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  1. #1
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    Dec 2004
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    Default Almond Pollination Factoid

    http://nebraskafarmer.com/index.aspx...35202&fpstid=2

    "Last year was the first time in U.S. history that beekeepers earned more income from moving their hives to California to pollinate almonds than from all the honey produced in the U.S."

    Joe
    http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/H...eybeeArticles/

  2. #2
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    May 2008
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    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
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    Default

    2000 hives to Calf @ 140 ea = $280,000. Minus 2000x $8 for yard in Calf. $16,000 Minus 2 pattie feedings @ 2 bucks ea $4000. Minus trucking 500 hives per truck @ 6k per load. equals $24,000. Shipping back 24k again. Misc. expeses...preps treatments, etc. another 4k. So total profit is about $208,000 or just a little over 100 bucks a hive.

    2000 hives produced 110 lbs average @ 1.35 per lb last year $297,000 minus about 65k in operating expenses $232,000.

    It's close, but honey is still the main money maker...as far as I can tell. It may be different for others.

  3. #3
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    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by alpha6 View Post
    Minus 2 pattie feedings @ 2 bucks ea .
    Alpha are those one or two pound patties?

  4. #4
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    May 2008
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    Fresno California USA
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    Default Almond pollination

    Sure looks good on paper!

  5. #5
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    Dec 2006
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    Sparta, Tennessee
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    Default

    A factoid is inaccurate or unverified information. I wonder if it's really true.

  6. #6
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    May 2008
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    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
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    Keith,

    I don't know I wasn't there....hmmmm you may be onto something.

    Family vacation to Calf to check out the status of the hives...8k.

  7. #7
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    Dec 2006
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    Amador County, Calif
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by alpha6 View Post
    Family vacation to Calf to check out the status of the hives...8k.
    Well, we sell it out here per mixed. if you ever need any out in Calif

  8. #8
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    May 2008
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    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
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    Default

    I don't know Keith...I need strong hives. What do you put in your Aunt Jamima patties anyway?

  9. #9
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    Dec 2004
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    Western Pennsylvania
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffzhear View Post
    A factoid is inaccurate or unverified information. I wonder if it's really true.
    I tend to stick with creditable sources when posting material, and I did with this post also.

    A good way to find out is to ‘read the article‘, and we find that:
    It is a quote from:
    Dr. Marion Ellis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln entomologist.
    http://entomology.unl.edu/faculty/ellis.shtml

    Joe

  10. #10
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    May 2008
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    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
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    Default

    The problem is that in the article they didn't post anything regarding how they obtained the information regarding to "Last year was the first time in U.S. history that beekeepers earned more income from moving their hives to California to pollinate almonds than from all the honey produced in the U.S."

    No facts to back it up. I personally would like to know how they came to that conclusion. One possible way was to calculate the total number of hives that were used in Calf. and the total poundage of honey. But that wouldn't give an accurate total either because I know many comm. beeks that sell up to 5% of their honey retail and not wholesale so you would have to figure that in.

    I am sure that Dr. Ellis is a fine person with outstanding credentials but the article still does not give any information to support this conclusion...not to say it doesn't exist, just that its not in the article so I can see where Jeffzhear is coming from.

  11. #11
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    Dec 2006
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    Amador County, Calif
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by alpha6 View Post
    I don't know Keith...I need strong hives. What do you put in your Aunt Jamima patties anyway?
    Well these craby patties have had some benefits.


    .http://s148.photobucket.com/albums/s...t=100_1432.jpg

  12. #12
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    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
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    3,670

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by alpha6 View Post
    2000 hives to Calf @ 140 ea = $280,000. Minus 2000x $8 for yard in Calf. $16,000 Minus 2 pattie feedings @ 2 bucks ea $4000. Minus trucking 500 hives per truck @ 6k per load. equals $24,000. Shipping back 24k again. Misc. expeses...preps treatments, etc. another 4k. So total profit is about $208,000 or just a little over 100 bucks a hive.

    2000 hives produced 110 lbs average @ 1.35 per lb last year $297,000 minus about 65k in operating expenses $232,000.

    It's close, but honey is still the main money maker...as far as I can tell. It may be different for others.
    Those figures do not include hive losses from the trip out in the fall and over wintering. It also does not include losses from inspectors from the orchard demanding you combine 2 or 3 together to get a minimum 6 to 8 to 10 frames of bees per hive in order for them to pay you for the service. And don't forget hive losses do to the trip back home. And, honey from almonds is bitter so no income from that at all, but what you do get is hive build up from the nectar and pollen.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  13. #13
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    Dec 2004
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    Western Pennsylvania
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    Quote Originally Posted by alpha6 View Post
    The problem is that in the article they didn't post anything regarding how they obtained the information regarding to "Last year was the first time in U.S. history that beekeepers earned more income from moving their hives to California to pollinate almonds than from all the honey produced in the U.S."
    Quote Originally Posted by alpha6 View Post
    But that wouldn't give an accurate total either because I know many comm. beeks that sell up to 5% of their honey retail and not wholesale so you would have to figure that in.
    Interesting comment, however I do not believe anything you say because you do NOT post anyting about how you obtained that information, especially the 5% comment. WE NEED FACTS AND FIGURES!!! Where did you get the 5% figure?

