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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    fairfield,ohio
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    672

    Default Bees on soy beans

    My bees are placed on soy beans in Ohio.Once I place them on a farm, thats where stay. I reap the benefit of the honey harvest and the farm gets the benefit of the pollination.There are a lot of opinions about the benefits of bees on beans.I see it every year.The beans I have the bees on consistantly out produce the fields that I do not have bees on.By an average of 8 to 10 bushel per acre.

  2. #2
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    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: Pollination versus Honey production

    I would really like to believe that but I have to say that is the first time I have ever heard that. What kind of documentation do you have? You also should be very, very careful what you do with the honey that you produce there, you know it is gonna be loaded with gmo pollen dont you?
    Last edited by JohnK and Sheri; 10-07-2011 at 09:05 AM. Reason: unnec quote
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Paulding Ohio
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    75

    Default Re: Pollination versus Honey production

    Jim - Wayne Stoller my mentor has told me numerous times there have been studies done on the benefits of bees in soy bean fields and that there is a yield increase. I admit I've never looked it up for verification, but your question prompted me to do a quick search. Here is a interesting link.

    http://www.rirdc.gov.au/programs/est...on/soybean.cfm
    From the link:
    "Although soybean is generally considered a self-pollinating species, yield increases of about 10 to 40% have been demonstrated when comparing honey-bee-pollinated vs. self-pollinated plants (Erickson et al. 1978). Further, honey bees can produce substantial honey crops when they visit soybeans flowers (Erickson et al. 1978). "

    Here is another interesting link
    http://www.scielo.br/pdf/babt/v48n1/a05v48n1.pdf

    Like I said I just did a quick search, so there may be more information on either side of the discussion.

  4. #4
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    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,245

    Default Re: Pollination versus Honey production

    Interesting, I have never heard that before, guess I need to do some research myself on the subject. Sorry for the dr.2 but Ken really grabbed my attention with that post.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland, Bladen County, NC, USA
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    2,918

    Default Re: Pollination versus Honey production

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    I would really like to believe that but I have to say that is the first time I have ever heard that. What kind of documentation do you have?
    I don't have any documentation just a gut feeling that bees help beans. You know... when the bean guy comes to harvest and tell you .. "Wow.. that was a hell of a field". I know SB don't have to have bees.... but when they go to working the beans... they sure aren't doing them any harm. I doubt they help them enough for SB farmers to start paying for pollination.

    I don't think my bees like those GMO SB... another gut feeling..... at least I don't see them working them.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    420

    Default Re: Pollination versus Honey production

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    You also should be very, very careful what you do with the honey that you produce there, you know it is gonna be loaded with gmo pollen dont you?

    I know this is off topic a bit, but could you elaborate. A good portion of canadian prairie honey comes from gmo canola.

  7. #7
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    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: Pollination versus Honey production

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Martens View Post
    I know this is off topic a bit, but could you elaborate. A good portion of canadian prairie honey comes from gmo canola.
    I think I better nip this one in the bud, for someone needing their daily hit of GMO debate fortunately you wont have to look far .
    Last edited by JohnK and Sheri; 10-07-2011 at 09:15 AM. Reason: clarification after new thread started
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
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    2,647

    Default Re: Pollination versus Honey production

    My bees worked the late soybeans last year and this year didn't touch them.
    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,427

    Default Re: Pollination versus Honey production

    As I understand they are purposefully engineering the GMO soybeans to not make nectar (or at least breeding the to) on the theory that the nectar attracts pests.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
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    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: Pollination versus Honey production

    I suppose that is possible, personally I have never raised any soybean honey that I was aware of either currently or pre GMO here in South Dakota but have heard a few reports of honey crops in bean areas a number of years ago in Iowa. I make it a point of checking soybean fields for bees when it seems likely that they might be working them and usually see a bee here and there but you really have to look for them. I thought this might be a secondary nectar source this year since the conditions seemed so ideal. Seems unlikely to me that bees might increase soybean yields since there seem to be so few bees working them. Hope I didnt chase Ken off, if you have anything more to add feel free, an 8 to 10 bushel yield advantage is pretty significant at todays prices.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
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    642

    Default Re: Pollination versus Honey production

    The reports quoted on bee effect on soybean pollination all predate the general useage of GMO Beans. US use of GMO has risen from <10% to >94% from 2000 to 2011. I guess it depends on the particular variety planted, whether either the bees or the beans get anything much useful out of the meeting.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Knox Co, Ohio, USA
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    772

    Default Re: Pollination versus Honey production

    One of my undergraduate advisers was a soybean breeder. He told me the hardest part of breeding soybeans was getting to the flower before it pollinated itself.

