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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,170

    Default Ready for winter... ready for the almonds?

    For the next two months, how beekeepers feeds & treats there bees will be the out come of a great almond season or a disaster almond season. Good luck to all that pollinate almonds.
    Last edited by Keith Jarrett; 08-24-2012 at 07:59 PM.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    948

    Default Re: Ready for winter... ready for the almonds?

    I called my grower of 8 years a few weeks back and encouraged him to talk to his buddies about lining up bees early.
    With the news that I am hearing out of Kansas and Minnesota and elsewhere; I am predicting a HUGE shortage of bees for almonds in 2013.
    Several of my buddies across our great nation bragging about fishing, boating, camping...
    Here is what I have enjoyed doing over the last month: Queen-checking, medicating, then medicating again....
    And now feeding and monitoring. Random testing and evaluation.
    I'm with Keith. This is a year that you either DO YOUR JOB as a beekeeper, or you will have lotts and lots of free time next spring to go fishing. :P
    It's all about personal responsibility. We need to take that seriously.
    I have exactly ONE hive more than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond question.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Schoolcraft Mi.
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: Ready for winter... ready for the almonds?

    Two very good posts

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Clear Lake, WI / Sebring, FL
    Posts
    627

    Default Re: Ready for winter... ready for the almonds?

    Ive heard of a couple big beekeepers that have lost quite a large number of bees , you guys might be on to something.
    Clear Lake Wi. / Sebring Fl.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Ready for winter... ready for the almonds?

    I am curious what they attribute the losses to? Drought?
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,363

    Default Re: Ready for winter... ready for the almonds?

    Keith's post is on the mark and a pretty good example of why some operations are plagued with all kinds of mysterious bee problems while others manage to have great looking hives in the very early spring. Operations that are committed to honey production are in a fundamentally different situation, they are mostly just scrambling to get their honey crops off and mite treatments on so that they can begin to assess the condition of their bees after a hot dry summer. Bee shortage in the almonds in 2013? I'll take a WAG and say probably a bit shorter than last year with more stressed bees come off of poor late summer and fall flows in drought stressed areas. I expected to be seeing and hearing about more varroa problems this year because of the earlier season but I am not sure that is materializing based on my recent conversation with a leading bee inspector. Maybe it's the heat, maybe it's better management, maybe it's that bees are adapting better or maybe it's still too early to have any idea how colonies will look two months from now not say six months.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  7. #7

    Default Re: Ready for winter... ready for the almonds?

    just had the same conversation with to large commercial buddies. They think more will go to california to make up for the poor honey crop in most areas. I thought that some large beekeepers would be getting out as I am looking for some good pricing on shells. They both stated if anything they are looking to grow to make up the difference in revenue with almonds.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Stafford, Virginia
    Posts
    287

    Default Re: Ready for winter... ready for the almonds?

    After learning of predictions of a harsh winter on the eastern seaboard I aggressivly sought out a place in Florida to over winter our bees and found one. Our honey crop was decent, and we had some good pollination contracts. We were pretty blessed this year despite a problem with package delivery with UPS. We are pending a large orchard pollination in March but looking to head to the Almonds in 2014, probably throught a broker our first time out. In 2011-2012 we lost three colonies due to the warm winter. (out of 150) We will be increasing by another 300 colonies in the spring.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Placer County, California
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Ready for winter... ready for the almonds?

    For the last few weeks I have been receiving calls almost on a daily basis from out of state and local beekeepers “with strong hives” looking for almond pollination contracts. An hour ago, I received a call from an out of state beekeeper with 1,000 hives looking for an almond contract willing to accept $75.00 per hive. Two weeks ago, I received a call from a local beekeeper with 2,000 hives looking for a contract. California’s local European beekeepers have increased their hive inventory by more than double they had last year. Times are tough and they are very competitive in their pricing. You will be seeing ads in the local newspapers and on Craigslist advertising 1,000’s of hives for rent for as low as $90.00. Last year with only days before the bloom, I had a waiting list from beekeepers totaling almost 10,000 hives trying to find a contract. We could not find a grower willing to take the hives for $125.00. These Growers all network with each other, it is a relatively small and close group, they know where the price level is every day, and they know where to fine the lowest cost.

