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“More than one beekeeper has withdrawn their hives,” said John Hartnell, honey exporter and bees spokesman at Federated Farmers.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

 

Power Outages, Roads Close: Easter Storm Moving Down Country

The NZ Transport Agency says storm conditions at the start of the Easter break are making driving hazardous in Auckland and Northland and it advises people extreme care is needed on the regions’ state highways and roads... More>>

ALSO:

Houses (& Tobacco) Lead Inflation: CPI Up 0.3% In March Quarter

The consumers price index (CPI) rose 0.3 percent in the March 2014 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. Higher tobacco and housing prices were partly countered by seasonally cheaper international air fares, vegetables, and package holidays. More>>

ALSO:

Notoriously Reliable Predictions: Budget To Show Rise In Full-Time Income To 2018: English

This year’s Budget will forecast wage increases through to 2018 amounting to a $10,500 a year increase in average full time earnings over six years to $62,200 a year, says Finance Minister Bill English in a speech urging voters not to “put all of this at risk” by changing the government. More>>

ALSO:

Prices Up, Volume Down: March NZ House Sales Drop 10% As Loan Curbs Bite

New Zealand house sales dropped 10 percent in March from a year earlier as the Reserve Bank’s restrictions on low-equity mortgages continue to weigh on sales of cheaper property. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Chorus To Appeal Copper Pricing Judgment

Chorus will appeal a High Court ruling upholding the Commerce Commission’s determination setting the regulated prices on the telecommunications network operator’s copper lines. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

Cars: Precautionary Recalls Announced For Toyota Vehicles

Toyota advises that a number of its New Zealand vehicles are affected by a series of precautionary global recalls. Toyota New Zealand General Manager Customer Services Spencer Morris stressed that the recalls are precautionary. More>>

ALSO:

'Gardening Club': Air Freight Cartel Nets Almost $12 Million In Penalties

The High Court in Auckland has today ordered Swiss company Kuehne + Nagel International AG to pay a penalty of $3.1 million plus costs for breaches of the Commerce Act. Kuehne + Nagel’s penalty brings the total penalties ordered in this case to $11.95 million ... More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: Revenue Below Projections

Core Crown tax revenue has increased by $1.9 billion (or 5.0%) compared to the same time last year. However this was $1.1 billion less than expected and is reflected across most tax types, continuing the pattern of recent months. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news