Beekeepers are reporting likely price increases and supply shortages for leatherwood and manuka honey later this year.

Unseasonably wet weather in February 2017 hit leatherwood production in Tasmania, whilst unsuitable conditions have also been blamed for a poor Manuka honey harvest in New Zealand.

News of the poor Manuka honey harvest in New Zealand emerged prior to the release of the latest 6 months profit results for leading Manuka honey product, Comvita.

Comvita is a publicly listed company, and is required to keep the Stock Exchange informed of any developments likely to affect its share price.

So when it became obvious earlier this year that the NZ Manuka harvest was likely to be poor, the company released a statement on the 23rd of January saying “[T]he 2017 honey season is likely to be significantly impacted by prolonged and unfavourable weather conditions”.

CEO Scott Coulter said that its apiaries were likely to see a 60% shortfall, and that “the whole industry is experiencing one of the most difficult production seasons for many years.”

He forecast a reduced profit for the year to June 2017, a forecast which was re-iterated when the Comvita released its latest results on the 21st of February.

“This was an exceptionally poor harvest [right] across the country” he said.

Poor weather conditions have also severely affected the Tasmanian leatherwood honey harvest this year.

Tasmanian Beekeepers Association President, Lindsay Bourke, told ABC Online that the wet weather in Febvruary had had a major impact on honey production levels..

"Terrible weather, especially through February, has been absolutely disastrous for commercial honey producers.” he said.

Bourke said that Tasmanian producers would struggle to fill orders this year and prices of honey would go up.

Separately, Bourke told the Tasmanian Mercury that overall production this year will be down by at least a third across the state.

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