    But.... Only time will tell.
    "Success is all about attitude"
    California Almond Pollination Services, Inc.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Davis,South Dakota,USA
    Posts
    401

    Default Re: Ready for winter... ready for the almonds?

    we shall see.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    948

    Default Re: Ready for winter... ready for the almonds?

    One of my cherry growers was approached by one of the "relativly small and close group" this year.
    They wanted to place hives for free, just to hgave a place to put them.
    My grower told me that he told them,"I've been down that road before and ain't going down it again.
    I have exactly ONE hive more than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond question.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Davis,South Dakota,USA
    Posts
    401

    Default Re: Ready for winter... ready for the almonds?

    all this broker speculation.hive numbers,increase,and price will hurt us in the end.im pretty sure most almond growers have computers.and use them to there advantage.pollinaton is almost like corn prices,fuel etc.lol.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    948

    Default Re: Ready for winter... ready for the almonds?

    Any broker engaged in pushing prices lower as set by the bottom of bottom dwellers is not looking out for our industry in my opinion.
    Nobody, NOBODY that I know, and I know thousands of good beekeepers, recieved less than $135.00 last year.
    I don't care what the imitation beekeepers accepted.
    I have exactly ONE hive more than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond question.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Placer County, California
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Ready for winter... ready for the almonds?

    Quote Originally Posted by HarryVanderpool View Post
    Any broker engaged in pushing prices lower as set by the bottom of bottom dwellers is not looking out for our industry in my opinion.
    Nobody, NOBODY that I know, and I know thousands of good beekeepers, recieved less than $135.00 last year.
    I don't care what the imitation beekeepers accepted.
    I believe that it is the out of state beekeepers that are engaged in “pushing the pollination prices” down not the local beekeepers or the brokers.

    As an owner and a broker of bees for almond pollination, our business relies on making a profit. The higher the pollination rental rates, the higher the profits. I am not suggesting lowering rental rates; I am simply giving you the facts from our experiences. Watch the ads in the Modesto Bee Newspaper and on Craigslist; see the thousands of hives available for less than $125.00. Last year Dadant in Fresno also had a list approaching 10,000 hives waiting to be rented. If you have not heard stories about out of state beekeepers bring (dumping) loads of bees to California without a contract, and then renting them just to pay the cost of fuel for the trip home, you are not well informed. They would make the Chinese proud.
    If you think almond growers do not follow the going pollination rates, I would suggest that you are living in denial and only kidding yourselves. We as beekeepers are shooting ourselves in the foot not wanting to talk about the elephant in the room.
    If an out of state beekeeper can rent their hives for $135.00 and incur a $50.00 per hive freight, labor, hotel, and placement cost, and net $85.00 just think what a local beekeeper can charge and net a higher profit, ( $95.00 per hive). When it comes to setting, pollination prices Beekeepers are their own worst enemy.
    Beekeepers are the ones that drive the pollination prices down.

    Stop and think for a moment what would happen if there were no bees available to pollinate almonds!
    There are few, if any, other industries in California that are experiencing such an increasingly wide disparity between the balances of supply and demand for services than the almond pollination industry. In economic terms, the demand for almond pollination services is almost a Perfectly Inelastic Demand. That is, the demand for bee colonies SHOULD exhibits zero responsiveness to price changes; no matter what the price, the quantity demanded remains the same.
    There are no substitutes for bee pollination of almonds. Bees are essential to almond production: if the tree is NOT pollinated, it will NOT produce nuts.
    In the classic Supply and Demand Curve, the demand curve slopes down from left to right indicating as price increase, demand decline; the Inelastic Demand Curve is vertical, if the almond grower requires an average of two colonies per acre, then the demand for 705,000 acres requires (demands) 1.4 million colonies. This represents over 57% of all the colonies in the United States.
    California has approximately 500,000 colonies locally. Over one million, 71% of all colonies used to pollinate next season’s Almond crop will be imported from other states and incurring substantial freight costs which should be passed on to the growers.
    Theoretically, growers will pay whatever pollination price they have to if they can pass the cost on to the buyer. Growers as a group “bid for,” or “bid up” the price of colonies.
    While pollination services set the minimums, cost demands drive the cost of the hive up.
    Obviously, from a practical standpoint growers will not pay pass a point for which they cannot recover their expense. Currently pollination fees account for 20% of the cost of production of almonds. The growers have a dilemma, if they do not pay for pollination services, the trees will not produce nuts. Current the world almond inventory supply is between 5–6 percent, which is considered a very low surplus. Those growers that do pay for pollination services will receive a premium for their almonds.
    Demand for almonds are not Perfectly Inelastic, consumers do not and will not pay a higher price for almonds without affecting the demand. There are substitutes for almonds.

