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  1. #1
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    Default Acreage of Sainfoin/White Yellow Clover -- How Many hives will this acreage support?

    I have an opportunity to rent acreage and am looking at planting 10 acres of Sainfoin and 10 acres of white/yellow clover over a 5 year contract.

    Are there commercial beeks who plant their own acreage to ensure a good Honey crop?

    In regards to honey production, how many hives would this amount of acreage support.

    My goal is for the hive to make 60 - 80 pounds of marketable honey as we seem to get alot of cloudy and or rainy days in Central PA.

    I am trying to calculate the feasibility of doing this as my goal is for the bees to make a profit.

  2. #2
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    May 2009
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    Anderson County, Texas
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    Default Re: Acreage of Sainfoin/White Yellow Clover -- How Many hives will this acreage suppo

    In Texas I figure 1-2 colonies per every 1 acre of clover. I have been successful staggering planting of different nectar producing plants so you have something for the bees to work successively instead of in competition with each other.
    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, 1776

  3. #3
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    Sep 2009
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    Butler County, Kentucky, USA
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    Default Re: Acreage of Sainfoin/White Yellow Clover -- How Many hives will this acreage suppo

    what do you plant in TX?...I am in KY and have plenty of land to plant, and I am looking to plant so that something is blooming from spring all the way through fall.

  4. #4
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    May 2009
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    Default Re: Acreage of Sainfoin/White Yellow Clover -- How Many hives will this acreage suppo

    Quote Originally Posted by Northside Honey bees View Post
    what do you plant in TX?...I am in KY and have plenty of land to plant, and I am looking to plant so that something is blooming from spring all the way through fall.
    I dwelt in Kentucky on a farm outside of Scottsville (South central part) for 1996. A good combination for here would be White dutch clover (blooms in March but the heat kills it later on), Crimson clover (blooms in April), Hairy vetch (overlaps the last of Crimson clover, blooms end of April to early May), Hubam/WhiteSweetClover (Middle of May to early June). I know from experience that all these produce here, save I have never made anything off the White dutch as it blooms to early but they do work it to build up on. I would also suggest that you plant lezpedeza for your area. It gets to hot here, but it bloomed most of the summer when I was there, and produces when nothing else is blooming. There has been a lot of talk about ball clover which blooms here during May. I don't know of the production for nectar. I would also suggest that you look into yellow sweet clover for your area. It preceeds the white sweet/Hubam by about 3 weeks. Hope this helps.
    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, 1776

  5. #5
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    Owen, WI, USA
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    Default Re: Acreage of Sainfoin/White Yellow Clover -- How Many hives will this acreage suppo

    I don't know of any true commercials that plant their own acreage to assure a crop. It would take huge ownership of land to do so. Commonly they go to where the crop is planted in order to take advantage of whatever flow is on at that location. Many hobbyists DO plant their garden with honey producing plants and some sideliners with larger acreages may plant clover, alfalfa or buckwheat such as you are talking about.
    I would like to see a cost analysis of this practice, as it keeps coming up. I have a hard time imagining it is a cost effective management technique for beekeepers of commercial size.
    Sheri

  6. #6
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    Anderson County, Texas
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    Default Re: Acreage of Sainfoin/White Yellow Clover -- How Many hives will this acreage suppo

    What I am working on now is agreement with land owners, mostly cattle raisers, wherein I supply the seed, with written agreement to pull cattle off during bloom for a period to allow the crop to go to seed. The landowner gets the benefit of the graze, and the 100-150# of nitrogen produced per year from clover legumes, and I get the benefit of the honey production. As petroleum products go up, so do fertilizer expenses. It use to be common practice to build nitrogen with legumes, but with cheap oil, it was cheaper to buy fertilizer, not so anymore. You have to show, the rancher, that it is more economically beneficial, to abstain from the costly chemical fertilizer for less production of fodder, but at hardly any cost, thereby making it more economically beneficial.

    Also, many make money from hunting leases (primarily deer), and legumes provide excellent browse for wildlife. Many ranchers have quit raising cattle in my area because of low prices and high costs. Written agreements are necessary to protect the interests of both parties.

    Central Pa. guy has the acreage his decision now is what to plant to make it economically beneficial. Here, seed costs will run between $15.00-$60.00 per acre. Legumes require little fertilizers, but it is often beneficial for both the legume and grass growth to lime. You need a sharp pencil to figure out whether it is beneficial or not.

    When I kept bees previously during the 80s, I averaged about 125# per colony for fixed locations. When I moved my bees (migration in a relative local area) the average went up to over 300# per colony. You can do the same thing with fixed locations by extending the honey flows, less fuel costs, less stress on the bees, but more honey production. At current honey prices I think it does pay. During the 80s it didn't, as you may remember honey prices were cheap because of Chinese imports, and fertilizer was cheap because of $8-$20.00 oil.
    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, 1776

  7. #7
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    Owen, WI, USA
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    Default Re: Acreage of Sainfoin/White Yellow Clover -- How Many hives will this acreage suppo

    It very well might pay on a couple/few colony basis, especially if considering the other benefits mentioned. But from a purely economical standpoint, my point was that I doubt a commercial operator (defined as someone who makes their living on beekeeping), who would have many colonies, could be much impacted by purposeful planting of forage. It would take a lot of acres of anything to support hundreds or thousands of colonies.
    Not that it wouldn't be nice for one of our holding yards to be surrounded by a thousand acres of sweet clover in October.
    Sheri

  8. #8
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    May 2009
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    Anderson County, Texas
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    Default Re: Acreage of Sainfoin/White Yellow Clover -- How Many hives will this acreage suppo

