When are the rumors and information going to start about almond pollination?
When are the rumors and information going to start about almond pollination?
Clear Lake Wi. / Sebring Fl.
They are predicting another shortage.
that's my prediction.
[size="1"][ August 17, 2006, 06:56 PM: Message edited by: AstroZomBEE ][/size]
With more acreage coming on, and drought and mites haveing an effect,I predict your prediction of the prediction may be true!
Wheres Rob Harrison at? Are they going to get that darn SHB situation taken care of?
Clear Lake Wi. / Sebring Fl.
I have been hearing of huge numbers of beekeepers thinking of California this year. Putting bees in every spare box. Some even using honey supers (6 5/8) as the top box to get numbers of hives up.
Honey crops are the poorest in years in many areas.
However the bees (my own hives) in the Midwest drought areas have went down to very small clusters. Most of us are worried if we can get the two brood cycles in needed to winter.
As for California the same rules will apply (especially if a glut of hives).
Hives will be graded as last year and those deemed not strong enough by the broker standards will be rejected. Read your contract fine print carefully!
California still has the SHB rules in place. Out of state beekeepers are again "asleep at the wheel" and willing to try and take their chances at the border rather than change the border rules.
Certain California beekeepers have been putting pressure on the state of California to enforce the SHB "last year rules" to include all entry points. What worked last year might not work this season guys!
(opps I was not supposed to let the cat out of the bag).
Pass the word!
Some California beekeeper/brokers are planing articles this fall about what a gold mine almond pollination will be this year.
Maybe 2007 will be but I will assure you guys none of us can say for sure what will happen. If a glut of hives then a repeat of 2006 will happen. If a shortage then standards will drop.
Bees pulled from snow banks in january in the Midwest will NOT meet the last years grading standards.
After I stuck my neck out and wrote of the troubles in 2006 and have written the ways to protect your interests if you get burned then too bad.
For many outfits 2006 honey production has been the worst year ever. Several are closing the doors and the others are going to California for the gold. Three large outfits are relocating to california.
I was caught off guard by the over supply of bees last year in almonds but predict an over supply for this year due to the poor honey crops (which is rapidly driving up the price of honey).
Beekeepers are building pallets and buying forklifts.
Joe Traynor will be speaking about almond pollination and the related issues at the Oregon State Beekeepers Association Fall conference.
For more info on the conference go to www.orsba.org
Click on EVENTS.
Maybe I'll see you there.
I have exactly ONE hive more than you.
That makes my opinion beyond question.
As of a couple weeks ago, the biggest broker of almond pollination bees foresaw strong prices due to:
1)60,000 new acres will need 60,000 new hives.
2) 40,000 Australian packages last year were a disaster, that won't be repeated.
3)drought in the midwest will stress and collapse many bees that would have goen.
He sees Paramount probably paying $130.
Joe Traynor is charging $150.00 for premium hives.
How many beeks were burnt last year and will decide not to go out again?
[size="1"][ August 18, 2006, 06:43 PM: Message edited by: JohnK and Sheri ][/size]
Do they think the shb knows not to cross the county line. I don't see how any restriction onto where hives with shb can be unloaded will help anybody.
I can start to understand the fireant issues. Fireants can be dealt with if you are prepared ahead of time.
What is "premium hives"? Ten frames of bees?
Last year was our first year in a decade sending bees to CA. it took a lot of preperation, checking the bees and eliminating any ants but,
we didn't have any problems. Only one carpenter ant found on one out of four loads.
We are going again this year as long as it looks the same.
Yes, we are going too, gluttons for punishment I guess.
They already have fireants and shb in California, it is a bit like locking the barn door after the horse is out.
The border authorities, if they want to enforce those rules, need more education as to what the pests in question look like, and what the proper procedure is. Hopefully things will be more consistant this year than last, so everyone knows what to expect. Carpenter ants were enough to cause problems at some crossings last year.
We didn't have any trouble at the border either, but we went in early, had everything out there by December before things really got crazy. Our trucks were also inspected prior to leaving Wisconsin and the border authorities honored our inspection certificates. Hopefully they do the same this year.
I think they are defining "premium" as 8 frames, but here again, consistancy would help all involved. Perhaps being paid by the frame would be an equitable solution. But then, who counts, when, etc?
Paramount might not get any bees. Lots of upset California beekeepers over the orange issue.
Whoever said the Australian package bees was a disaster does not have a clue (unless he/she is a broker putting out the BS growers will not buy for pollination).
Plenty beeks got burned last year. Don't worry as it always happens to the other guy! Right!
I spent a couple hours tonight on the phone with beeks about last years almond pollination. One still has not got all his money and his bees have been back since April. Another has never been paid for two semi loads.
However several of the largest brokers have placed bees in almonds (four frame average) and paid promtly but most are slow pay.
Choose your broker carefully!
I have never used a broker. Dealt with the grower directly. half the money when the hives are placed and the other half when removed. Same as every other pollination we do!
"no worries mate"
You may be right about Paramount. It would be a little awkward placing hives with a grower who threatened to sue you.