    Again, I would suggest to you that it is the Out of State beekeepers who offer their hives at $135.00 are the ones that are driving the price down, instead they should be charging $185.00 per hive, when that happens you might begin to care what the "imitation beekeepers accepted."

    Nuff Said!
    Last edited by Stevebeeman; 08-25-2012 at 04:08 PM.
    "Success is all about attitude"
    California Almond Pollination Services, Inc.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Ready for winter... ready for the almonds?

    I sure am glad my business plan dosent include california or a couple of these posts woulda been a good excuse to drink...

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Clear Lake, WI / Sebring, FL
    Posts
    627

    Default Re: Ready for winter... ready for the almonds?

    It seems a little to early to be talking about prices ,we still have a winter to go thru.
    Clear Lake Wi. / Sebring Fl.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Jasper, Texas, USA
    Posts
    136

    Default Re: Ready for winter... ready for the almonds?

    I hear you stevebeeman. All your points are well taken. It's all about supply and demand. $200 pollination prices would draw more bees than needed to CA and cause major price cutting at the end. $100 fees would draw too few bees and lead to a last minute scramble and crazy high prices to get bees moved in last minute. Good guys VS bad guys has little to do with what we get paid for pollination.

    Remember, when pollination was $45 a hive the only people willing to provide bees were from California. It was the out of state guys that demanded $100+ for almond pollination. Now days you could say it's the guys shipping bees out of Florida that decide what the price of pollination will be. CA guys have to take the good with the bad. Meaning, CA guys don't get to decide what the pollination price is anymore. The upside is everyone is getting triple the price now that out of state guys have a say in the price of pollination.

    It's just supply and demand.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,363

    Default Re: Ready for winter... ready for the almonds?

    I would submit that the biggest problem to spot over-supply and resulting "bargain bees" is when beekeepers ship bees to California without any contracts or any idea where they might be going that inevitably panic and decide that they at least have to recoup their shipping expenses. It's like a rash of ticket scalpers at the stadium gate 5 minutes before game time. Of course a lot of these "bargain bees" are culls and bees that have already been rejected once somewhere else or maybe these bees don't even exist, maybe they are just an add in the paper to give the growers bargaining power. Quality hives from reliable sources booked through reputable channels always seem to find a home.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,302

    Default Re: Ready for winter... ready for the almonds?

    "Quality hives from reliable sources booked through reputable channels always seem to find a home. "

    Seems there was a last minute rush last Feb to find more of those hives.Without a lot of syrup and sub, I think there will be a lot of substandard hives coming from the drought areas. Keith and Harry summed it up nicely. How much do you want to spend now to get it back many times over in Feb?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hughson, CA
    Posts
    153

    Default Re: Ready for winter... ready for the almonds?

    College football starts this week, so I guess we can legitimately begin every beekeeper's favorite pastime of speculating on what almond pollination prices will be for the 2013 almond pollination season. Being a California beekeeper this item is always of great interest to me. What always bugs me about this kind of discussion is that beekeeper's all too often compare apples to oranges and their is no mention of payment terms, strength guarantees or quantity when beekeepers throw numbers around. Brokering 1,000 colonies at $75.00 is what I consider an anomaly and not even an indication of the broader market. If you want to figure out how much to charge for almonds for 2013 figure out what ALL of your costs for your entire operation divided by the number of colonies you will rent after winter losses. Whether the individual beekeeper goes through this excersise or not that fact of the matter remains that the broader almond pollination market forces our industry to do this; which may explain why almond pollination prices typically mirror our annual costs over the past several years. It is also interesting to note that in New Zealand kiwi pollination rates roughly mirror annual costs for New Zealand beekeepers also.
    Last edited by Matt Beekman; 08-26-2012 at 05:52 PM. Reason: spelling

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