they’re walking across the leaves etcetera, through the flowers, they will pick up the bacteria on their feet. That is the way the fireblight can be transferred many kilometres and it will just be spread from one orchard to another so easily.”
New Executive Director for Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS)
Michael Taylor, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry – Australia (AFFA) earlier this month announced that Ms Meryl Stanton has been appointed to the position of Executive Director of AQIS.
Ms Stanton has substantial experience in executive management of operational areas, organisational change and working with key stakeholders, and has been Chief Executive Officer of Comcare since 1996. She has held senior positions in the former Public Service Board, the National Occupational Health and Safety commission and the former Department of Industrial Relations.
“Ms Stanton’s long experience and breadth of expertise, together with her understanding of the significant management, operational and safety issues facing Australia and AQIS in the implementation of our quarantine arrangements, will be a major asset to AQIS and to AFFA’s Executive Leadership Team,” Mr Taylor said. Ms Stanton takes up her position in November.
UN Warns of Animal Diseases Spreading
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) recently endorsed the importance of quarantine when it warned that increasing movements of people, animals and animal products for trade are leading to an increased spread of animal diseases across national borders.
A number of livestock diseases have been diagnosed for the first time outside their ‘normal’ areas of origin – sometimes thousands of kilometres away – according to FAO.
Almost 100 people are reported to have died in recent weeks in Yemen, close to the Saudi Arabian border, following a suspected outbreak of Rift Valley fever. High abortion rates in livestock and deaths of calves and sheep have also been reported in the first known outbreak of Rift Valley fever outside Africa.
The disease is usually transmitted by mosquitoes, but humans can also be affected by contact with blood or body fluids from infected animals. It is possible that Rift Valley virus was brought from Africa through the movement of infected people or the transport of infected animals, according to FAO Senior Animal Health expert Mark Rweyemamu. FAO is participating in an emergency mission in Saudi Arabia to help local authorities to tackle the outbreak and a mission is being organised to Yemen.
In South Africa, foot and mouth disease broke out last month on a pig farm in KwaZulu-Natal; the first foot and mouth disease infection in that area since 1956. The virus responsible for this outbreak, Type O, has never before been seen in South Africa and authorities there suspect is was carried in pig feed obtained illegally from a foreign ship. The outbreak has killed 70 pigs and about 600 pigs have been slaughtered to prevent further spread of the disease.
Earlier this year, outbreaks of bluetongue disease were reported in Bulgaria and Sardinia – two more locations where the disease was previously unknown. Bluetongue, a viral disease of sheep, caused fever and swelling of the tongue and face.
The United Kingdom recently confirmed an outbreak of classical swine fever, which can kill more than 90 per cent of infected pigs. The disease was eradicated in the UK many years ago and the infection is thought to have been introduced through imported meat products.
“All these cases illustrate that trans-boundary animal diseases continue to be a real threat,” Mr Rweyemamu said. “No country can claim to be safe from these diseases and in an increasingly globalised world veterinary surveillance systems and services are vital to detect these diseases early enough to prepare contingency plans to contain outbreaks.”
Erwin Northoff, FAO
New Zealand Cabinet Backs Two-Year Varroa Management Plan
Cabinet has approved a $7.5 million plan to manage the varroa bee mite over the next two years, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said on 6th November 2000.
Mr Sutton said the aim of the plan was to keep the South Island varroa-free for as long as realistically possible, and to minimise the economic impacts in the North Island.
"We need to do enough surveillance to pick up any incursion in early stages."
Cabinet had already approved an early start to some elements of the plan last month, to enable treatment of high-risk hives in pollination, and reduce the risk of infected hives spreading the mite to the lower North Island.
Movement of bees and bee products from North Island to South Island is still subject to permit and restrictions.
Mr Sutton said that if varroa was detected in the South Island, the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry (MAF) would seek government funding to carry out a delimiting survey to assess the feasibility of eradication.
"Cabinet has approved research that will help in assessing the feasibility of successful eradication, as well as establishing a decision-making framework, preparing a response plan, and working with regional councils and other government ministries to make any response as effective as possible."
In the North Island, Government has funded the treatment of high-risk
hives moving to pollination and boundary areas to minimise spread. Provision
has also been made for another round of treatment of known infected
hives this coming autumn.
