Nature played with the Manuka crop this year across much of New Zealand. After a very tepid flowering of the manuka during the 2016 summer (Jan-Mar), the flower during the 2017 summer was as strong as anyone can remember. Unfortunately, many areas of New Zealand did not get the warm weather needed to produce a nectar flow when they needed it. Reports in the industry include statements like “worst crop in 30 years”. Bees & TreesHoney and other beekeepers in the Taranaki region fared better than most, as a result of some good luck with the weather coupled with the strong flowering.
The Manuka on the North Island of New Zealand flowers earliest in Northland (Sept-Oct), then proceeds around the Island in a clockwise fashion, finishing in our region Taranaki. We typically flower starting in late December or very early January. The weather did not “come right”, as they say, this summer in much of New Zealand until about February. Fortunately for Taranaki beekeepers, the Manuka flowering was also 3-4 weeks late and came on strong in late January. Even our Taranaki summer weather was not great, but we did manage to eek out enough short strings (5-7 days) of sunny warm weather for the bees to get a halfway decent crop.