Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Beekeepers eschew kiwifruit orchards as sprays create hazard

Beekeepers eschew kiwifruit orchards as Psa sprays create ‘hazard’

By Jonathan Underhill

Jan. 4 (BusinessDesk) – Some beekeepers have pulled their hives out of kiwifruit orchards, concerned that sprays used to control the Psa vine-wilting bacteria are the latest hazard for an under-siege bee population.

“More than one beekeeper has withdrawn their hives,” said John Hartnell, honey exporter and bees spokesman at Federated Farmers. He wouldn’t put his own hives on a kiwifruit orchard, saying “that would destroy my business overnight.”

Former Green MP Sue Kedgley cites an unnamed Bay of Plenty beekeeper in a New Zealand Herald column as saying he had recently lost 230 of his beehives - half his operation. That beekeeper said he suspects a “cocktail” of pesticides and chemicals used in many kiwifruit orchards is to blame. Some desperate growers may even be using illegal chemicals to try to save their vines.

New Zealand has some 430,000 hives which contribute some $5 billion to the economy by way of pollinating crops, according to figures cited by Fed Farmers.

The bees are under threat from the Varroa mite and the more recently arrived Nosema ceranae disease, meaning New Zealand is missing only two of the four vectors that are likely to cause so-called colony collapse disorder. Australia has them – European foulbrood and Israeli acute paralysis virus – which is why local beekeepers oppose imports of Australian honey. In turn, Australia is trying to keep out the Varroa mite.

“The pollination of kiwifruit is very important to our industry,” Hartnell said. Still, “some beekeepers say the risk is too great,” especially to the export Manuka honey crop.

The antibiotic spray called streptomycin can be used by kiwifruit growers to control Psa though an investigation by the Ministry for Primary Industries resulted in 45 orchards being warned for using it illegally, the Herald reported in August.

Barry O’Neill, chief executive of Kiwifruit Vine Health, which is leading the industry response to Psa, says streptomycin is used under strict controls including no spraying in the week up to and including flowering.

“Streptomycin has been used now for two seasons as a result of Psa and we’ve found no evidence of antibody residues in hives,” O’Neill said. A small percentage of beekeepers had elected to withdraw from servicing kiwifruit orchards, he said.

Growers have reported no shortage of hives yet and Hartnell says there are probably enough beekeepers whose main business is pollination, rather than export honey, who are happy to keep supplying the growers.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: RBNZ Keeps OCR At 3.5%, Signals Slower Pace Of Future Hikes

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 3.5 percent and signalled he won’t be as aggressive with future rate hikes as previously thought as inflation remains tamer than expected. The kiwi dollar fell to a seven-month low. More>>

ALSO:

Weather: Dry Spells Take Hold In South Island

Many areas in the South Island are tracking towards record dry spells as relatively warm, dry weather that began in mid-August continues... for some South Island places, the current period of fine weather is quite rare. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Productivity Commission To Look At Housing Land Supply

The Productivity Commission is to expand on its housing affordability report with an investigation into improving land supply and development capacity, particularly in areas with strong population growth. More>>

ALSO:

Forestry: Man Charged After 2013 Death

Levin Police have arrested and charged a man with manslaughter in relation to the death of Lincoln Kidd who was killed during a tree felling operation on 19 December 2013. More>>

ALSO:

Smells Like Justice: Dairy Company Fined Over Odour

Dairy company fined over odour Dairy supply company Open Country Dairy Limited has been convicted and fined more than $35,000 for discharging objectionable odour from its Waharoa factory at the time of last year’s ”spring flush” when milk supply was high. More>>

Scoop Business: Dairy Product Prices Decline To Lowest Since July 2012

Dairy product prices dropped to the lowest level since July 2012 in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, led by a slump in rennet casein and butter milk powder. More>>

ALSO:

SOE Results: TVNZ Lifts Annual Profit 25% On Flat Ad Revenue, Quits Igloo

Television New Zealand, the state-owned broadcaster, lifted annual profit 25 percent, ahead of forecast and despite a dip in advertising revenue, while quitting its stake in the pay-TV Igloo joint venture with Sky Network Television. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news