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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Beulah,Michigan,USA
    Posts
    117

    Default Opinions Wanted: When to buy forklift

    Hello All,

    I am new to beekeeping and want to grow my operation. My plan to is double my hives until I reach around one hundred. This year through swarms, splits and nucs I am up to around forty five hives. Next year I would like to be at 80. I do move some of the hives into orchards for pollination, which brings me to my question.

    At what point did you folks find that you had to have a forklift? This year I was able to borrow what I needed from an apple grower friend (the same person who helped me get my start) but I hated to do it. He is awful busy and came along to help. I want to be able to do it myself. This fellow has an older one ton flatbed that I am going to fix up and use next year, so that part is covered.

    Yesterday I found out that a cherry grower that I work for is going to be selling a homemade forklift. The price is very reasonable and since I know this guy and his operation (I also bought a plow truck from him before) I believe it will be in good shape. While I don't feel that I need this now, I don't want to pass up a good deal that I may not be able to find again.

    So, what do you folks think? Am I putting the cart before the horse? Or is this a good buy. He is asking $1750, but I know I could get it for $1500. I don't know if anyone here is familiar with Shockwave trunk shakers (made for cherries, almonds, etc.) but that is what this hi-lo is made from. They used Dodge chassis chopped up and turned around to make these things. Really they work pretty darn well.

    Would love to get some opinions before I talk to him again,
    Jason

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wheatfield, IN
    Posts
    2,068

    Default Re: Opinions Wanted: When to buy forklift

    I'm not saying don't get a forklift if you can find a good deal...

    I guess my opinion since your new to beekeeping....

    Hone your skills as a beekeeper before you start worrying about additional equipment. You haven't even gotten the 45 you've built up to thru a winter yet. I like your spunk and vision but there are alot of others who have had the same idea until they realized they couldn't keep their bees from swarming before they got a crop and/or dying over winter. Making splits and catching swarms is easy. Its managing the hives to consistently produce the desired results that gets much more difficult.
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,017

    Default Re: Opinions Wanted: When to buy forklift

    When you get to the point that you find yourself moving alot of hives and or equipment, then you should get a skidder. Especially if you can't find reliable human helpers. Commercial beekeepers got along for quite a long time before mechanical help came along. I used to help load semis by hand.

    I wouldn't buy the machine you describe. Too heavy.

    You not only need to get a skidder, but a trailer to move it w/. So think about the whole package. Truck, trailer and loader. How big is your truck? Can I pull a trailer w/ a skidder behind when the truck is loaded? Those sorts of questions only you can answer. Oh, yeah, how much money do I have available for this expansion of my business?

    p.s. Dan's advice is good. check out his first two photos. you could learn something there.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: Opinions Wanted: When to buy forklift

    I would say for 1500 if you can use it as an offroad forklift BUY It...

    Too cheap.. a typical off road Lift is around 4000 for a beat up model....



    I would jump on it myself....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Clear Lake, WI / Sebring, FL
    Posts
    638

    Default Re: Opinions Wanted: When to buy forklift

    It all depends on the kind of operation you want to run. The key factor is YOU. I know guys with thousands of hives and no forklift they dont migrate or move alot of bees. It all depends on what you want to do . I bought mine at about 300 hives.
    I have to agree with Dan , focus on the bees and figure out what works for you, then decide on a forklift , dont forget you will need a truck to pull it and a trailer to put it on.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Beulah,Michigan,USA
    Posts
    117

    Default Re: Opinions Wanted: When to buy forklift

    Thanks All,

    Dan's advice is good. This is why I love this site. It is nice to get advice from a number of folks who have been there before. I like equipment and have a tendency to put the cart before the horse, so i will probably hold off on this purchase. I do have access to forklifts, etc but I don't always like to ask to borrow things. I should get over this..

    Thanks Again,
    Jason

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