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Experts to buzz into region

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Former Maitland resident Bill Winner is proud to have been amongst the “all important food chain” for Australia and the world.

Mr Winner boasts almost 50 years’ experience in the beekeeping industry.

Honeybees contribute to about one third of Australia’s food supply chain through pollination.

More than 30 industries nationwide are dependent on honeybee pollination for most of their production.

Some of these include almonds, apples, pears and cherries, as well as high-value products like coffee and cocoa.

The total worth of pollination services from managed honeybees in Australia is estimated at more than $2 billion per year.

As a founder of the annual Tocal Beekeepers Field Day, Mr Winner will speak about the event’s history in its 40th year this Saturday 12 October.

He says the world has changed for beekeeping.

“The recognition of honeybees as vital to Australia and the world and the upsurge in recreational beekeepers has led to greater awareness and value of the industry,” he tells Newcastle Weekly.

“Honeybees are vital to things like almond pollination, with a dependency of more than 90%.

“North of Brisbane, within the last fortnight, bees have been taken out of macadamia farms, where they are vital, and moved on to avocado crops.

“We need a nursery of beekeepers who will replace the older ones and that’s why events like this one at Tocal are important.

“People go there to see what it’s all about and learn from experienced beekeepers so they can become part of the all-important food chain.”

The Tocal Beekeepers Field Day is the longest running event of its kind in Australia.

Experts in beekeeping will buzz into the Lower Hunter, including Dr Doug Somerville, who will launch a book based on more than 40 years’ experience in beekeeping and research.

Dr Michael Hornitzky, one of Australia’s leading scientists on the deadly honeybee broad disease –  American Foulbrood (AFB) – is also set to discuss its history in the country and the latest analysis techniques.

The free event, which will go from 9am to 4pm at Tocal Agricultural Centre, Paterson, also includes a trade show, demonstrations, and honey tastings.

Visit tocalfielddays.com for more information.

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