Do you really think there will be a repeat of the Australian package imports? With the costs of the packages, what would be the net gain?
Yes, lots of beeks got burned. I know one from our area that hung up his smoker. I think some that got burned last year will say the heck with California almonds, it isn't worth the risk. It is a calculated risk for sure and everyone better go in with their eyes open. That said, it is pretty tough to make a living in bees nowadays without going the pollination route and there will be lots of beeks willig to take the risk.
Doesn't sound like you think too much of brokers. We have dealt with a broker for the past 4 years, and have always gotten paid. This year one of the growers did not pay so we are still owed a couple thousand dollars. If we had booked that grower ourselves we would be out for the entire amount in default. As it is the risk is spread out over all of the units handled by our broker, so none of us face a potentially crippling financial blow from an unscrupulous or bankrupt grower.
I agree one must be careful choosing a broker, but I also think it is unrealistic to think all the bees from Wisconsin (or Florida or Kansas or New York) can be booked directly with the grower. Some beeks that thought they could do that last year didn't get placed at all. Between ours and the other beeks we go out to CA with, we have close to 10000 hives. I certainly wouldn't want to have to try to place that many or coillect that kind of money. I'll let someone whos been doing it for years and knows who is reputable.
In the end, it all comes down to supply and demand. There are lots of factions trying to tilt the scales in their favor. It will be interesting to see how it all works out.
Where does one find a broker with a good reputation?
darn... a fellow just can't find an honest pimp.... I mean broker anymore.
seems like to me if a broker was earning his pay then he should be taking the risk and doing the leg work required for collection of payment for services rendered. if the settelment of the contract was above board and all parties were treated equally then the net effect would be compensation for the bee keeper much like mr harrison suggested (50% on the way in and 50% on the way out). Any bankruptcy or financial failure should logically be handled by a workmen's lien in the lower courts which would place the broker's compensaton(for services rendered) in front of the the mortgage lien holder.
sure sounds like to me that the contract envolved has been written up with only one side (growers) present at the table. sounds not so much like a negotionation as a quasi legal shake down. since we have a shark..... I mean lawyer or two on board it would seem to me the first reasonable thing to do would be to let then take a hard and dirty look at the contents of the document.
The broker, in our case, basically self-insures. Why pay an insurance company to spread the risk when you are big enough to spread it yourself? We only pay when we need to. We only pay our 'insurance policy' if there is a loss.
1/2 the money IS collected on placement, but once the service is delivered there might be a little foot dragging on the final payment. Most growers are reputable, plus they certainly know they will need bees next year, so they pay in a timely manner. In our case, there is one grower who has been slow with final payment. He is not insolvent, to my understanding, just paying isn't his number one priority. Our contract DOES contain a lien but this takes time to pursue. In the meantime, we are only waiting for $1 per hive, not $120 per hive. This IMO is the most important benefit of a broker.
Another risk that is being shared is for the occasional theft of entire loads of bees. The thief will pick them up, haul them to a different grower, negotiate a fee undercutting the going price for a quick placement, collect the customary 1/2, then disappear. Those bees may or may not ever find their way home, probably not. There is an entire industry growing up around trying to prevent theft and tracking the hives if they "go walking". Last year one of the beeks had a truckload stolen. All of the beeks with this broker had a small amount withheld to compensate this unfortunate beek. Small price to pay to limit one's risk of 400+ hives disappearing.
In addition to taking care of all the placement/ contract/security/collection issues our broker accepts our trucks at his holding yards and unloads them. He eventually puts them into the orchards and when they are finished takes them back out. Finally, he loads our bees back up, nets them and sends them home. Theoretically we would not have to go to CA at all. Of course, all of this is for a fee, but we consider it worth it.
He is well compensted for his efforts but earns every penny, imo.
If I were thinking of taking bees to CA I would read everything I could get my hands on. Ask other beeks how they did it; if they used a broker, who they went with and their experience with them. Talk to the brokers, ask for references, and follow up on them, but if it is like last year, it is a broker's market, they had beeks beating down their doors looking to place hives.
Last year some of the established brokers quit taking new hives as the surplus developed. There sprung up new brokers to fill this void who may or may not have been competent, I won't even go into ethics. I suspect some of the problems were related to some of these new brokers, stepping into a more volitile than normal market.
As for it being a 'shake-down', the growers would tell you the beeks did the shaking down the year before when the price sky-rocketed in one year. Supply was limited so it was a beeks market. Last year was just the opposite. With bees from all over congregating in CA. the growers got picky and changed the rules. This is market dynamics at work, sometimes it can be messy.
Which will it be this year? Time will tell.
The 40,000 packages sent in from Australia are almost a non issue in the discussion. Many are used to boost commercial beeks hives to get into almonds and replace deadouts. A percentage are certainly placed as hived. Due to the availability of flights out of Sidney Australian packages are (and will most likely stay) at peak levels. 40,000 is about max unless new flights are added.
U.S. package producers can not provide packages at the time needed. I know because I asked before Australian imports ever happened. Hawaii was asked about providing package bees for almond pollination but Gus said he was not interested.