    I had my hives surrounded by soybeans this year. I checked all summer to and only found bees working the soybeans a couple of times. This location is close to town so there is probably always something more attractive close by.

    There are enough anecdotal accounts of honey bees increasing soybean yields it makes me wonder what is going on. Are there specific conditions when pollination is delayed until after the flower opens?

    Tom

  13. #13
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    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: Pollination versus Honey production

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    I guess it depends on the particular variety planted, whether either the bees or the beans get anything much useful out of the meeting.
    Maybe, or perhaps the climate, soil type or even elevation. I have considered this whole issue of soybean honey somewhat of a mystery for a long time.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
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    5,787

    Default Re: Pollination versus Honey production

    Farmers spray soybeans quite a bit for lygus and aphids. Alot of farmers dont follow suggested insect threshold before they spray.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
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    2,839

    Default Re: Pollination versus Honey production

    I mentioned in another thread that there is a difference in Honey Bee dependance and Honey Bee benefits. I think it deserves repeating in this thread as well. I planted tomatoes this past summer. I noticed a few sporadic tomatoes developing up tot he time I started seeing bees of any kind at them. after that the number of tomatoes that began drastically increased. Do tomatoes need bees? No but it is no question in my mind that there is far more pollination going on with them than without. IT was pointed out to me the other day that pollination alone is not the issue when it comes to Honey Bees but more complete pollination. Resulting in larger fruit etc. After that comment I began to think of my daughters snow peas this past year. Many pods had as many as 14 peas developing in them while others had only a few, many with only half as many. I did not take note of bee activity around the peas but do wonder if they had a hand in helping those better pods develop. It sounds like it could fit in regard to soy beans. more seeds developing per pod could account for one heck of a lot of beans

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    fairfield,ohio
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    672

    Default Re: Pollination versus Honey production

    I have three 40 acre fields approximatly 7 miles apart I put bees on a rotating basis. Field A this year. Field B last year. Field C the year before that. What ever field the bees are on, has consistently produced 8 to 10 bushel more per acre more than the other 2. This has been consistent for the past 3 years. I always put the bees on the last field planted. I believe the timing of the bloom has a lot to do with the bees working them. Usually the last beans planted come into bloom well after the spring flow. In essence making the beans the most attractive bloom available.Is all of this scientific? By no means. This is only what I and the farmer have observed.The farm I work with sprays herbicide shortly after planting, and uses no insecticides.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    brooklyn, ny
    Posts
    104

    Default Re: Pollination versus Honey production

    Does anyone know what you'd charge for pollination services for a farmer?
    How many hives would you need per acre?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland, Bladen County, NC, USA
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    2,918

    Default Re: Pollination versus Honey production

    Around here... if we load it up and transport it - then unload it... we are talking $60/hive.... and certainly do not want to mess with less than 100 hive contract (Blue Berries).. unless it happens to be water mellons, squash, or pumpkins... in which case we'd transport a smaller number. Of course you can get a lot higher in the Almonds.. or the Maine BB.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    brooklyn, ny
    Posts
    104

    Default Re: Pollination versus Honey production

    Thanks. I was looking on getting some land upstate and wanted to weigh my options

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Donnellson, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Bees on soy beans

    Here in my part of Iowa honey from soybeans is a hit and miss thing. The bees will work them if there isn't any other nectar source available at the time they are blooming. Mine have been working the beans the last 2 years and last year was the first time I actually caught them on the plant. They were working a 120 acre field that was about a half mile from the hives. I have talked to other beekeepers in the state and several of them stated they made quite a bit of honey off of the soybeans this year.

    On another note I am currently helping a high school kid with a controlled pollination experiment using honeybees and soybeans. His beans are growing in screened cages that won't allow any other insects inside. I haven't seen the data yet from his experiment but by looking at the plants in the cages there was a big difference in the amount of pods 1n the honeybee cage. The kid also showed me an article from the Wallace Farmer (I believe that was where it came from) about how the soybean breeders are starting to look at making the soybean plant more attractive to pollinators because some research is showing they can increase yields.

    In my opinion I believe if you can get the bees to work them there will be a yield increase. This might just be another pollination opportunity in the future if the plants become more attractive.

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