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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Mound, MN
    Posts
    3

    Default Alfalfa Honey production in North Dakota?

    Anyone know what I can expect from alfalfa in the Bottineau/Turtle Mountain area for honey production? Sounds like 200 + pounds is feasible.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,992

    Default Re: Alfalfa Honey production in North Dakota?

    Depending on if your collecting on a seed alfalfa crop or a hay crop. We will generally get a couple of weeks in June before the hay is cut, and again in August before its cut. The seed fields bloom most of summer. But alfalfa is funny on its nectar secretion. Kinda like clover, if you have the rain, and temperatures, you will have the honey.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Campbell, Wyoming USA
    Posts
    438

    Default Re: Alfalfa Honey production in North Dakota?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    But alfalfa is funny on its nectar secretion. Kinda like clover, if you have the rain, and temperatures, you will have the honey.
    Do you have any sources on this or is this mostly from personal observation? Alfalfa seems to be the main crop around here that my bees will be visiting and I'm trying to research it a little bit. The fields aren't irrigated so the farmers will be getting two cuttings and from what I understand they cut it when the plant is at about a third bloom so I don't know how much to expect off of it?
    We the willing have done so much with so little for so long we can now do anything with nothing

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,001

    Default Re: Alfalfa Honey production in North Dakota?

    I doubt it will make it to a third of bloom before it is cut. Max protein with best yield is to cut it at 5%! If it is the only source, it could be a slim crop. alfalfa is a very sugar saturated nectar and when things are right, amazing things happen. You might pick up some sweet clover too if you are in pasture country. But after Silverberry in early June, not much there.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Belfield, North Dakota, USA
    Posts
    610

    Default Re: Alfalfa Honey production in North Dakota?

    Around here, sweet clover is generally better (I am in SW ND). But that is every other year (it is biennial). Alfalfa is good - but the farmers cut it before it fully blooms. Some of my yards sit on alfalfa fields that get cut three times a year - they don't make much honey (one guy cuts it as often as it comes up). Other yards, the rancher cuts only once - that can make honey on good years. Strong alfalfa flows are produced by HOT days with sufficient interspersed rain.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Campbell, Wyoming USA
    Posts
    438

    Default Re: Alfalfa Honey production in North Dakota?

    Just an update on this, talked with both farmers that I have bees on their property next to alfalfa field. Both said the alfalfa will go to full bloom before they cut it, it's already blooming and they're more concerned about the height of the plant this early in the year then they are the amount of flowers on it. I was told they will be cutting in the next two to three weeks and if it's already blooming my bees will have ample opportunity to forage for the next couple of weeks. For the second cutting the one farmer told me he'll get his second cutting a little earlier but that the plants should still be close to full bloom. The second farmer told me he doesn't bother with a second cutting and just lets it go to seed so I don't know where the 5% came from but I guess that's not typical of my area.

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