I am surprised by U.S. queen producers not being able to supply queens when need. We were forced to buy a lot of 500 queens from Australia because U.S. queen producers could not provide the last week of April. We spent several hours calling.
First time we could not get queens in the U.S. when needed. You can blame us or realize we are in a competitive business simply trying to survive.
Many U.S. commercial beeks today came from hobby and sideline ranks. You need to start running like a business instead of like a hobby. Get an almond contract and do not put your head on the chopping block! Do not gamble with money you can not afford to lose. If you need money as soon as almond pollination is over tell the broker and grower so. Put in writing.
We need to tear down the BS which is around the commercial beekeeping industry today. Wake up beekeepers.
NAFTA will allow Mexican beekeepers access to almond pollination if we can not provide the service! Lawyers say a couple years is about all the longer the gate can be held shut!
NAFTA (shafta) is not going to protect beekeepers! Just the opposite!
Then some U.S. beekeepers will move their beekeeping operations south of the border. You can hire 4-5 commercial beekeepers in Mexico for the same money as one in the U.S.. Not rocket science!
I predict the Canada border will open within the next couple years and give Canada acess to almonds when the hive shortage crunch becomes the most severe. 2008 and on! 250,000 hives in BC alone.
If not almond growers will look to Mexican hives.
(enough hives to do the complete almond pollination in Mexico I have been told although now are widely spread out over the country.
The almond industry has more clout than the U.S. beekeeping industry and deeper pockets! The almond growers are going to find bees. Do not kid yourselves!
Those California beeks thinking things will stay the same in California almond pollination are dreaming. The dream of getting rich in California almond pollination by beekeepers will keep beekeepers coming. The unprepared will get took just like the unprepared did in the gold rush days!
The almond situation can change quickly from year to year. As seen in 2006 almond pollination.
Get a signed contract. Bring your best bees. Leave the "dinks" at home! Get the contract signed by both you and the broker/almond grower and GET a copy. Those (for the most part) burned beeks have not had contracts. My brother is a lawyer and he is amazed beekeepers would even consider an out of state pollination for six figure numbers without a contract. Stupid is the word he used!
Agriculture is (and always has been) a risky business.
I have woke up many out of state beekeepers with my articles. I have made many friends and have got a few people which wish I would drop the subject. The unprepared are easy prey. The majority of brokers I believe are honest people but the few ripping beeks off are casting a shadow over all brokers.
Maybe the brokers should unit and revoke membership of brokers with histories of ripping beeks off. Then beekeepers would have a reliable place to search for a broker?
One of the beeks which I spoke of which has not recieved all his money also had hives stolen ( 44 ). brand all equipment (boxes & tops) if going to California. Especially mark ID on frames (rubber stamp is what i do). We have had frames stolen every year in almonds.
As Sheri said "eyes wide open" if going to California almond pollination and you should do fine.
Bob and all:
If the crop is so short in the U.S.A. , what are the prices of honey at and just what do your crystal balls forecast? I'm finally in a situation where I do not have to sell my crop immediately and wonder if I should hang on to it for awhile. I think that prices should and will go up but I'd like to hear from others.
I think you have been the greatest educational force out there re the almond situation.
I certainly hope you don't 'drop the subject'. It is dangerous out there even if you know what you are doing, and many folks don't. Everything you say about the future of pollination is all too true!
The brokers outing the disreputable actors is a great idea. A central source of approved brokers would be a great benefit, as long as they aren't afraid to police their own.
We too had trouble buying queens, the weather wasn't great for them and demand was up. Some of the queens we managed to get were subpar. I don't think we were the only outfit to decide to start producing more of our own.
As for the hive equipment theft, we have been lucky, but for one small incidence. When putting boxes together this spring we came across a box that had two frames from which the comb had been cut. Some poor sap just wanted a little honey, I guess. Do you think he knows to this day that he got two frames mostly full of corn syrup?
There are about 50 000 beehives BC. I'm guessing 20 000 in commercial outfits. The rest are in sidline or hobbyist hands. There are many hobbyists here. Alberta has 250 000 hives with the vast majority being in the hands of commercial beekeepers. Many of these hives pollinate hybrid canola. So I suppose that it would not be a big stretch to put those same hives on highway trucks and go to almonds. However I think many are happy with the relationship they have with the seed companies and do not want to risk that for almonds. If the border opens then american hives could pollinate
those canola frields. Many Canadians would not want to risk that. I'm not sure that the seed companies would want to risk hiring a large percentage of non local beehives. Timing and placing the hives is so critical and the difficulty increases with out of town beekeepers.
In any event the almond growers will find bees, that I'm sure of. With the funny business going on contracts seem like a wise approach.
What has always amazed me in beekeeping are the reports I've read about pollination prices in the USA. It seems like there is always a guy willing to do it for less and somehow that becomes the benchmark price. To my eyes it seems to be like chinese honey. No matter what the price is on the world market the chinese will always sell it for less. In pollination some guy will always do it for less and make it tough to get a fair price for the rest. Other than the last couple of years in almond pollination, the rest of it makes me think, why bother?