15 Feb 2012

Poor season for manuka honey

8:05 am on 15 February 2012

Manuka is going to be in short supply this year after poor flowering conditions in the main North Island production areas.

The National Beekeepers Association says cooler, wet weather during spring and early summer is responsible.

President Barry Foster who is from Gisborne - one of the affected areas - says the major manuka honey production areas of Northland, Coromandel and the East Coast will be "quite a bit down".

He says in some cases production has been patchy, in others reasonable and in others again "very poor to poor".

However, Mr Foster says the damp humid weather and the warmth has meant the bees have been busy working clover and pasture species and it is a good season for those honeys.

He says South Island beekeepers have also had an excellent year. With more sun and warmth, clover and other honey crops such as rata have done well.

"And so their export season is going very well and they're looking pretty good."

Manuka is New Zealand's top-earning honey variety.