Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards
no doubt, with moisture at least things can grow,
but what I am getting at, is with our short growing season, a delayed spring eats away at our growing year. Time is money, earlier crops here usually have higher yield potential. Compound that with cool conditions, and things just dont grow, so then again things are delayed in development, time is money, earlier crops here usually have higher yield potential
Does this delayed growing season impact honey yields? I would think that higher moisture would be of great benefit, but you never know with bees. Is higher moisture offset with shortened growing season? I suppose you also need 1" of rain every week at night preferably, for optimal nectar flows. Comments?
Our conditions in Manitoba where we live warrant an 1" a week in moisture. It helps with keeping the pastures in good condition and helps with the alfalfa and grasses for the hay land and honey.
We are also so wet this year that a cool wet spring will not be good. The ground is so saturated, culverts are near full and most of the snow will be over land flooding delaying any work on the land to try and recover the alfalfa crops from the major flooding last summer.
In our area the hay crop is in such bad condition that the animals have been feeling the pressure from this obsessively cold winter. A good stand of pasture early on would help in bringing up their condition immensely.
As for the bees here, they had a rough spring and summer with some hives getting very wet. Our long fall helped to give time for the bees to dry themselves out, but the damage was already done in some lower than normal numbers of bees and brood going into winter.
In one yard site, all the hives requeened themselves near the end of September. They ended up with three frames of eggs at that time. That field was under water for so long, and the hives were not in water themselves, but the pallets they are on were submerged. The wood in the hives soaked up a pile of moisture. In that yard site the honey pull was delayed due to the inability to get there and so was fall feeding and treating. I am not counting on any live hives in that site.
I'm not even going to try and guess our other yard site losses might be. I am hoping for the best, trying to figure on what to do in case of the worst. I have bought pollen patties and got most everything ready so that when the warmth starts, i can try and strengthen the hives. I was thinking on making some sort of fondant to drop in the hives to help with the feed. I'm not sure how this long cold winter is affecting the bees.
>>Does this delayed growing season impact honey yields? I would think that higher moisture would be of great benefit, but you never know with bees. Is higher moisture offset with shortened growing season? I suppose you also need 1" of rain every week at night preferably, for optimal nectar flows. Comments?
Ya your right Jean-Marc, delayed crop doesnt always mean poor honey crop, sometimes it means the opposite
But from what I have experienced here in my area of Manitoba, a delayed wet spring gets the crop off to a poor start. Lets say it does struggle through to and makes a half decent stand by July, we are usually looking at poor root development, leaving the crop susceptible to burn off. Which usually happens in July. So if that burn off does come, the crop is toasted, regardless of the moisture available to it a foot into the soil. Make sense? It sometimes doesnt to me. It will turn a three - four week flowing period into one week, period. A crop well established in spring has an elaberate root network established by July, allowing it to tap three to even six feet into the soil if needed. That is where we get our big honey crops. Off the high hot summer sun, and from the moisture deep in the soils,
Its frustrating, but thats the kind of circumstances we deal with if the spring seeding doesnt get off to a good start.
But sometimes what we loose on th canola, we gain on the alfalfa.
Who really knows in this business, right?
>>I know a guy that use to migrate his hives over to the west coast to pollinate, and winter his hives, to send them back for summer. It worked out very well until they restricted the movement of hives across the country.
I was just talking to a fellow Manitoba beekeeper who says the transport of hives across our country has been allowed again, and for a few years by now. News to me, but in my mind its a step in the right direction,