CENTRAL Victorian beekeepers are optimistic about the coming season after a tough five years has made it harder to run their farming businesses.
They've cited dry conditions, rainfall out of season and trees flowering at unusual times of the year as the cause.
Castlemaine beekeeper Peter McDonald said the dry conditions affected the flowering of eucalypt forests lowering the production of honey from commercial beekeeping.
Mr McDonald is also chairman of the Australian Honeybee Industry Council.
Beekeepers' incomes were down because of this, making it tougher to operate their farming business, he said.
"It's been probably the past three or four years it's been a bit haphazard in terms of the production," Mr McDonald said.
"Most of our honey gets produced from Eucalypt forests, and they're very spasmodic in their flowering patterns anyway.
"With the drought going on that's had an effect in terms of trees not having buds and not yielding honey when I guess they would."
Harcourt based beekeeper Matthew Carpenter runs DMC Honey.
The past few years have been so tough Mr Carpenter has been forced to go onto farm household assistance.
A dearth of pollen across Victoria and South Australia means Mr Carpenter hasn't been able to shift his hives in the search for pollen, as he would normally do.
"The trees haven't been doing what they've meant to be doing. Because we've had lack of rain, the pollen's not there," Mr Carpenter said.
"The rains have been out of sequence. We've been getting a bit more rain during the summer, and we've had a lack of rain during the winter.
"It's been a weird five years really. The trees have been flowering and sometimes not producing honey."
Read more: How a Kyneton woman plans to save the bees
But Mr Carpenter said this year looked really promising, the trees were "buttered up" and redgums looked like they would have a really good flow.
He's hoping to make a profit this year, so long as honey prices don't drop.
While consumer confidence in supermarket honey had taken a beating after recent contamination scandals, Mr Carpenter said his farm gate sales were up.
Ms McDonald said he was also optimistic about the outlook for the coming seasons.
"The prospects for this year are actually quite good at this time of year, but it will depend on the rainfall and the temperatures as we go into spring and summer," he said.
"We need some more rain now and general rain across the forested areas, and also as well, more rain in spring time, which is a decent amount of rainfall across the normal rainfall period."
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