The money's in honey

The money's in honey... if you're a big bee

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HONEY MONEY: An ABARES survey report reveals beekeeping profits generally increased with the scale of operations in 2014-15, however, average profits were negative for those with less than 200 hives.

HONEY MONEY: An ABARES survey report reveals beekeeping profits generally increased with the scale of operations in 2014-15, however, average profits were negative for those with less than 200 hives.

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Although the Australian honey industry has grown, smaller beekeepers are finding it tough.

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BEEKEEPERS  in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales are doing better financially than their other state counterparts, according to a new survey report.

But like many agriculture industries, the larger producers are in an overall healthier position when it comes to returns.

Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) research found the honey and pollination industries in some states are healthier than others.​ 

The report found beekeeping businesses have a cash income average of $70,400.

Acting assistant secretary of ABARES’ agricultural productivity and farm analysis branch, David Galeano, said the report’s survey results show the honeybee industry is an important sector of the Australian economy, with the gross value of production estimated at $101 million in 2014–15.

“The industry survey found that the majority of beekeeping income came from honey sales (85 per cent of cash receipts) in 2014–15," Mr Galeano said.

“Paid pollination came in second (11pc of receipts) and was conducted by around 44pc of beekeepers in 2014–15.

There was a sting in the report for smaller beekeepers though.

“Beekeeping profits generally increased with the scale of operations in 2014-15. However, average profits were negative for those with less than 200 hives," Mr Galeano said. 

“The report analysed use of public lands and found most honey produced came from non-agricultural private land (39pc) or public land (39pc), with 23pc from agricultural land.

“Larger businesses were more likely to derive a greater proportion of total honey produced from public land.

“The proportion of beekeepers and the value of payments received were higher in areas that produced large amounts of bee-pollination dependent crops, such as almonds and cherries.

“Seventy per cent of beekeepers identified drought as a challenge to honey production, and 50pc indicated that the use of agricultural chemicals negatively impacted floral resources available, which impacts their honey production. 

In terms of biosecurity, the most common disease and pest affecting beekeepers were chalkbrood and the small hive beetle, and the greatest financial impacts were caused by the small hive beetle and American foulbrood.

The Australian honey bee industry report was developed through analysis of beekeeping financial and physical performance data collected from beekeeping businesses, as part of the 2016 ABARES Australian Honey Bee Industry Survey

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