Beekeepers unable to meet crop pollination requirements as honey production at risk from sprays
Tasmanian Crop Pollinators Association president Julian Wolfhagen said plantings of fruit, seed, and grain crops were expanding, and pollinators were under pressure to meet the demand.
But he said hundreds of hives had been lost to agricultural chemical spray incidents with some reputable pollinators withdrawing to avoid the risk.
Mr Wolfhagen said Tasmanian apiarists were urging agricultural contractors and farmers to take extra care with chemicals which posed a risk to #bee health.
“That’s the biggest problem, the risk,” he said.
“We find our beekeepers … have abandoned #pollination.
“They’re just so sick of having hives severely reduced or eliminated altogether by spray.
“It has been an issue for such a long time, but because of this increased demand now for bee pollination, there’s been no real growth in the industry to meet those requirements.
“As I see it, we can’t cope without changing our business entirely, so there are some real issues.”
Mr Wolfhagen’s business, the Tasmanian Honey Company, had invested in additional hives and a new 360-square metre shed at Perth in Tasmania’s midlands district.
He said he felt a moral obligation to support the districts’ farmers with pollination services, but he also had a valuable honey market to supply which clashed with crop pollination.
“It’s a division now of establishing a separate management system,” Mr Wolfhagen said.
“We’re seeing growth in the cherry industry and lots more [growth] talked about and the blueberry industry is growing dramatically.
“In our area, we have clover seed which is beneficial for us, but most particularly it is carrot seed, canola … there’s been a huge growth in just about all of them.”