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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
    28,286

    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
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  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
    639

    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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