Mr Sutton said that the boundary still ran from Taranaki to East Cape, but the current line had been revised, after extensive consultation with the beekeeping industry, including three mediation meetings between beekeepers from different regions.
The revised boundary would minimise impacts on beekeepers, but still give protection to the southern North Island. Movement permitting conditions were being re-drafted, and surveillance would continue to track the spread of varroa into previously uninfested areas of the North Island.
Mr Sutton said it was vital that beekeepers be given the skills to deal with varroa, and the Government had funded a 2-year extension programme of workshops, field days and other activities to ensure beekeepers had the knowledge necessary.
The Government had approved funding to produce a book about managing beehives with varroa under New Zealand conditions. He said Cabinet had approved $500,000 available for varroa-specific research immediately, and the door was open for further research funding if it could be justified.
The National Beekeepers Association has been granted $20,000 a year for 2 years, so it can purchase technical advice, as part of the cooperative approach between industry and Government which has been a feature of the varroa response.
Office of Hon Jim Sutton – Minister for Agriculture, New Zealand
Sexy Scents Control Pests
Ninety per cent of chemical insecticides have been eliminated from commercial orchards, according to CSIRO research.
“Around 90% of Australia’s commercial stone fruit growers now use the pheromone method to disrupt the mating of insects,” says CSIRO entomologist, Dr Richard Vickers.
Insects such as the oriental fruit moth are guided to their mates by chemical sex attractants, called pheromones, released by the opposite sex.
Scientists identify the unique pheromone for the insect pest they want to control and the amount of pheromone needed to disrupt mating or to entice moths into traps for monitoring.
The pheromone is loaded into different types of tubing, which can either be tied to orchard trees or placed in simple traps often made from milk or orange juice cartons coated with a sticky substance.
As the pheromone permeates through the walls of the tubing it is carried on air currents through the orchard. “The male either becomes confused and doesn’t know which direction to turn for the female, or he becomes desensitised to the lower levels of pheromones naturally given out by the female and has no incentive to mate with her,” Dr Vickers said.
“Although it is still not clear how mating disruption actually works, the male moths don’t find the females, they don’t mate and any eggs the female lays are infertile.”
There are a number of advantages in using pheromones to disrupt mating, especially with many insect pests becoming more resistant to pesticides.
“When peach growers moved over to mating disruption as a method of controlling oriental fruit moth, they found that another pest, the two-spotted mote, was no longer a problem,” he said.
Natural enemies of the mite were able to control this pest as well, according to Dr Vickers.
Locust Management Advice
Broken Hill Region
APLC officers will begin aerial control in the region (commencing in
Wilcannia) shortly – if weather permits.
The office of the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council will be closed for the Christmas break from 22nd December 2000 until 2nd January 2001.
As this publication is the final one for the year, may we take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.
Animal Health Australia
Animal Health Australia (AHA) has reported that the draft Deed of Agreement
is well advanced, with only a few key matters needing resolution.
The Taskforce therefore agreed that:
Industries will still need to meet the Commonwealth’s Levy Guidelines as part of the groundwork to the introduction of a new levy or the modification of an existing levy mix.
David Bateman – Animal Health Australia
Change of Date Apimondia 2001 – Important Notice
The United Nations’ High commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Mary Benson, announced on 24th October 2000 in New York that South Africa had been appointed host country for the 2001 WORLD CONFERENCE AGAINST RACISM, DISCRIMINATION AND ZENOPHOBIA. This Conference will take place at the Durban International Convention Centre. The Convention Centre is booked by the UN for the period 17th August to 10th September 2001. This mega conference event will be attended by 12,000 delegates and 193 heads of government plus their personal entourage (including personal assistants, body guards, chefs, private aircraft and motor vehicles) bringing to more than 20,000 the total number of people who would be involved. As you will note, these dated clash head-on with the planned activities for Apimondia 2001.
We, as the Congress Organisers for Apimondia 2001 were requested by the South African Government to investigate the possibility of re-scheduling the Apimondia Congress in order to ensure that this very important World Congress can be accommodated. In consultation with Asger Jorgenson (President of Apimondia, Denmark) and Riccardo Jannoni-Sebastianini (Secretary-General for Apimondia, Italy) and after many discussions, we decided that given the high priority and profile of the UN Racism Conference, it would be in the best interest to move the Apimondia congress to a later date.