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnK and Sheri View Post
    It very well might pay on a couple/few colony basis, especially if considering the other benefits mentioned. But from a purely economical standpoint, my point was that I doubt a commercial operator (defined as someone who makes their living on beekeeping), who would have many colonies, could be much impacted by purposeful planting of forage. It would take a lot of acres of anything to support hundreds or thousands of colonies.
    Correcto, John and Sheri, as you know things often sound good in theory and look good on paper, but then Murphy's law takes over. I certainly wouldn't recommend anyone to invest in Thousands of bees and thousands of acres of legumes in hope of making it pay for itself. That being said, I hope to make it work for me with a few hundred colonies; but not overnight or in 1 year. Prudence would tell you to experiment. But thinking outside the box will often pay greater dividents with well thought out plans.

    That being said. CntrlPaguy, It has been since I was a young lad since I have been in Sinking Springs Pa. (my home) and I am not familiar with the nectar flow for your areas. But, I do know this, an extended flow is better than a short flow. With twenty acres you should be able to plant easily for 6-10 colonies, with multiple high producing nectar plants.

    But, John and Sheri, are commercial beeks. A wise man can benefit from the advise of those who have knowledge, but the dumb will have to learn from his own mistakes.

    Sure hope I was diplomatic enough here.
    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, 1776

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Acreage of Sainfoin/White Yellow Clover -- How Many hives will this acreage suppo

    Quote Originally Posted by DRUR View Post
    . Sure hope I was diplomatic enough here.
    LOL, are you a politician moonlighting as a beekeeper? Or maybe visaversa?
    Sheri

  10. #10
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    Dec 2008
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    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    Default Re: Acreage of Sainfoin/White Yellow Clover -- How Many hives will this acreage suppo

    I agree with Sheri - with one addition. If a person wanted to produce a destinct or unique varietal honey, which would sell at a premium over the "average" store honey, and had a reputation that could support the surcharge,
    that person would have a better chance of recouping the cost of seed and land.


    Roland
    Linden Apiary, Est 1852

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Acreage of Sainfoin/White Yellow Clover -- How Many hives will this acreage suppo

    Drur, I am always amazed at where people end up -- It looks like life's travel at least took you to Kentucky into Texas. Do you still have Family here in PA.
    I grew up in Gettysburg. I did appreciate the sequence in blooming plants.

    I am around 40 hives with a goal to be no more than 80 or 100. My intention is to sell local and not wholesale. I am not set up to turn my hives into a localized Migratory process. Locally, we have 3 months to capture the nectar flow (April thru June) and that is what I am focusing on. In error, I expanded the number of my hives past the nectar flow and consequently did extensive feeding with thousands of pounds of sugar, just to ensure that the hives would make it thru the Winter. This is a mistake that I won't repeat in the future.

    While I do enjoy the bees immensely, it is important that they turn a profit.

    By the way, I read on the internet that it takes 100 pounds of Sainfoin per acre, which means that I would need to buy a ton for 20 acres. Does anyone know where one buys this quantity of seed -- Is Sainfoin seed a common clover type of seed? Thanks.
    Last edited by JohnK and Sheri; 10-23-2009 at 07:34 AM. Reason: unnecessary quote

  12. #12
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    Aug 2004
    Location
    Lincolnton Ga. USA.
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    Default Re: Acreage of Sainfoin/White Yellow Clover -- How Many hives will this acreage suppo

    the only way to work it at a profit would be to work it as a beekeeper and a farmer. say your main goal is not the honey but the main goal should be seed's from the clover and while its growing putting hives on it would be a plus to get a honey crop, you just need to see if you could find someone in the area with a combine for a clover seed harvest and work a split in the harvest with them (you should end up harvesting 100lb-300lb of seed per acre) or pay a fee in cash, that way you sale the seed crop and get the honey extra, seed and fertilizer cost so much you could eat your honey profit away just planting plus its farming, never know if the weather will let the plants have a good crop or not. its a gamble, good luck with what ever you decide to do!!!
    Last edited by TwT; 10-23-2009 at 02:59 AM.
    Ted

  13. #13
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    Feb 2009
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    Prairie Co, Ark
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    49

    Default Re: Acreage of Sainfoin/White Yellow Clover -- How Many hives will this acreage suppo

    [QUOTE=
    By the way, I read on the internet that it takes 100 pounds of Sainfoin per acre, which means that I would need to buy a ton for 20 acres. Does anyone know where one buys this quantity of seed -- Is Sainfoin seed a common clover type of seed? Thanks.[/QUOTE]

    Sainfoin has been featured as a nectar plant in ABJ in the last 24 months.

    Wherever you decide to purchase seed i suggest you do not buy from whoever told you that 100 pounds /acre would be needed. Even with the most inefficent sowing method 25 pounds/acre would seem to be in the diminishing returns area. As a reference heavily seeded alfalfa is only in the area of 20 pounds/ac max.

    WELCOME TO BIGHORN SAINFOIN SEED Co.!
    Last edited by Radical Bee; 10-23-2009 at 09:50 PM.

  14. #14
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    Sep 2009
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    Carson City, Nevada, USA
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    Default Re: Acreage of Sainfoin/White Yellow Clover -- How Many hives will this acreage suppo

    Sainfoin Plant Guide
    http://www.plant-materials.nrcs.usda...dpmcpg7792.pdf

    Full seeding rate for pasture plantings is 34 lb/ac. Seed 2 to 5 lb/ac when used as a component of a rangeland mix.

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