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

 

Major breakthrough for Mānuka farming initiative


A ground-breaking milestone could see more Hawke’s Bay farmers producing high-grade mānuka honey worth millions to the New Zealand economy.

Scientifically-bred mānuka cultivars planted on a 130 hectare trial site at Tūtira, Hawke’s Bay between 2011 and 2013 have produced their first crop of mānuka honey with an average Unique Mānuka Factor (UMF®) value of 7. One sample reached medical grade by exceeding UMF® 10.

The Tutira trial site is part of High Performance Mānuka Plantations, a Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme jointly funded between Mānuka Research Partnership (NZ) Limited (MRPL) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

“We believe the Tūtira site’s results using scientifically bred mānuka cultivars will be of considerable commercial interest to farmers and other owners of large parcels of land across New Zealand,” said Mānuka Farming New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen Lee.

“From starting out in 2011, our aim was to trial mānuka cultivars at different sites and environments across the country, to see how they grew and if they’d produce medical grade mānuka honey,” said Mr Lee.

“We completed the mānuka honey harvest in December 2017 just at the end of the mānuka flowering season and achieved a yield of 10.1 kg per hive with an average UMF® value of 7. This honey met the Ministry for Primary Industries’ scientific definition for monofloral mānuka honey.”

Mr Lee says this result is very encouraging.

“For the first year of production on this site, it is already producing high grade mānuka honey,” he said.

“One sample reached medical grade straight from the hive (minimum UMF® value of 10), while the others have the potential to achieve at least UMF® 10 during storage.

“A second honey harvest was taken a few months after the mānuka finished flowering – this was a multifloral honey. The combined value of the two honey harvests generated approximately $325 per hectare in gross income shared by the landowner and beekeeper.

“The gross income from honey will increase with higher honey yields and quality as the mānuka plantation grows to full maturity,” Mr Lee said.

Massey University research technician Maggie Olsen has been monitoring and managing the performance of the Tūtira site. She says the Tūtira results prove that the concept of farming mānuka for high-grade honey works when the right cultivars are selected for the site and the site is well managed.

She says it’s also important to have both good apiary practices in place and good collaboration amongst landowners, plantations managers and beekeepers to enhance the performance of sites.

“It’s a proof of concept. We all knew it should work, but this is where it has all come together. We’re really stoked with the results.”

Trial sites in Whanganui, Taranaki, Manawatu, Bay of Plenty and Southland have been part of the evaluation and monitoring programme.

Over the last three years 2.3 million high grade mānuka seedlings from Mānuka Farming New Zealand Ltd. have been established on commercial plantations covering over 2,000 hectares of properties from Northland to Marlborough, and from Taranaki to the East Coast.

Mr Lee says “The characteristics of the sites where these mānuka plantations were established varied, so it was critical they were assessed for the right cultivars, and then designed and prepared to optimise survival, growth, and ultimately honey production. Mānuka Farming New Zealand is well set up to do this for landowners.”

It’s important to take into account that the land used for mānuka is often environmentally vulnerable, and the efforts and costs in generating income from other land uses is often considerably more.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Catchment Services Manager Campbell Leckie said the trial results at Tūtira offer a sound solution to erosion on steep hill country land, while at the same time generating a new revenue stream.

“Hill country in northern Hawke’s Bay is highly erodible, which means loss of productive soil and poorer water quality in streams and rivers,” says Mr Leckie.

“The mānuka trial is ground-breaking for us. It takes an issue with the hills around Tūtira significantly affecting the lake, and turns it into a production solution,” adds Mr Leckie.

There are 96 commercial hives on the Tūtira plantation at present, which is still early in its establishment phase. More hives are likely to be added as the plantation matures, adding to the commercial returns.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Paymark: Lockdown Equals Slowdown For Some

The three days of lockdown for Auckland earlier this month made a clear impression on our retail spending figures. While only Auckland moved into Level 3 lockdown, the impact was felt across the country, albeit at different levels. Looking at the ... More>>

Infrastructure Commission: Te Waihanga Releases Report On Water Infrastructure

The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga’s latest discussion document highlights the importance of current reforms in the water sector. Its State of Play discussion document about water infrastructure is one of a series looking at the ... More>>

Sci-Tech: Perseverance Rover Lands On Mars – Expert Reaction

NASA has landed a car-sized rover on the red planet to search for signs of past life. The vehicle has more instruments than the four rovers preceding it, and it’s also carrying gear that could help pave the way for human exploration of Mars. The ... More>>

ALSO:


ASB: Quarterly Economic Forecast Predicts OCR Hike As Early As August 2022

Predictions of interest rate rises have been brought forward 12 months in ASB’s latest Quarterly Economic Forecast. Chief Economist Nick Tuffley now expects the RBNZ to begin raising the OCR from its current level of 0.25% as early as August ... More>>

ACT: Matariki Almost A Half Billion Dollar Tax On Business

“Official advice to the Government says an extra public holiday at Matariki could cost almost $450 million,” ACT Leader David Seymour can reveal. “This is a perfect example of the Prime Minister doing what’s popular versus what’s responsible. ... More>>

Genesis: Assessing 6,000 GWh Of Renewable Generation Options For Development By 2025

Genesis is assessing 6,000 GWh of renewable generation options for development after starting a closed RFP process with 11 partners. Those invited to participate offer a range of technologies as Genesis continues to execute its Future-gen strategy to ... More>>

OECD: Unemployment Rate Stable At 6.9% In December 2020, 1.7 Percentage Points Higher Than In February 2020

The OECD area unemployment rate was stable at 6.9% in December 2020, remaining 1.7 percentage points above the level observed in February 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the labour market. [1] In December, the unemployment rate was also stable ... More>>

Stats NZ: Unemployment Drops To 4.9 Percent As Employment Picks Up

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.9 percent in the December 2020 quarter, from 5.3 percent in the September 2020 quarter, Stats NZ said today. Last quarter’s unemployment rate of 5.3 percent followed the largest increase observed ... More>>