We accept that this change could cause inconvenience. We apologise for this in advance, but now we must look forward and start again with renewed enthusiasm to make this forced change beneficial to the Apimondia Congress and the beekeeping community internationally. The revised date now falls outside the South African and African honey harvesting season as well as at the end of the apple and pear pollination season, we expect greater local and regional participation, it is also expected to benefit our northern hemisphere beekeeping colleagues, as they would have finished their winter preparations.
WE INVITE YOU TO ATTEND THIS MAJOR BEEKEEPING EVENT WHICH WILL TAKE PLACE FROM 28TH OCTOBER TO 1ST NOVEMBER 2001 AT THE DURBAN INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION CENTRE, SOUTH AFRICA
Contact details: Congress organising secretariat, Cilla Taylor, (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dr Adriaan de Toit
Goods and Services Tax (GST)
AHBIC has received correspondence from Mr Chris Turnbull, the Australian Taxation Offices (ATO) Tax Reform Business Education and Communication (TRBEC) representative on the Primary Production Industry Partnership. He is looking at ways that the partnership can best help you and the ATO now that the first Quarterly Activity Statements have been completed. He would like to see the Primary Production Industry Partnership develop the ability to prepare businesses for the continuing changes ahead, so would like some comments from you about what you may require.
Chris is looking for feedback from you, along with anecdotal evidence, about the issues faced by businesses with the first Quarterly Activity Statements. He would also like to hear of the concerns anyone may have with the upcoming Business Tax Reform issues, along with what education activities you would like to see from the ATO to help in the transition. If you have any ideas or recommendations for the Industry Partnership please let him know those as well.
The PP Newsletter No.9 is now available on the Tax Reform Website at www.taxreform.ato.gov.au.
For further details or to make your comments, please contact Chris Turnbull direct.
CROP, STOCK AND COMMITTEE REPORTS
Crop Report – South Australia
Locust spraying is continuing. In areas where there is a risk of locust “Flyins” beekeepers have been reminded that if they haven’t already advised the district councils the section number or GPS reading of where their apiaries are situated, to do so as soon as possible. In the south east of the state, concern has been expressed regarding the large number of hives brought in for pollination of dryland and irrigated lucerne in the Keith area, so a web site has been set up showing where the apiaries are in the hope that anyone carrying out any spraying will consult the map for the whereabouts of bees.
During the next week it is expected there will be significant numbers of locusts capable of flight, present in all the northern agricultural districts. PIRSA will treat an increasing number of swarms during the coming weeks in an effort to prevent their southerly flight. Many beekeepers are concerned – just where can they go to be safe from the spraying of locusts?
West Coast (Upper): Black mallee yielding well, prospects for some Euc.socialis which has patchy budding. Tea tree is putting on growth.
West Coast (Lower): Euc.incrassata has been producing but small honey loads are the only benefit. Euc.socialis and sugar gum patchy. The poorer grade honeys such as Manuka and broom bush will sustain bees until mid January.
South East (Upper): There was a slow start to the Jane yield, but yielding well now with improved weather conditions. Some dryland lucerne is starting to flower.
South East (Lower): Canola is just starting to flower. Some crops that were sown late due to the wet conditions are not starting to flower yet.
Kangaroo Island: Port Lincoln mallee and bottle brush flowering well. There is some narrow leaf but has a patchy flowering. Canola has finished. Broom bush is well budded and about to burst and sugar gum and stringy bark look promising. Cup gum has large numbers of small buds on it, earlier than has been seen before. Last season was very poor – this season has good prospects.
Riverland: Bees remaining in the Riverland area are being sustained by some ground flora pollens.
Northern (Upper): Blue gum has almost finished. Jane is still yielding following useful rain. Beekeepers in this area have been the most affect from the impact of locusts so far.
Northern (Lower): Blue gum and Jane are yielding when weather conditions are conducive.
Barossa: Jane has nearly finished, patchy blue gum is producing when the weather is suitable. Peppermint is growing. Off year for red gum.
Central: No prospects from now to early summer. Pollination of apples, pears and cherries has completed, strawberry pollination ongoing.
Crop Report – New South Wales
Heavy rain has not been good for honey production with green mallee and paterson’s curse. They were yielding well but it came to a halt with all the rain.
Stringy bark has shed a lot of bud with all the rain but is still holding fair bud. The prospect of mugga ironbark in the autumn is looking bright with the increased rain. Inland bloodwood is also looking to be a prospect.