    Quote Originally Posted by alpha6 View Post
    I am sure that Dr. Ellis is a fine person with outstanding credentials
    I agree, and if you choose not to believe something Dr. Ellis says, then that’s your choice.

    Joe

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    central fla usa
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    63

    Exclamation

    If anything Nature your figure for costs of a cali trip are to low,so the cali profit would not be nearly as good as the honey.
    It took us a more than a tanker load of feed,plus new pallets ,because of the rules ,countless hours painting boxes, putting bee pallets on top of freight pallets to keep them clean, and away from "rifa" fire ants,and did i say countless hours and weeks of work in a period that would normaly be our relax before the run for the money honey season and other pollination.
    To top it all off, a buddy here, with about the same number of bees made a citrus honey crop which was about the same as my gross almond money.
    The only plus is when or if honey prices go back in the toilet, the pollination is steady, it was a very high stress time, but I will most likely do it again, but I have really ask myself if it's worth it, hey but the boxes look better and we're already ahead with new pallets this year.
    Yep alot of bees went out to the land of fruits and nuts but it's not easy money by no means, as for the statement of almonds vs honey production, I don't know if I so sure about that.
    Where there are fruits and nuts there are beekeepers!!!

  15. #15
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    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
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    Default pollination

    From what little I've seen it is safe to say that cash flow from pollination is more reliable than nectar flows for honey production.

  16. #16
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    Jul 2005
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    Perkasie, PA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by alpha6 View Post
    No facts to back it up. I personally would like to know how they came to that conclusion. One possible way was to calculate the total number of hives that were used in Calf. and the total poundage of honey. .
    I think that its an updated version of "1/3 of our food supply is due to beekeepers".
    Honey is money and not because its sweet....because people have a collective system of beliefs formed long before we learned how to make HFCS. I'm not a commercial beek, but this is my thought on the matter, and I have participated in the good/bad/ugly of central CA.

  17. #17
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    Aug 2004
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    Lincolnton Ga. USA.
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    Default

    well after reading this I am sure if pollination is not number 1 now it will be in the future, honey prices has stayed stable for years and with the big payout of almonds seems more will leave the honey part for the big money, price of honey hasn't gone up like everything else, and with CCD and other problems killing bee's it looks like prices for almond pollination might keep going up just like acreage of almond lands growing every year, look at this below

    http://www.bluediamond.com/news/2008JulyPresRpt.html
    Ted

  18. #18
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    Dec 2006
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    Amador County, Calif
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    Default

    TWT,

    what I saw on your link was, crop yield harvested or estimates.

    What determines hives counts is bearing acreage.

  19. #19
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    May 2008
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    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
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    Default

    Keith is right. Additionally, from what I have read is that Calf. Beeks are increasing their hives to use in Pollination and as this happens and they are better able to meet the demand they will be pushing for legislation to limit the number of out of state hives. Not saying this will happen, but I can foresee something like this occurring in the future...so don't get rid of your honey houses yet.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
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    2,551

    Default

    Honey was still our primary income this year but only due to the current high price of honey. If wholesale honey prices fall back to previous levels and pollination fees stay the same, pollination will be the majority by a good margin.
    I suspect any figures showing more money in pollination are mostly reflective of the short crop last year and would be much more telling if honey prices weren't so high now.

    As for the lists of pros and cons, for those in the far south you may be giving up some honey to go to almonds but for northern beeks that is not the case. In fact we may actually be gaining honey as they do often make some almond honey. While that is bitter honey and we don't extract it, the bees like it just fine. And their strength coming back is such they can make better use of early nectar flows in Wisconsin. Also, while there may be hive losses due to combining and travel to California, there are normally winter losses due to harsh northern conditions. Our California losses are equal or less than our Wisconsin losses were, even after consolidation, and the strength of the bees coming back has easily made up for that. The majority come home ready to rock. Of course being so strong so early is a mixed blessing as it is tough keeping ahead of them in the spring; swarming is a bigger problem. Also, big colonies in a cold late spring such as we had this last year in Wisconsin might need more feed than if they were more in tune size wise with that time of year in Wisconsin.

    Additional feed is probably not too much of a factor as we would have needed to feed them more heavily for our cold winter. Additional pollen sub would be beneficial in Wisconsin as well, especially in years when the flow stops early due to drought or cold or rain as has been the case several years in a row, but we do give them more sub in California to keep them broody. The additional labor is a biggee, putting that feed and sub on in California and consolidating for strength. As someone already mentioned, we used to have a slower, more relaxed winter time. We took this time to repair/build equipment, relax a little and get psyched up for spring bee work. None of that anymore, it is pretty much a year round enterprise now. The travel back and forth and meals and lodging while out there is a large expense as well. But the largest single expense is shipping those truckloads out there, especially with high diesel prices.
    Finally, what price does one give the huge risk of taking bees out there? One should not take this risk lightly. We have all heard the nightmare stories and I have seen a couple first hand. If you don't know what you are doing, or if the market changes suddenly or if your bees aren't healthy or if you are just plain unlucky, you could loose a bundle of money, plus your bees, plus the ability to make up your losses. It is a high stakes gamble.
    Sheri
    Last edited by JohnK and Sheri; 08-10-2008 at 09:48 AM.

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