The days are getting shorter and cooler at night, however we could definitely do with a few more rainy days to help the plants get through.

There is talk around the nurseries of plant numbers and orders for the year ahead,  they’ve been busy potting up and prepping the re vegetation grade plants. Some  have been asking about high UMF Manuka, which seems to be the buzz over the last few seasons.

Looking at the bigger Manuka picture. There are many areas in NZ where Manuka grows naturally. The East cape, pockets of Northland and areas down in the Central Plateau. There are 100’s of thousands of acres of Manuka growing in the wild.

The marketing push behind Manuka, can lead you to believe that this may be an option to get rich quickly.  NativeAwa have been looking at the bigger picture. Sure we could take on the work and plant Manuka in mass numbers for you, however we like our clients to make informed decisions, your success is our success. We work with integrity, giving the very best advice – you won’t find any pitch from us isn’t genuine and doesn’t reflect what we’re about.

Refreshing isn’t it!

So, if you’d like Manuka as a retirement option, initially it will require heavy investment from you. Roughly 1 hive/ha returns 10%/$350 per hive. This will realistically take 4-5 years to start producing good quantities (14kg per hive) These figures don’t take into account the weather. If Mother Nature doesn’t play the game, the pollen which is produced will be primarily used to feed the bees. This is an accurate account of what has just occurred in the Coromandel this season.

Go into this with your eyes wide open, be prepared for the high and low seasons. Know that you’ll also be making a contribution towards long term environmental sustainability. As a general rule for re vegetation plantings we’d use 5000/ha and this requires a blend of plants. So offers such as 1100 plants per/ha for $2000 are very lite.   In time yes Manuka will fill the area, however in the meantime you will need to maintain the area  ($$$) and there will be a % of replacement plants required due to plant loss, which off course increases with less ground cover. So remember to look at the bigger picture and ask the question about maintenance and the estimated costs around this. Think long term.

We’ve done our homework, talking with the bee keepers, the bees need to and will stay in the area for longer if there are other plants that flower before and after the Manuka flowers.

A variety of plants blended with overall majority Manuka supports a wider biodiversity of birds and other insects.  Food for thought for those of you thinking of embarking down the Manuka Track.

Regards Robert

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