Stock Report – New South Wales
Very little change with honey still in short supply but this should change with the onset of hot weather.
Resource Report – Queensland
At the AHBIC AGM I asked if we could get the National Wilderness Inventory Criteria for wilderness quality. The reason for that request was that during the SEQ RFA assessment, the Wilderness Society was very keen to have some areas declared wilderness. Their representative claimed that the government was using level 14 criteria and this was too high to get any areas made into wilderness. They wanted a lower level criteria used, at the very most level 12. At the next wilderness workshop, people from the National Wilderness Inventory gave a talk on level 12, (if I remember correctly, 8000 hectares in extent, remote from human habitation, no major infrastructure and some other things). If State Resource Chairmen have copies of the criteria, when conversation groups call for an area to be made into wilderness areas, we can ask what criteria they are using and have an idea what they are talking about. The Wilderness Society said of an area in Queensland, that if the roads were ploughed up and the area fenced to stop all access, then it would become pristine wilderness in two or three thousand years.
On other issues, the State Government has purchased a property south of Gatton and will be turning it into a multi use reserve. We hope this will include beekeeping. Trevor Weatherhead and I, together with two beekeepers who know the area, went with an officer of the EPA to assess the potential for beekeeping sites. This assessment, and other use assessments will be considered in deciding the uses of the area. The Government appears likely to buy another property soon, and will probably do similar assessments there.
I have had a meeting with Aila Keto to progress the issue of our access to all areas of the SEQ RFA area. She is drawing up some options for our access to take to the Queensland Conservation Council and wants me to go with her to put the options to them. Their main concern at the moments seems to be ‘visual amenity’. Sites on fire trails and other areas with little or no general public access, would not affect this. Two of the options she is drawing up are: - making the apiary sites Resource Reserves and changing the Nature Conservation Act to make beekeeping a permitable activity in National Parks. She said that when she mentioned this idea to a senior EPA officer he seemed aghast at the idea. He may just have been flabbergasted to hear her suggest such an idea. Two years ago she would have probably been aghast at the idea herself. I remain optimistic, as many things are possible with patience and diligence.
Crop Report And Stock Position - Queensland
Good rainfall over coastal areas during November may well give honey producers hope for summer and autumn crops. The key to success is going to be the availability of pollen for hives to rebuild their populations. Rain may have come just in time. Like most of Australia daytime temperatures remain up to 6 degrees Celsius below average - another factor affecting crop development.
There are reports of good budding on small areas of Narrow Leaved Ironbark, growth on River Coolibah, growth on Brush Box and Brown Box. Weeds have germinated and may give some honey and pollen. The Channel Country, for those few who stayed and braved the ants, has yielded well from Bimble Box, Black Box and Red Gum. Heavy rain has made properties impassable and may have washed out the crops. Inland Bloodwood may also be a prospect.
Rain is always welcome and the bush in the south east came alive after the rain with gums, smooth barked apple ground flora all breaking into flower - a little warmth and there could well be some honey to rob. Queensland beekeepers will be hoping for a lucky break, though a wet summer is now being forecast.
Honey stocks remain low.
Crop Report – Western Australia
Beekeepers have enjoyed a very good spring honey flow, with above average crops in most regions. The long move to the Goldfields have seen beekeepers reporting mixed views now they are starting to work the flow - the expectation of a big honey crop may not happen, but with little else it will still prove profitable.
Crop Report – Tasmania
Hives in the far north west and north are doing very well on ti tree and peppermint respectively. There are still some areas needing sugar feeds and areas in the south will be looking to prickly box which is just beginning. One or two patches of cape weed responded as the weather improved.
Pollination contracts have been almost completed in the south 2-3 weeks earlier than usual. Most of October, weather conditions were poor, resulting in late queen breeding, however, early November has seen a change of fortune with unusual very warm weather accompanied by enough rain to keep prospects for ground flora honey (clover and blackberry) very positive.
All beekeepers in Tasmania are heading for a very busy period. The leatherwood trees are looking very healthy with lots of growth. This very warm weather may cause them to flower early.
Apparently there remains unsold quantities of leatherwood honey in Tasmania as some earlier sales prospects did not eventuate. One packer reports stocks at an all time low and eagerly awaits early production.